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Hey guys! 

I keep hearing about this new diet that’s getting a lot of hype so I wanted to learn more about it. 

It’s called the carnivore diet. Have you heard of it?! 

What I learned is umm…pretty…INTENSE. So OF COURSE I need to share my findings.

You’re probably assuming just by the name that this diet includes a lot of meat. You’re right. But like, A LOT OF MEAT. You’re only allowed animal products and nothing else. Apparently this diet came from the idea that our ancestors ate mostly meat – kinda like how the paleo and keto diets got started. The difference? At least those diets allow SOME carbs. The carnivore diet allows NONE…as in ZERO.

What foods CAN you eat on the Carnivore Diet?

 

  • Meat: beef, chicken, turkey, organ meats, lamb, pork, etc.
  • Fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines, crab, lobster, tilapia, herring, etc.
  • Other animal products: eggs, lard, bone marrow, bone broth, etc.
  • Low-lactose dairy (in small amounts): heavy cream, hard cheese, butter, etc.

Technically, carnivore diet followers should only drink water and bone broth because even low-carb drinks like tea and coffee come from plants (seriously). But a lot of people include them anyways. Oh and seasonings that are zero carb like salt and pepper are allowed, but only by some factions of the diet! (Healthline)

 

What foods CAN’T you eat on the Carnivore Diet?

 

  • Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, green beans, peppers, etc.
  • Fruits: apples, berries, bananas, kiwi, oranges, etc.
  • High-lactose dairy: milk, yogurt, soft cheese, etc.
  • Legumes: beans, lentils, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, etc.
  • Grains: rice, wheat, bread, quinoa, pasta, etc.
  • Alcohol: beer, wine, liquor, etc.
  • Sugars: table sugar, maple syrup, brown sugar, etc.
  • Beverages other than water: soda, coffee, tea, fruit juice, etc. (Healthline)

Okay now that we know how restrictive the carnivore diet is… why would anyone want to follow it? 

 

The people who praise this diet claim it can help with:

  • Weight loss
  • Mood disorders like depression and anxiety
  • Regulating blood sugar 
  • Arthritis

…But does it really?

Let’s start with weight loss.

So we know that eating more protein can help with losing weight. Protein is filling and keeps you satisfied, which helps you eat less. With the carnivore diet, you’re eating ONLY meat, so it’s also a lot harder to eat too many calories. So, you might lose weight.

BUT (there is always a but with these diets right?!) the people behind the diet also recommend eating high fat meats to help meet your calorie needs. This causes some unpleasant issues we’ll talk about later.

The theory behind the other “benefits” is that eating only meat eliminates any type of food that can cause sensitivities and inflammation – like wheat, dairy, nuts, etc. 

As far as the science behind these claims, there really isn’t any. Nothing reliable at least.

Possible problems with this diet

 

The main thing I don’t like about this diet is how restrictive it is. It would be HARD to follow this for more than a few weeks. So even if you do lose a little weight, it’s probably not staying off for long. 

Next, your body needs more than just meat. You’re missing out on A LOT on the carnivore diet.

Uhh like FIBER!!

When I was reading about people who gave this diet a shot (Joe Rogan was one), most of them said they experienced constipation, followed by horrible diarrhea a few weeks in. No thanks.

Why does this happen? A couple of reasons. We know that no fiber = constipation. Then once you’re further into the no-carb diet, your body has to adjust and make energy from fat and protein. When this happens, a lot of fat ends up in your intestines that needs to well… exit. Which leaves you running to the bathroom.

Eating a diet based on meat can also be really high in fat and sodium. You can actually have vitamin deficiencies on this diet too.

So here are my thoughts…

 

This diet is intense and super restrictive.

Like any extreme diet, the carnivore diet just isn’t sustainable. If you want to lose weight, you’re much better off doing it the right way with a balanced diet of whole, nutritious foods and plenty of exercise. Extreme diets are hard on the body AND your mental health. And most of the time, they don’t work! Totally not worth it if you ask me.

The Conversation (40)

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  • Layla says:

    You forgot one important thing!! The carnivore diet is HORRIBLE for the environment and isn’t sustainable for the Earth at all! Now I’m not saying go vegan, but this is just way too extreme.

