The Carnivore Diet: Here Are The Benefits And Risks Of Going Meat-Only
You probably remember learning about carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores back in grade school. Carnivores eat meat. while herbivores are nature’s vegetarians. Omnivores are happy to eat both, balancing some meats with some plant-based foods, like fruits and vegetables. Humans are, by nature, omnivores, but we’re in the unique position of being able to choose what we want to eat and avoid.
Going vegetarian or vegan is a pretty common lifestyle choice for humans, at least in some parts of the world. But what about going in the other direction? What about choosing to embrace your inner predator and cutting out plants as food altogether? Choosing that lifestyle would make you one of the growing number of people experimenting with the carnivore diet, a meal plan that, just like it sounds, involves eating only meat.
What is the carnivore diet?
The carnivore diet is essentially what it sounds like—living the life of a carnivore and subsisting entirely on meat (as well as a few other proteins like eggs and a few extras like butter and dry seasonings). Unlike other famous low-carb diets like the Atkins diet and the ketogenic diet, the carnivore diet takes things a step further, going from “low-carb” to “no-carb.” Also forbidden on the carnivore diet are fruits, vegetables, dairy—nearly anything that is not meat. As one website dedicated to the diet explains only, “Meat + Water = Carnivore Diet.”
Foods you can eat on the carnivore diet.
So, what exactly can you eat on the carnivore diet? The diet stresses the importance of leaning heavily on red meat, particularly on fatty cuts that will help you meet your daily calorie needs. Foods that are definitely allowed under the carnivore diet include:
• Organ meats
• Bone marrow
• Salt and pepper
• Bone broth
Potential benefits of the carnivore diet.
The major benefit of the carnivore diet is its ability to help adherents lose weight. Because you’re eating just one kind of food, your caloric intake will almost certainly be restricted, which in and of itself will lead to weight loss in most people.
As with keto, for some it reduce insulin levels, sugar intake reduction, and a reduction in cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.. These are largely unproven or strongly countered by experts and research.
Potential health risks of the carnivore diet.
First, there’s the basic nutritional downside of the diet. “Unless someone is supplementing, you could miss out on a lot of key nutrients, which can lead to impaired function of organ systems and poor energy,”. Some vital nutrients, like folate, vitamin C, and vitamin E, are found almost exclusively in vegetables, which are expressly forbidden on the carnivore diet.
How to get started on the carnivore diet.
If you decide to try the carnivore diet (which many registered dietitians recommend against), you’ll want to prep for the transition by stocking up on high-quality meats (obviously) and mapping out a meal plan. Since the protein-heavy diet is very filling, most people don’t snack on the carnivore diet, meaning that planning for three meals a day should be sufficient.