What is the Carnivore Diet?

24 October, 2020
In this article ,we'll be telling you all about the carnivore diet, what it consists of, and its risks.

This article is all about the carnivore diet. You’ve probably heard about it already since it’s becoming popular in certain groups. But what is it?

Many users claim that they’ve experienced several benefits related to better health after trying out this diet. However, as you’ll see throughout this article, this diet doesn’t have scientific evidence to support its claims.

The carnivore diet: A highly restrictive diet that’s bad for the environment

The main problem with restrictive diets is that they cause a great impact on people due to the striking propaganda work behind it. Some of them, such as the vegan diet, have an ethical component that motivates many people to put it into practice (plus the promises regarding weight loss).

The carnivore diet isn’t much different. In its particular case, it refers to an eating method completely opposite from veganism. It consists of consuming only foods from land animals.

In fact, the strictest versions of this diet establish that the person must eat only red meat and drink water – nothing else. It’s a very restrictive protocol that eliminates all kinds of plant and sea-derived foods which, in many cases, leads people to suffer from nutritional deficiencies.

On the one hand, an individual can meet their macronutrient needs by eating meat (except for carbs). However, micronutrients are likely to be deficient when there’s no variety. Therefore, only eating meat lacks phytonutrients. If you didn’t know, these are essential substances with an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory character that play a leading role in promoting health.

Moreover, scientific literature establishes that incorporating these nutrients into the diet regularly helps to fight the onset of chronic diseases. As a matter of fact, they’ve been shown to decrease the risk of degenerative pathologies associated with aging.

Not consuming enough antioxidants can lead the individual to develop complicated diseases. These nutrients are also important in the framework of physical exercise, as they reduce muscle damage and aid recovery.

A person who follows the carnivore diet preparing a barbecue.

Arguments to defend the carnivore diet

Those who follow the carnivore diet often argue that red meat has a high nutritional density that provides all the substances that the body needs. Instead, consuming carbohydrates is considered harmful to the body and to cause disorders.

According to a study published in the Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences journal, simple sugars do increase the incidence of metabolic diseases. Despite this, the intake of complex carbohydrates is necessary for nearly all people, especially when you have to carry out activities that require a high-intensity anaerobic effort.

Furthermore, there’s an argument that hugely supports the implementation of the carnivore diet. Basically, those who have tried it argue that they experience fewer gastrointestinal problems. Others say it helps to reduce bloating. This is because it’s an eating plan that lacks fiber.

The thing is that fiber is essential for intestinal health and peristalsis. While it’s true that those who experience intestinal bacterial overgrowth should reduce its consumption, this refers to a rare, specific case.

Experts claim that large doses of fiber could increase the growth of pathogenic bacteria. As a result, the individual may suffer from uncomfortable digestion. For this clinical picture, reducing fiber intake temporarily could reverse the process. However, it’s very difficult and not recommended to get rid of it forever.

Read also: 7 ways to increase your fiber intake and combat constipation

Is the carnivore diet sustainable?

Those who try the carnivore diet claim a gastrointestinal improvement. Nonetheless, nutrition experts advise against it. Yes, applying it for a small period of time could benefit patients with bacterial overgrowth syndrome. However, it’s a type of diet that cannot be sustained for long.

The short and medium-term effects are evident. Research published in The World Journal of Pediatrics claimed ketogenic diets are safe, despite how restrictive they are. However, the carnivore diet goes further.

The restriction it offers on phytonutrients can lead to serious health problems. Keep in mind that this eating plan has little to no adherence since the spectrum of foods it allows is very small.

For this reason, experts advise against the application of this restrictive diet in any of its variants. Reducing carbohydrate intake may be advisable for many people, but only temporarily and within the framework of a varied plan rich in fish and plant foods.

Finally, it’s also important to note that diets such as this one may work on an individual level for a short period of time, but are very unhealthy for the planet. Human beings were meant to eat a healthy variety of foods, and eating too much meat negatively contributes to climate change.

Cooking meat on a grill.

Read also: The ketogenic diet: the benefits and disadvantages

Stay away from restrictive diets

Restrictive diets promise quick results in terms of weight loss and improved health. In many cases, certain ethical components are added. However, the restriction entails a limitation in nutrient intake, which can cause deficiencies in the medium and long term.  For this reason, you should avoid these types of extreme meal plans and instead follow a varied and balanced diet from the caloric point of view.

Of course, and as we always say, if you have any further questions, consult a nutrition professional – they’re the ones who’ll know how to help you in the best way.

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