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What is Carnivore Diet? Benefits, Risk and More

While there is yet to be an official definition, the best way to think of the carnivore diet is as a diet that involves feeding on only foods that either swam, walked, or flew.

While it may be a popular trend, eating nothing else but meat is boring and far from sexy. It’s not a fine-looking or colorful meal, which means that people only follow this diet out of motivation or just a string love for meat.

Motivation, in most cases, may be to address an autoimmune condition or to lose weight.

Who Is Shawn Baker? And how is he connected to the Carnivore Diet?

Shawn Baker is a name that must be mentioned when this diet is discussed. Shawn is an orthopedic surgeon and a prominent leader in the concept of a carnivore diet. Shawn authored a book that was put out in early 2018 aptly that is titled The Carnivore Diet.

However, Shawn’s medical license has now been revoked.

The Carnivore Diet Food List: What you should Eat and What to Avoid

A meat-only diet is quite self-explanatory, so you may not need much to understand what it is — you will be eating nothing else but meat. Nonetheless, like all other diets, there are a number of gray areas.

Here are the things you’ll be eating:

Red meat (lamb, beef, pork), with more emphasis on fattier meat, cuts to take in the right amount of calories. Other meat options include:

  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water
  • Lard
  • Bone marrow
  • Butter
  • Organ meats
  • Bone broth

Foods That are likely Okay on the Carnivore Diet include:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Coffee and tea: These food options may be plant-based, but some people try to keep these in the diet.

Foods that are not allowed on the carnivore diet include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Pasta
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Bread

Anything else that is not meat cannot be allowed on the meat-only diet.

Proposed Health Benefits of this Diet

According to Jordan Peterson, the carnivore diet has been gaining fame in recent times as a potential anti-inflammatory diet for people dealing with autoimmune conditions, especially in light of some of the press attention the diet’s received.

In 2018, Mikhaila, the daughter of lifestyle expert Jordan Peterson, was profiled in the U.K. publication The Times, where she talked about how her diet of strictly beef, salt, and water supposedly relieved her of depression symptoms.

This diet turns out to be the most extreme elimination kind of diet. It eliminates any food that the feeder may be sensitive to and has been considered to be more of a general diet for weight loss.

It is important to note that the carnivore diet is very new, and there is no research on the health benefits of a meat-only diet. If a carnivore diet can lessen the symptoms of any autoimmune condition, or if it is a suitable method for dealing with food intolerances or losing weight.

Will a carnivore diet Meal Plan Help With Weight Loss?

Yes, it might help. You are eating only one type of food — flesh — so you will have less intake of calories. For one, when you eat just meat, there the satiety that comes with it as a source of protein.

Then, there is the fact that it gets rid of mindless eating.  You may also find yourself in a state of ketosis if you are on the meat-only diet. However, this is not a guarantee that weight will be lost.

When consumed in In excess, protein can cause an increase in blood sugar levels, as well as an increase in insulin levels, and you can also be kicked out of ketosis,

What Are the likely Health Risks of following the meat-only diet that you must know?

The risks of the carnivore diet are mainly dependent on whether you choose to follow the approach to shed some weight or to address an inflammatory or autoimmune condition.

Every person needs to feed on a balanced diet. Feeding on only one food group is not healthy, no matter which one you choose to adopt (even if it’s only vegetables).

Living on an all-meat can make you run low in some essential nutrients that are abundant in fruits and vegetables, like vitamin E and vitamin C.

Even though some anecdotal reports have claimed that constipation is not a challenge for those on a carnivore diet, the fact remains that you will not need fiber, a nutrient that is important for colonic health.

A diet that is high in red and processed meats is linked to an increased risk of gastric cancer. Also, eating such a large volume of meat protein can put undue stress on the kidneys.

Extreme restriction or tagging a foods “good” or “bad” can trigger full-blown eating disorders or disordered eating behaviors.

Also, eating a great deal of fruits and vegetables has been discovered to be connected to increased happiness, well-being, and life satisfaction.

What if You Opt for Fish, Lean Meats, and Poultry?

Practically speaking, you would need to eat so much more food to get to the same calorie level if you are aiming to eat only fish or lean poultry options.

This may also help you skip going into ketosis, which is the primary goal of many people who go on zero-carb or very low diets. If you want to stay in ketosis, you would have to opt for fattier cuts of meat rather than feeding on skinless chicken breasts.

Who Should feed on a Carnivore Diet? And Who Should not feed on a Carnivore Diet?

If you have been diagnosed with any food intolerances, the meat-only diet can serve as an elimination diet for the short-term, to uncover foods that will potentially disagree with your system. This diet may be tried for six weeks and then slowly reintroduce new foods.

Make sure to consult your doctor if you are looking for an elimination diet.

In terms of who shouldn’t take part in this diet, if you are prone to disordered eating, this is not a diet that is suitable for you.

And if you have any chronic disease, such as diabetes or heart disease, discuss with your doctor before you try an extreme diet such as this one. Do not try out the carnivore diet if you have any form of kidney disease.

Why Are Experts likely Alarmed by the ‘All-Meat Diet’?

Many experts are concerned about the risks of feeding on so much saturated fat from all forms of meat like bacon and fatty steaks, which is also one of the significant issues with a keto diet.

While it is true that the risks of dietary saturated fat may be highly debated, the American Heart Association stated their stance that people need to replace sources of saturated fat with unsaturated fats to lower the risk of heart disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also defined a healthy diet as one that includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and whole grains — all foods that are a source of carbohydrates — and also focusing on unsaturated fats, such as fish and avocado while reducing saturated fat from butter and fatty meat.

There is also the potential stress that this diet may have on the kidneys when metabolizing significant amounts of protein. Those who adopt this diet also miss out on disease-fighting nutrients, such as fiber, and antioxidants, like vitamins E and C.

What About the Claim That some Tribes Subsist on Meat only?

Some individuals who follow this diet, including those who created it, are known to point to tribes in history that survived by feeding only on specific foods.

People are known to talk about how the Inuits fed majorly on blubber and liver. However, according to an article that was published in August 2018 pointed out, they also fed on a tasty variety of meats, such as whale skin, which was high in vitamin C and a lot of unsaturated fat.

We hope that you found this article useful. Please leave a comment below.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

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