  • Amy Steam says:

    this diet sounds very expensive….

  • Margarida says:

    I would’ve liked Cassey to mention the number one reason people go on this WOE: autoimmune disorders. Plants have several mechanisms of protecting themselves (ever wondered why you have to remove skin, seeds, boil them, before you can even ingest some of them??) and their lectins and oxalates can wreak havoc in our bodies.
    This diet is no different than an elimination diet: you eat meat and drink water. And slowly (if you feel like it!) start introducing foods to see your reaction to them. It has helped countless people, and is receiving a lot of bad reputation because … people are ignorant and fast to jump to conclusions. But oh well.

  • Margarida says:

    That’s the number one argument people use … and yet … no carnivore people have had it in the 10+ years they’re eating meat.

  • Mikayla says:

    There is actually scientific evidence behind this diet and it was a doctor that came up with it after trying a vegan diet and also not seeing the promised results and experiencing cramping and bloat and all the other fun stuff. There’s more to this diet than just eating meat though, it has to be free range and not factory fed meat because you are what you eat so the theory is the animals eat all the plants and therefore you are still getting all those vitamins and minerals in your diet. For more information you can check out the podcast done by the minimalists with Dr Paul Salandino https://youtu.be/Jjq6X1cRraw. I’m not saying I agree with the diet but I wanted to point out there’s more factors that play a role than just buying meat from the butcher.

  • R says:

    Scurvy…. just saying.

  • Kari says:

    This diet is ridiculous. Doesn’t it also raises the risk of heart disease and other illnesses? I feel like you’ll be risking your health on this.

  • snater says:

    Interesting, thanks for sharing! I’m curious about why the diet only allows for limited amounts of low-lactose dairy though. Any thoughts?

    • Margarida says:

      Some people react negatively to dairy and even eggs (mostly the whites).

  • Esther says:

    Great perspective but I want to offer an experiential comment. I am currently on the carnivore diet to repair years of gut damage due to stress. The gut is the second brain of the body and determines how your body is able to utilize foods. I’ve been chronically suffering from leaky gut, supplementing my diet with additional l-glutamine to increase amino acids in my stomach, which the stomach lining needs, along with an increase of B-12 vitamins, which repair the gut but are also water so likable so whenever my body was stressed, whether physically (yes working out) or emotionally (went through a rough divorce), I would relapse. I work with a chiropractor and internal health doctor who has done extensive research in keto, carnivore, as well as intermittent fasting, and was prescribed the intermittent fasting with the carnivore diet for 3 months. So far I have already seen the positive effects of this. I’m O type blood, which has a high tolerance for high protein intake, but had to work through only eating meat, dairy, eggs. Once past the diet week, I was fine. But I want to reiterate, this is only for a short period of time and for a specific purpose. When the intermittent fasting and carnivore are combined, you give the body time to actually repair itself. The intermittent fasting repairs cells at the actual cellular level (think mitochondria which is like the brain of each cell). Couple that with the carnivore diet, which repairs the gut lining, you will see people who have suffered chronically with sugar issues, inflammation (think fibromyalgia, RA, and MS), and brain fog, find reprieve from this diet. Eventually, you will slowly add Whole Foods back into your diet. But for me, I’ve not actuallly been able to utilize the nutrients in vegetables and fruits because I couldn’t process the food.

    I wanted to give this perspective because any diet is never one diet fits all, but each person needs to do research along with their health practitioner to determine the right course of action.

