Insert, the Carnivore Diet; the latest fad diet being promoted by bloggers and so-called Instagram nutrition experts, which is based upon what I like to call IG Science! No facts, just fiction. The premise? Only meat all the time. Yup! A diet that actually encourages you to eat as much meat as possible, so you can lose weight and get healthier. That means no fruit, no veggies, no carbohydrates, and no dairy. Sounds healthy yet? Wrong. But, before you start stuffing your face with bacon, let’s get a few things straight.
According to Health.Gov the typical eating patterns currently consumed in America do not align with recommended dietary guidelines.
- About three-fourths of the population has an eating pattern that is low in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and healthy fats.
- More than half of the population is meeting or exceeding total grain and total protein foods recommendations
- Most Americans exceed the recommendations for added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.
Even without the carnivore diet, our society has already embraced similar principles to The Carnivore Diet by skimping on the leafy greens and mouthwatering fruit, to adopt a protein heavy lifestyle. The Carnivore Diet has evolved from other diets that favor high amounts of protein such as the Keto, and Paleo diet. Although there are many health benefits of eating protein, such as the high amounts of B Vitamins, Iron, and Zinc, too much of one thing, is never a good thing. Now, let’s get to the facts.
The Carnivore Diet: Is it Healthy? Or Is It Just Instagram Science?
America is obsessed with fad diets. Whatever seems to offer a quick fix so you can lose a few pounds always seems to be the hype. But are diets like the Carnivore diet actually healthy? No, and here’s why.
What About Your Digestive Health?
Only eating protein or meat cuts out many essential vitamins and nutrients that you can only derive from fruits and vegetables. Not to mention, the enormous lack of fiber. There’s no doubt that cutting carbs and loading up on protein, has helped tons of people shed some unwanted pounds, but a big downside, is that it can also ruin your digestive health, and make you constipated or bloated. Fiber keeps your GI tract happy and also keeps things moving, so you’re not completely, ‘full of shit.’
(READ MORE on how to get rid of stomach bloat)
You Need Carbohydrates
Secondly, carbohydrates are converted to glycogen, which provides fuel and energy for your body and brain to function properly. Without it, you can feel sluggish, tired, and develop increased brain fog. Cutting back on your carbohydrate intake will absolutely help you lose weight and further optimize body composition, but completely cutting them out, is something different and ill-advised. Even if you eat a Keto-ish diet, you’re still getting 30-50g of carbohydrates per day. It’s important to remember however that the quality of your carbohydrates does matter, and some carbohydrates are better than others.
(READ MORE about the differences between simple and complex carbohydrates)
Another issue with the Carnivore Diet is that ingesting too much protein can lead to dehydration. Dehydration occurs when your kidneys are overworked, from metabolizing excess amounts of protein. This will eventually lead to kidney damage and cause kidney stones. I think we can all agree, that kidney stones are something you do not want to experience.
Any diet that has food restrictions, will work for a certain period of time. But, like all the rest of the diets out there, it’s unsustainable and unrealistic. Subsisting on meat alone can create a disordered eating pattern and honestly, cause serious health issues down the road such as chronic illness, gout, or ketoacidosis for those with a family history of diabetes.
Does The Carnivore Diet Work?
There is no one-size-fits-all, or cookie cutter approach to losing weight and building a healthy lifestyle. We’re all different and we all have different nutrient requirements. If you completely cut carbs and you’re overweight, then yes, you will lose weight. But, it won’t last long. Ridding your body of vital nutrients will lead to poor overall health and cause health issues.
Our society is obsessed with Instagram models and the belief that we can obtain a flawless, perfectly sculpted physique by following IG Science. We spend an average of 53 minutes per day scrolling through depictions of people we want to be like. So naturally, we believe what Instagrammers say. They’re called influencers for a reason, right? It’s a shame that our society continues to be plagued by a massive influx of misinformation from ill-informed ‘nutrition experts’.
The fact of the matter is that the carnivore diet is an extreme diet that has no clinical studies, to provide an evidence-based outcome. And if actually clinical trials were put into place, there won’t be any clinical evidence for years to come. It’s important to maintain a horizontal diet or a diet that contains foods from many food groups so that you can provide your body with the adequate amounts of micro and macronutrients to live a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle.