From former vegans to low carb aficionados, the Carnivore diet has been gaining in popularity over the past several years due in large part to the many health benefits people are experiencing. Curious? We'll explain what the Carnivore diet is, its benefits and some resources from the experts for you to further explore this way of eating.
The Carnivore diet is pretty much like it sounds, it's eating only animal based foods. At its strictest, it includes only meats, seafood, organs, skins and fats. At its broadest, eggs, dairy and cheeses are included. That's it. This also means all plants, fruits, spices and carbohydrates are off the table. Salt is the one exception due in part to the need for electrolytes while eating carnivore.
You can eat all you want until your hunger is sated. No calorie or macro counting. Just eat animal based foods until you are full. If you are coming to Carnivore from a mostly SAD, Vegan or Vegetarian diet, you may initially find yourself eating a lot more food, several times a day. Go with it. This will level out as your body's nutrients get replenished. After a while, many find themselves naturally eating one or two meals a day.
What about nutrient deficiencies?
Most wonder if eating only animal based foods would lead to nutrient deficiencies. Dr. Kiltz, a carnivore diet proponent and fertility specialist, states "If you’re eating a well-formulated carnivore diet, the answer is no! Trying to subsist strictly on one or two cuts of meat could potentially lead to nutritional deficiencies. But regularly integrating a diverse range of animals, cuts of meat, and especially organ meats provides you with more than enough micronutrients to not only survive but thrive.
In fact, one of the highlights of the carnivore diet is its impressive ability to reverse nutrient deficiencies.
Our digestive tracts and bodies still function the same way our primarily carnivorous ancestors did. We are designed to survive and flourish on the most nutrient-dense sources of fuel on the planet – meat."
Dr. Kiltz provides a chart that shows how our digestive tract is designed to support a meaty diet, and the nutritional profile of animal products versus plants.
Another chart below from Dr. Kiltz shows the RDA% of eating carnivore foods.
Judy Cho of Nutrition with Judy created the images below to show the nutrition of various carnivore staples.
Why would someone eat like this? What are the benefits?
Many people come to Carnivore to heal a specific health issue, as an evolution of keto or just to experiment, to see if they can take their health to the next level.
Health issues healed while eating Carnivore include:
Various Mental Health Diagnoses
And so much more.
Steak and Butter Gal, a popular Carnivore guide on YouTube, tells how she was a Vegan for 6 years, had cystic acne, eczema, hair loss, allergies, bloating, psoriasis and lost her period for several years. After having some lab tests done, her doctor said she was very deficient in nutrients and should consider adding meats to her diet. So she researched what other Vegans did when they started eating meat again and came across the Carnivore diet. Steak and Butter Gal switched overnight from Vegan to Carnivore and hasn't looked back. All of her health issues listed above resolved once on the Carnivore diet.
Many people experience resolution of long standing gut issues while eating Carnivore. This may be because according to Dr. Kiltz "a well-formulated carnivore diet is loaded with gut-healthy compounds like glutamine, collagen, and omega-3 fatty acids that help strengthen and repair your gut lining.
Additionally, by cutting out plant foods you’re removing the abrasive and fermentable fiber, and plant toxins like gluten that can cause irritation, inflammation, and overgrowth of harmful bacteria."
A word on plant foods. The main reason for eliminating plant foods while on the Carnivore diet is because "Plants, like humans, have one primary goal, and that’s to survive and reproduce. To achieve this goal they’ve evolved an arsenal of chemicals including naturally occurring pesticides, mineral chelators, antibiotics, along with phytoestrogens that interfere with human reproductive hormones.
Many of these plant toxins and antinutrients are linked to inflammation, bowel issues, allergies, fertility issues, and vitamin deficiencies.
For instance, the phytic acid found in many grains and legumes can prevent you from absorbing important nutrients including calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and copper, while inhibiting the enzymes you need for digestion.
Foods high in phytoestrogens like soy have been associated with decreased fertility in both men and women. Researchers theorize that plants contain these fertility-decreasing substances to drive down the population of animals that would otherwise eat them."
Carnivore Diet Resources (a.k.a. The Experts)
Think this way of eating may benefit you? Want more in-depth Carnivore Diet information? Below are several resources to start your deep dive into the Carnivore universe.
Dr. Sean Baker (Orthopedic Surgeon)
Steak and Butter Gal (A Former Vegan)
Dr. Ken Berry (Family Physician)
Nutrition with Judy (Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist/Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner)
Dr. Anthony Chaffee (Neurosurgeon)
Dr. Robert Kiltz (Fertility Specialist)
Dr. Kiltz Website with a good getting started with Carnivore post.
All Things Carnivore
All Things Carnivore Website - Tons of Carnivore information