The Carnivore Diet is an eating pattern that focuses on meat, fish, and animal products like eggs and some dairy products, excluding all other foods. In addition, it allows the consumption of salt, pepper, some seasonings, and honey.
Weight loss, blood sugar regulation, and mood issues are just some of the health benefits claimed by this diet. However, the Carnivore diet is a highly restrictive eating pattern and may not be healthy in the long run. Moreover, there is no scientific evidence that it is beneficial.
The Carnivore diet is a highly restrictive eating plan that limits one of the major dietary groups – carbohydrates. This diet promotes eating fish, meat, and other animal products, including dairy and eggs. However, the Carnivore diet excludes all other foods, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes. Some of the followers of this diet also limit their dairy intake to low-lactose dairy products.
Following the Carnivore diet, you can eat chicken, turkey, beef, pork, lamb, organ meats, sardines, salmon, and white fish. Small portions of hard cheese and heavy cream are also allowed. In addition, you can eat lard, bone marrow, and butter. In order to meet your daily energy needs, diet supporters recommend eating fatty cuts of meat. Also, you can eat only grass-fed animal products. Processed meats typically contain detrimental ingredients that help to preserve these foods. Such ingredients may harm your health.
Although the Carnivore diet emphasizes drinking water and bone broth, it discourages drinking coffee, tea, and other drinks derived from plants.
This diet does not provide specific guidelines on calorie intake, serving size, or how many meals or snacks to eat a day. However, most supporters of the Carnivore diet suggest eating as often as you want.
People with pre-existing chronic conditions, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, should avoid the Carnivore diet. Also, if you are prone to disordered eating or have any level of kidney disease, you should not try this diet. Finally, if you have a chronic disease, such as diabetes or heart disease, talk to your doctor before trying this diet.
How to avoid possible nutritional deficiencies
The carnivore diet is highly restrictive. Since it eliminates the whole dietary group, it may lead to fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin B-7, vitamin B-9, vitamin K, boron, calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese, polyphenols, and myo-inositol deficiency. To avoid possible nutritional deficiencies, pay attention to the listed foods when planning your meals.
- Fiber: no animal products contain fiber. That is why you should consider taking fiber supplements.
- Vitamin C: kidney, liver, eggs, and fish roe.
- Vitamin E: goose meat, atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, abalone, crayfish, fish roe, octopus, lobster, and cod.
- Vitamin A: fish liver, egg yolk, beef liver, salmon, bluefin tuna, low-lactose dairy, including milk and various types of cheese.
- Vitamin B-7: egg yolk, liver, kidney, salmon, beef, and pork
- Vitamin B-9: liver, low-lactose dairy, seafood, and egg yolk.
- Vitamin K: beef liver, pork chops, chicken, goose liver paste, hard low-lactose cheese, ground beef, egg yolk, and low-lactose milk.
- Boron: no animal products are rich in boron. That is why you should consider taking boron supplements.
- Calcium: canned salmon, trout, clams, and low-lactose dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and cheese.
- Potassium: chicken breast, low-lactose milk, cod, salmon, and tuna.
- Copper: liver, oysters, lobster, fish, crab, and organ meat.
- Magnesium: atlantic mackerel, chinook salmon, halibut, and atlantic pollock.
- Manganese: blue mussels, pacific oysters, and clams.
- Polyphenols: cloves and other seasonings.
- Myo-inositol: liver and liver cheese.
In addition, you should consider taking supplements to ensure that your body receives enough vitamins and minerals.
Tips on improving your dieting experience
- Organize bulk meat into daily portions by partitioning it. For example, you can prepare burger patties and freeze them into daily batches, cut bulk steaks into daily portions, and use a meat slicer to cut the pork belly into half-week portions.
- Alternate different protein sources. Although beef provides the most nutritional value for the Carnivore diet, you can also mix other protein sources with it. For example, poultry, lamb, pork, venison, elk, and buffalo are good protein sources for the Carnivore diet.
- Eat 1-2 meals a day. The Carnivore diet promotes intermittent fasting and reduces binge eating. With the Carnivore diet, you will quickly discover that you need to eat smaller portions and eat less often. It has been reported that people on the Carnivore diet do not need to snack or eat three meals a day. Instead, they eat 1-2 large meals.
The Carnivore diet is highly restrictive and consists entirely of meat, eggs, fish, and small amounts of low-lactose dairy. Also, this diet is high in sodium and fat, and it contains no fiber or other beneficial plant compounds. Therefore, it is challenging to stick to this diet long-term.
It is said to aid weight loss and improve several health issues, but no research supports these claims.
As a whole, the Carnivore diet is unnecessarily restrictive. Instead, a balanced diet containing a variety of healthy foods will give you more health benefits and is more sustainable.
You may consider trying Mediterranean or Nordic diets to improve your health. These diets are less restrictive and easy to follow.