Today we’re looking at the latest diet that everyone is talking about: the Carnivore Diet.
- What it is;
- What it consists of;
- What are its benefits; and
- Most importantly, the risks involved.
From time to time, a new diet trend appears that seems to be able to solve all our problems.
In recent years we’ve seen the rise of the paleo-diet: its evolutionary consistency has attracted many people and created a significant number of followers.
At the same time, the ketogenic diet, the low carbohydrate diet and, more recently, the intermittent fast are are going strong today.
What is the Carnivore Diet?
The carnivore diet is very easy to understand.
It consists of eliminating absolutely all foods that not coming from animals.
Followers exclude all kinds of fruits, vegetables, seeds or legumes from their diet.
Zero Carb Diet
There’s also another name for it: the Zero Carb Diet, because if you follow its premises, the carbohydrate content of this diet will be minimal.
Does it work?
The diet has gained momentum and popularity in various ways.
One of its biggest advocates is Doctor Shawn Baker, who has been practicing it for more than two years.
On his website meatheals.com you can find hundreds of testimonials from people who have done well on the carnivore diet.
Another personality making this diet very fashionable is the psychologist Jordan Peterson, claiming among other things that his anxiety levels decreased dramatically when he started a carnivore diet, as you can see in this Joe Rogan podcast.
What are its Benefits?
Excluding foods that should not be in your diet
The uniqueness of the diet has a positive side: you’ll be eliminating all sources of sugar, refined flours, vegetable oils and ultra-processed foods in one.
It’s very easy to lose weight
The carnivore diet is a very high-protein diet and, although it’s not mentioned, it’s also a ketogenic diet, due to the low contribution of exogenous glucose.
This will keep you feeling full most of the time and reduce your food cravings, which is one of the benefits most frequently mentioned by dieters.
It’s easy not to lose muscle
If the calorie deficit created isn’t too hig, it provides a large amount of protein of great biological value.
Especially if you do a strength exercises, it will help you to maintain your lean mass.
This is not new…
As I said earlier, a diet based solely on meat, fish and eggs, although not known as such, is a ketogenic diet in the sense that it will produce some elevation of ketone bodies in plasma.
Ketone bodies have a demonstrated neurodepressant effect that appears to be directly related to the improvement of anxiety symptoms and improved mood that patients on a ketogenic diet experience.
It can improve certain pathologies
Especially metabolic pathologies such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome or obesity.
However, many of its users also report improvement in some autoimmune diseases such as Chron’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis.
Although science will have to support this anecdotal evidence, from a pathophysiology point of view it is not unreasonable to think that such an antigen-restrictive diet can improve autoimmune pathology.
On the other hand, the strongly auto-inflammatory character of the ketone bodies will improve the symptomatology of many of these pathologies.
What are the Risks?
Unjustified exclusion of healthy food groups
Proponents of the carnivore diet argue that humans are evolutionarily not prepared to eat and process vegetables in large quantities.
They continue to talk about the presence of antinutrients such as phytates in foods of plant origin, and their alleged detrimental effect on our health.
However, I find the arguments extremely weak.
From an evolutionary point of view, the vast majority of hunter-gatherer populations, current and past, included some proportion of plant foods in their diet.
Even the Hadza, who prioritise the consumption of food of animal origin, include a certain amount of vegetables in their daily life.
But to think that the Inuit way of life and their diet can be extrapolated to the rest of the world’s population is a crazy idea.
From an epidemiological point of view, we have practically all the blue zones taking a vegetable-based diet and minimising animal products.
And from the point of view of the available studies, the obviousness of the number of publications that relate the consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes with better health is, at least, overwhelming.
It is worth noting that the carnivore diet does not regulate the consumption of processed meat.
There is certainly no unanimous scientific consensus on red meat consumption and its impact on health.
Bacon, for example, is very prevalent in the diet.
Today, not considering the environmental impact of our way of eating is more than irresponsible.
- Everything you need to know about the Paleo Diet in the following link.
- Intermittent Fasting consists of establishing a window of food eating… continue reading.