  • ioana_d17 says:

    I am sooo happy you wrote an article about this diet – also known as the Dukan diet. Unfortunatelly I have tried it 10 years ago (when I was 23) and I can tell you that this was one of the worst decisions I took in my life!!! I kept the diet for 3 months, which was pretty easy for me because I am a huge fan of meat. I lost 10 kg at that time and I was very happy with the results. Nevertheless when I tried to come back to a normal lifestyle….that is when the problems appeared.
    First of all I could not eat any type of vegetable (not even the simple salads which I loved so much) or fruit without instantly bloating and feeling sick to my stomach – it took me one year to be able to start veggies and fruits again (maybe is also worth mentioning it was the first diet I ever tried in my life).
    Second of all not only I gained 20 kg after quiting the diet but also my proportions and my blood tests changed a lot. While before the diet I used to have a very nice and well-proportioned body (in fact I would have needed to loose only 3-5kg), after the diet I started to put a lot of weight on the upper side of my body. Being a woman, the “musculature” articficially blown by proteins from meat-only stocked a lot around arms, back, belly – again totally against my nature!! Needless to say that ever since I started a 100 diet carrousel in order to come back to my normal figure.
    Now after 10 years I am finally back to my proportions for two main reasons:
    1st – discovering you Cassey – which is one of the best things that happened to me. Before you I could not workout for more than 10 min/ year :))). And for the past 3 years, thanks to you, I have religiously kept a 6 days/week workout routine – only based on your videos and calendars and challenges. I started God bless you for doing this and being so good at it!
    2nd – I stopped keeping any diet. In fact the word diet is completly out of my vocabulary. I have made a simple set of rules for a lifestyle that would suit me and this is it!! If once in a while I am craving for some dessert or even some junk food – well I do it and afterwards for a week I pay attention to what I am eating in order to compensate. I ‘ve done this for the past year and it’s workiiiiing :). I lost all that weight and also JUST BECAUSE I AM NOT ON A DIET ANYMORE I have much less cravings than before.
    Trust me ladies! We should all forget about DIET and focus only on LIfestyle. And especially stay away from the high-protein diets!!!

  • Cianelle says:

    I think the carnivore diet would work for me but I won’t be that restrictive. I’m not really a big fan of veggies but I still eat some that I like and I love fruits too. It’s all a matter of balancing out everything. Anything excessive will result in bad effects as we all know.

  • Sheryl says:

    I always laugh when these “eat like the cavemen” diets come up. First of all, we know that cavemen ate berries and leaves. Second of all, they had extremely short life-spans, and were NOT healthy! Yeah, sign me up! NOT!

  • Andrea says:

    HUMANS ARE NOT CARNIVORES! in fact, our ancestors ate little to not meat because it was really difficult to hunt. Besides that, you are killing tones of animals and damaging our environment.

  • Maxi says:

    Thank you. Your perspective is missing one point I have in the carnivores diet: it’s an extension of the Keto diet. So protein is only allowed to a certain percentage and fat is making up the bulk of your food. It’s definitely not for everyone. And yes, it is really hard to get fiber and other nutrition. You have to calculate really well and be on point.
    When my lipoedema was at its worst, keto worked really well for me. Now, I feel that I need the carbs again.

  • Cindy Eckles says:

    I really don’t know anything about the Carnivore Diet. I enjoy eating meat. I still love fruits and vegetables. I Just listen to my stomach tell me when I need to eat and I do. I have been trying to practice mindful eating.

  • Rose says:

    I just don’t understand how you would be able to lose weight by just eating meat? 🧐 None of this is adding up!

    • Mikayla says:

      You’re cutting out everything else. If you cut out bread, you’ll lose weight. If you cut out coffee, you’ll lose weight. Anything you cut out of your diet will result in weight loss but it’s not permanent.

  • Keith says:

    Well, he did a ton of blood work before he started the diet. So let’s see how hes doing in a few months. Joe was already fat adapted so I’m sure his body wasn’t “stressed out”

  • Dorien says:

    Eating a carnivore diet is horrible! For the animals, for your heart and veins and for the planet! Please do not give a podium to such a diet. Better to inform people about the health- and environment benefits of eating a more plantbased diet. Better give a podium to such a diet and inform people about movies like *Forks over Knives *The Game Changers *What the health etcetera….

  • Irene Stock says:

    My main argument with this is that our ancestors didn’t just eat meat and fish, they also ate nuts & berries so it’s main concept is false. They also certainly drank milk as a source of food! Trust me, I am a huge carnivore but this diet just feels wrong to me.

