The Carnivore Diet was the 3rd most Googled diet of 2018. With low-carb similarities to the #1 searched diet, the Keto Diet, it’s no surprise the Carnivore Diet has been trending.

Maybe you’ve heard about it – this diet where you can eat as much meat as you want and watch as fat falls off and muscles grow without even going to the gym. Some call it a fad diet. Others believe it’s the answer to our crippling health. My initial thought is that this diet is ridiculous but I’m willing to keep an open mind and try to be impartial while researching.

The Carnivore Diet goes completely against the grain of the conventional nutrition advice we’ve previously been taught. If you thought the Keto Diet was a bit extreme, wait until you hear how this one works. The rules are simple. You eat animal foods and byproducts. That’s it. Everything else is restricted. No fruits, no vegetables, no grains, no nothing. Just meat. You don’t have to follow any food timing strategies, portion control, or calorie counting.

𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗲’𝘀 𝗮 𝘀𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝗱𝗮𝗶𝗹𝘆 𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘂:

𝗕𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗸𝗳𝗮𝘀𝘁-- Eggs and bacon followed by black coffee and water

𝗟𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗵-- 80/20 grass-fed beef or salmon with water

𝗗𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗿-- Fatty cut of meat like ribeye or NY strip steak topped with grass-fed butter

𝗦𝗻𝗮𝗰𝗸-- Pork rinds, beef jerky, or bone broth

I almost start dry-heaving when I look at this menu. I love a good steak 𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘤𝘤𝘢𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 but this diet goes WAY beyond the meat intake I think I could stomach. And this is how you’re supposed to eat every single day! Carnivore Diet proponents don’t think of this as a diet plan, it’s a lifestyle. They claim you can, and should, eat like this forever.

𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗻𝗶𝘃𝗼𝗿𝗲-𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝗱𝘀:

𝗠𝗲𝗮𝘁. Your main calorie source should come from fatty cuts of grass-fed meat like NY strip steak, porterhouse, ribeye, 80/20 ground beef, t-bone, bacon, pork chops and flank steak. Since you’re restricting carbohydrates, meats with more fat content are preferred so your body can use those fats as a source of energy.

𝗙𝗶𝘀𝗵. Salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, and catfish are allowed. Just like meat, aim for the fattiest fish you can purchase.

𝗘𝗴𝗴𝘀. Also known as nature’s multivitamin, eggs are the perfect ratio of protein, fats, and essential nutrients to keep your body performing at its best on the carnivore diet.

𝗕𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗼𝘄. Bone broth is carnivore-approved and it’s a great protein source that also helps with gut, skin, and joint health.

𝗗𝗮𝗶𝗿𝘆. Milk, grass-fed butter, and cheese are technically allowed since they come from an animal but many carnivore dieters try to keep dairy intake at a minimum since a large percentage of the population eventually develops an intolerance.

𝗙𝗮𝘁𝘁𝘆 𝗺𝗲𝗮𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗱𝘂𝗰𝘁𝘀. Use lard, tallow, and other animal-based fats to cook your food instead of vegetable oil.

𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀. Salt, pepper, herbs, and spices are allowed on the carnivore diet. Stick to simple ingredients that don’t contain any sugar or carbohydrates. If you want some flavor with your meat, consider adding some zero-calorie hot sauce like Frank’s Red Hot.

So the question that first comes to mind is how can I possibly get all the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables when all I’m eating is meat? What about phytonutrients? What about fiber? Where’s the vitamin C?

𝗟𝗲𝘁’𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘃𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗻 𝗖. Carnivore dieters believe that your body no longer needs ample amounts of vitamin C when carbs are removed. Case closed. I’d like to understand the science behind that belief but so far I haven’t been able to find the explanation.

𝗣𝗵𝘆𝘁𝗼𝗻𝘂𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀? According to many Carnivore Diet supporters, plant-based foods are the root cause of so many of our modern illnesses. Plants contain phytochemicals that have natural toxins designed to deter predation. Supporters says plants do not have human health in mind. They care about survival. And since they can’t fight or flee, they use chemical warfare to deter predators. Basically, they claim plants are bad for us. Now I’m not one to believe something is true just because I read it on the internet but I’m pretty darn certain that enough research has been done proving the health benefits of a plant-based diet that claims they’re actually killing us are bordering on complete and utter fantasy.

𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗳𝗶𝗯𝗲𝗿? Not needed say the Carnivores. At its best, fiber is a bandaid to a bad diet that can reduce blood sugar spikes, and makes us feel bloated so we don’t eat more of our modern man-made poisons. Carnivore proponents claim the BIGGEST BENEFIT of fiber is that it helps reduce the harm caused by the plant-based foods that contain it.

Bottom line, fiber is good for a bad diet, but unnecessary and even harmful on the diet we are designed to eat, a meat only diet. Oh boy. 🙄

Digging a little deeper into this diet, I came across the following interview 𝙄𝙣𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙚 writer, Emma Betuel, did with former doctor and Carnivore proponent, Shawn Baker, regarding the Carnivore Diet on September 18, 2018.

Shawn Baker is a former orthopedic surgeon whose license was revoked, a self-described “multi sport world record setting athlete,” and carnivore diet “revolutionist” who says the truth “flies in the face” of what we’ve been told about meat for decades.

“I eat mostly steaks, red meat, hamburgers. Sometimes I’ll eat fish,” claims Baker, who says his diet is 98 percent meat. He has a huge social media following, moderating Facebook’s 20,000-member strong World Carnivore Tribe. For what it’s worth, Baker looks extremely fit.

Carnivore Diet supporters believe that grains, legumes, and seeds contain “antinutrients” and that fruits and other carbs are toxic. Because there’s no science to support those claims (in fact, in the case of antinutrients, the science is that they’re not harmful), all the “evidence” that the diet works comes from personal anecdotes. But anecdotes don’t prove whether or not a diet is legit.

𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲’𝘀 𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗹𝗲, 𝗶𝗳 𝗮𝗻𝘆, 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝘀𝗰𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗱𝗶𝗲𝘁.

Meat is protein and fat. Yes, it does contain various nutrients but while the claim that you can live without eating plant based foods is probably true, that doesn’t mean the phytochemicals, nutrients, and fiber found in plant foods aren’t beneficial to our health. Saturated fats—while not the evil villain we once believed—have not been vindicated entirely when it comes to cardiovascular disease risk.

The problem with this diet as I see it is the lack of research on the long term implications of following a meat only diet. I read an article from a guy that followed this diet for a year and had a battery of blood work done, including cholesterol levels, and, as one would expect, his LDL cholesterol was high. Of course, he offers a lot of rationalizations about why his LDL cholesterol was high and states he’s not worried about it but I think he’s missing the point. You could probably eat some Elmer’s Glue every day for a year and just because your blood results were mostly ok doesn’t mean glue is safe or healthy.

I’m not a doctor. I don’t profess to know whether or not a meat only diet is a certain death sentence or a totally revolutionary fountain of youth. What I have learned from researching all these diet plans is how little long term research has been conducted on food in general. It seems the government and pharmaceutical companies are dedicating most of their resources to the study of pharmaceuticals and very little focus or money is spent researching foods and herbal remedies. We seem fixated on creating and researching drugs to treat symptoms rather than study the natural healing abilities of foods. Doesn’t it make more sense to look for natural ways to prevent diseases rather than spending all our money on ways to treat them?

Look at the supplement industry for example. There is so little research done on most herbal remedies yet various countries around the globe, such as the Chinese, have proclaimed their health healing abilities for centuries. In the United States we often laugh off herbal remedies almost like tarot card readers. I can’t help but question whether big pharma is deliberately and methodically steering us down the path they choose. But that’s a topic for another article.

The point I’m trying to make is that when deciding whether or not a diet such as the Carnivore Diet is right for you, you have to first recognize that you’re essentially jumping of a cliff in the dark without knowing how far you’ll fall. If you want to throw science out the window and stick to a meat only diet, go ahead. You’re basically taking on the role of a laboratory rat. If you believe that’s a risk worth taking, best wishes.

I think that science will eventually figure out whether there’s something to these no carb, no grains, no legumes, no fruits, no vegetables diets but until more concrete data is produced, I’d steer clear of these radical diet plans. They may work at helping you lose weight and you may even look and feel fine doing them for a while, but I can’t help but wonder what you’re doing to your insides in the meantime.

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