Does The Carnivore Diet Work?

does the carnivore diet work?

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year or so, you will have heard about countless diets for weight loss. One of the current popular ones is the carnivore diet. If you aren’t a vegetarian, this diet might appeal to you since it is the exact opposite. But does the carnivore diet work? And is it safe? Here’s some inportant information about the carnivore diet:

What is the Carnivore Diet?

The carnivore diet is a meat-only diet. Well, that’s not strictly true. You know how vegans don’t consume anything that comes from an animal? The carnivore diet is the opposite of that, and people who follow it eat only products that come from animals. This includes all cuts of meat, eggs, and dairy. It also includes processed foods such as hot dogs, burgers, and paté.

The carnivore diet gives your body a similar result as the keto diet. And if you are wondering “How much sugar can you have on keto?, you are limited in terms of sugar on the carnivore diet too. Eating only meat and animal products can be somewhat perplexing when you consider how healthy and delicious fruits and vegetables actually are. But one of the core beliefs is that the carbohydrate content of things like potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables keeps your body fat sticking to you.

How Does the Carnivore Diet Work?

On the carnivore diet, you eat only meat and animal products. This even means using animal fats and oils instead of olive oil and other oils to cook food. The idea behind this is that you eat a zero-carb diet and only consume high amounts of protein and animal fat. Now before you go running for the hills, there is a method of this madness. It’s a zero-sugar diet, and the high-fat content is offset by the fact that you eat no carbs.

Although a high-fat diet is absolutely verboten for some people, it can have benefits. Your main source of energy is typically carbohydrates. But when you don’t eat any carbs at all, your body uses the fat you consume and fat reserves for energy. This means body fat is used up, and your needed glucose is actually produced by the “burning” (oxidation) of your fat stores. As a result, you have more energy, and lose a lot of weight quickly, especially if you are active.

Claims Made by People on the Carnivore Diet

Not surprisingly, some people advocating the carnivore diet are making astonishing claims. That being said, always be careful when starting a new diet and do your research. Many claims may be false, or total exaggerations taken out of context. We aren’t here to judge, but some claims made include these:

  • You can lose a lot of weight over a short period of time, and it works well for the obese.
  • You can eat all you want until you are full, with little chance of weight gain.
  • Some people only need one meal a day because of the high protein content.
  • Issues such as type-2 diabetes can be reversed due to better blood sugar balance.
  • It is much easier to gain muscle and definition when you work out
  • Your brain begins to function quicker, like when you were in your 20s.
  • Vastly reduced the pain and inflammation of issues like arthritis.

The carnivore diet is a controversial one, to say the least, and for each argument for it, there is one against it. There’s little real research on it, and to be fair to practitioners of the diet, doctors are reluctant to study the effects and challenge the status quo of the long-held beliefs against meat.

Is the Carnivore Diet Safe?

So, is it safe? This is the main question people ask, and the biggest concern with a radical diet. A handful of nutritional anthropologists claim that humans shouldn’t even eat fruits and vegetables because we are carnivores by nature. Can’t get behind that, nutrition science is pretty clear that humans are built well to be omnivores. It is also known that the food pyramid was created by the US Department of Agriculture to boost sales by getting people to eat more grains.

Regardless of any truths about humans’ meat origins, there are countless benefits to eating fruits and vegetables. Vitamins and minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients being some of the most important. This might be why some carnivore dieters also include leaf greens like kale and spinach in their diet. In terms of safety, there have been no long-term studies on the carnivore diet. Like all diets, you need to use your own judgment.

What Nutritionists Say

The carnivore diet is unpopular with most nutrition professionals. Some are claiming it can work wonders, since it has excellent and well-documented weight loss benefits. But most others are pointing out that eating zero plants is extremely dangerous. Natalie Allen, a professor at Missouri State University, had this to say about the carnivore diet:

The carnivore diet is not well-studied, and we do not have much research on the long-term effects of eliminating all these important food groups.”

And she isn’t alone. But there are also doctors and nutritionists that claim the diet can be beneficial. Lisa Bailey is one of them, so take a look at what the experts have to say before deciding to do it. You can find a great interview with Lisa Bailey over at Paleo Canteen.

Summary

The carnivore diet is a controversial one, where you eat only meat and animal products. It can help with weight loss, pain, and inflammation. However, eliminating plants from your diet comes with some serious downsides. As with any major nutrition decisions, consult at least one qualified nutrition professional for advice about your specific situation.