  • Luby says:

    Also, if you’re looking for a sustainable example, Kelly Hogan is one example of a ten year carnivore! She lost 120lbs, got rid of health problems, gained fertility! She looks very healthy and happy. Her blog is myzerocarblife.com

  • Luby says:

    While there is for sure an adjustment period, the diet is actually quite easy to follow because it is so satiating. It provides great energy, reduces anxiety, and increases focus and calm. Fiber and carbs are not necessary, meat has all the nutrients you need! It’s great for breaking sugar addiction! I find that the hardest part is the social pressure to eat vegetables because people don’t know about the diet. So thanks for bringing it to people’s attention, I think many can benefit from it!

    • Kayt says:

      Fibre is so important. A lot of cancers have been linked to a lack of fibre in the diet. So I would this diet is terrible and fruit and vegetables are vital.

  • Aoife says:

    These diets always seem odd to me. When you take into account we were hunter-gatherers in the past, so we ate meat AND plant foods.

  • Tiffany says:

    I welcome any thoughts or conversation starters. My cousin actually switched to keto diet a little over two years ago. And then I believe about a year ago changed to carnivore diet. Which is what she snd her husband still do. She did the carnivore diet during her whole pregnancy and now has a healthy baby boy. She’s lost a ton of weight and says she feels amazing. You are right they don’t drink much if anything but water and I think tea. And absolutely no sugar whatsoever. This does mean zero processed foods. I really don’t believe there is one diet that fits all people or one thing we can recommend. I of course always recommend no processed foods. I really don’t eat anything processed at all. I have celiac and we eat pretty healthy in my house. But aside from that recommendation everyone’s body is different and you just can’t say what will or won’t work for someone. It works for my cousin Molly. That doesn’t mean it works for everyone.

  • Emily says:

    No way I could do this… my body would just crave lettuce! Broccoli! Anything greeeeen!!

  • May says:

    … and animal ethics, economy, climate

  • Sophie says:

    I think it would also be important to note that this diets effect on the environment and how elitist it is. There is no way everyone in the world can eat that much meat. I understand that the point was to look at the diet itself, but in today’s climate change world I find that big influencers like you have a responsibility to inform how a diet will not affect only the person eating but everyone else too.

    • Layla says:

      Yesss!! Preach!! This is so important, and I can’t believe people don’t think about or mention this!! Like, you’re not the only person or creature in this world.

  • Clarance Clement Dias says:

    Cassey you are just beyond amazing looking out for us like this. I am such a fan. I love working out with you everyday since a few years now and how much efforts you put into Making us understand these diet fads always. Love you loads from India. ♥️♥️♥️

  • Holly says:

    TBH… I’ve been following the carnivore diet for a few months now and while it does seem extreme, it’s the best I’ve felt in a really long time! I suffer from autoimmune and thyroid issues and it’s been a very healing diet, especially for my gut. I absolutely love veggies, but unfortunately they do not love me back! I don’t expect to be a strict carnivore forever but everyone is different and you have to do what’s best for you and just be more intuitive to what your body needs. Everyone’s health journey is different. Btw, no issues with going to bathroom, neither too little or too much. Been regular everyday!

  • abbey4623 says:

    Agreed! This diet seems scary.

  • A says:

    Carnivore diet sounds ridiculous. I can imagine how sick I would feel if I were to follow that regime. Recently I’ve stated eating a lot less meat and it feels amazing! So I can’t imagine this carnivore diet. It just doesn’t feel natural. My body shudders and instinctively tells me that it wouldn’t be right for me.

  • Sally says:

    Agree totally, I noticed I have better bowel system once I dropped meat in my diet. I don’t advocate vegan. I chose to eat more veggies, cut diary to 5%. I love my body how it is reacting to my input and I feel so good.

  • Sally says:

    Agree totally, I noticed I have better bowel system once I dropped meat in my diet. I don’t advocate vegan although my diet is close to vegan, I chose to eat more vegetarians, cut out diary to 95% and that’s it. I enjoyed my body more now because my body is reacting to my intake.

    • Layla says:

      Good for you; you’re also benefitting the environment which is also a very important factor. I also had chronic constipation from eating meat which led to rectal prolapse. I went pescatarian for a while and now I’m trying to reduce my overall meat intake.

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