What You Need to Know About the Carnivore Diet?
The carnivore diet is generally an animal product-based diet and might or might not include dairy. It includes meat, fish, eggs and occasionally low lactose dairy products and excludes all other foods like vegetables, fruits, cereals, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds which are of plant-based and contain varied amounts of carbohydrates.
The carnivore diet, however, is different from a ketogenic diet or a paleolithic diet, which allows small amounts of carbohydrates and does not restrict them altogether.
Dr. Robert Kiltz, a fertility specialist based in New York, is a well-known advocate of this diet. He shares success stories of himself and his clients on Instagram.
Are There Any Health Benefits of the Carnivore Diet?
Health professionals and people who follow this diet claim various health benefits such as
- Decreased body fat
- Improved body composition
- Increased insulin sensitivity and reversal of diabetes
- Increase in metabolic rate
- Improved mood
- Digestive issues, such as bloating
Some studies show clinical evidence of improved health when such a diet is followed. The new studies do not show an association between the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and this diet.
Other studies warn against such a restrictive diet. They claim that the absence of dietary fiber can lead to colon cancer.
Disadvantages of the Carnivore Diet
As the diet includes animal-based foods, it can be high in fats, including saturated fats and cholesterol. However, new clinical studies do not suggest their role in raising the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
People following this diet may face issues like constipation, flatulence, and increased thirst.
It should be noted that processed meat might have associated health risks, which might not be the case with fresh meat. Processed meats might contain high amounts of sodium and other food additives, which can lead to increased risks like hypertension and toxicity. Processed meat is often associated with the occurrence of colon and rectal cancers.
This diet does not include dietary fibers that are of plant origin and can lead to constipation in some people.
The carnivore diet might not be ideal for certain people who are sensitive to fatty foods or allergic to certain meats or eggs.
What Should You Eat on a Carnivore Diet?
A carnivore diet can include the following:
- Meat: chicken, beef, pork, turkey, lamb, organ meats, etc.
- Fish: Tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, crab, shrimp, lobster, tilapia, etc.
- Low-lactose dairy: hard cheese, butter, ghee, etc.
- Animal fats: lard, tallow, etc.
Seasonings with no carbs, salt, and pepper are allowed in this diet. Whole-fat milk and yogurt are sometimes allowed in this diet, but they typically contain low amounts of carbs.
Foods to Avoid
Any food items not from animal sources are typically excluded from this diet. They include the following:
- Vegetables: potatoes, peppers, pumpkin, cauliflower, broccoli, etc
- Fruits: apples, oranges, bananas, guavas, peaches, berries, etc.
- Legumes: lentils, beans, pulses, etc.
- Grains: rice, wheat, pasta, quinoa, etc.
- Sugars: table sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, etc.
- Nuts and Seeds: peanuts, cashew, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, etc.
- Alcohol: beer, wine, etc.
- Beverages: fruit juices, soft drinks, soda, etc.
- High-lactose dairy: yogurt, soft cheese, etc.
A Sample Menu
Here's a sample menu for a typical carnivore diet for a day.
- Breakfast: eggs, bacon, Parmesan cheese, full fat milk, butter
- Lunch: roasted chicken, liver soup, organ meat stir-fry
- Dinner: baked fish, Parmesan cheese, smoked pork ribs
- Snacks: grilled sardines, sauted shrimps
The carnivore diet is an extremely restrictive diet, consisting of meat, eggs, and low-lactose dairy. There are claims that it aids in fat loss, improvement in insulin sensitivity, and inflammation.
Other studies claim it to be harmful due to the high content of saturated fats and cholesterol. People might find it difficult to continue this diet long-term due to its restrictive nature. There can be a chance of issues like constipation and flatulence.
A ketogenic or paleolithic diet might be easier for beginners instead of a carnivore diet as both allow small amounts of plant origin foods. One must read about all the aspects of the carnivore diet before changing their diet. A slow and gradual approach might be better instead of a sudden change in the existing diet.