The carnivore diet, also referred to as the zero-carb diet, has recently caught fire and believe it or not males and females are following it by choice. But carnivores aren't as rare a breed as one might imagine. In fact, there are numerous reasons why people follow this trend. Take me as an example. Why? For the same reasons people try all kinds of different diets: weight loss, thinking clearer, better digestion, energy, etc. Though cutting off all plant foods seems an extreme type of measure, there are benefits to this. For example, it instantly removes nearly all types of allergens and anti-nutrients that have caused many health problems.
What Exactly is the Carnivore Diet?
Exactly what it sounds like. The carnivore diet consists of animal foods ONLY. In other words, as long as the constituents of your meal walked, crawled, flew, swam, or otherwise had parents, they’re all fair game. And the best part of all? You don’t have to worry about timing, macronutrient breakdowns, or portions. The idea is to simply eat when you feel hungry and when you are fully satisfied.
However, since this diet avoids eating any source of carb or any plant food based, it is vital that you consume enough calories to maintain your energy levels up. You can do this by eating fattier sources of protein. Such as fattier cuts of meat, salmon or sardines, tallow, lard, and other fat-dense foods derived from meat, you’ll even need the fat found in yolks. In general, steak, burger meat, red meat, poultry, organ meats, bacon and sausage, dairy such as milk, even bone broth (my favorite) are allowed. When it comes to condiments, you can never go wrong with sea salt and pepper. If at any point you’re concerned that you’re not obtaining enough micronutrients, then a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement is a good idea.
Benefits of the Carnivore Diet?
Let’s be real here. If you tell your doctor that you are only eating protein, he or she will want to put you in time out and tell you that you have gone completely nuts. We all know that is a doctor’s biggest nightmare. But listen to me, I’ve done my research and I found that there are some strong advantages that back up the carnivore diet both anecdotally and by research.
One of the most popular benefits: weight loss. Yes, I said weight loss, and this is because you’re so limited on what you can eat that it makes it impossible to get a calorie surplus without a concerted effort. Moreover, by not eating carbohydrates you’re keeping your blood sugar levels low at all times, so your body has no reason to store incoming calories as body fat. However, if your goal is to put weight back on, you can eat two to four pounds of meat daily. Trust me, this works. Also, what I have found for myself is that you’ll get in the habit of eating only when you need to and just enough to keep you satisfied. Actually, you’ll end up learning the difference between physiological hunger and boredom eating as it happened to me.
Want more benefits? Here they are: Better heart health, helps lower inflammation, creates higher testosterone, you end up with fewer digestive problems, increases mental clarity, it’s a simpler diet, may help get rid of allergies, and much more.
Now, you might be wondering… What about animal welfare? Well, I’m a animal lover and Halo, a rescued dog, is the new member of my family. I’m totally against any form of cruelty to animals and against the mass-produced food companies/factories.
For that reason, I make sure that all the meat I consume when not brought by Dr. Ivan Rusilko, it's bought from a high quality from certified humanely raised farms that guarantee 100% grass-fed, free-range organic, all free from added antibiotics and hormones.
How Safe is the Carnivore Diet?
Yes, the carnivore diet is safe for most people, at least in the short term. Listen, I am not telling you or asking you to switch to the carnivore diet and stick to it for the rest of your existence. Although there isn’t much research on long term results from the carnivore diet, there is still enough evidence that shows it is generally safe and beneficial in the short term.
So why might it not be safe for the long run?
Well, first understands this: meat is absorbed in the small intestines before it reaches the colon. It’s possible to get a bowel obstruction due to disease or physical injury, however, red meat does not actually block your GI tract. The problem is, since there isn’t much coming out, people who have small bowel movements love to assume that waste is stuck inside of them. The truth is, small movements is simply due to low intakes of fiber. Fiber’s main function is to add bulk so, the reason your poop is small is because it doesn’t have veggies/fiber in it. But, a more serious concern on the carnivore diet is still the risk of colon cancer. Here’s why:
There’s so much evidence on phytonutrients from plant foods and how they help and protect DNA, thus lack of phytonutrient will eventually impact you in the long run. Additionally, bacteria in the GI tract and in the colon ferment fiber into a chemical compound called butyrate. Butyrate decreases inflammation in the GI tract, which potentially decreases the risk of colon cancer. Therefore, an all-animal diet could increase the risk of colon cancer, not because animal foods are considered carcinogenic, but because you wouldn’t be consuming foods that essentially help you inhibit/prevent colon cancer. Plus, let’s not forget that consuming fruits and vegetables offer thousands of other benefits for your heart, eyes, skin, brain health, overall longevity, etc.
Nutrient Deficiencies with Carnivore Diet?
Studies have shown that there aren’t any serious vitamin or mineral deficiencies. In general, red meat contains an outstanding amount of iron, magnesium and zinc. Meat is also a major source of biotin and pantothenic acid, and five of the B-complex vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Seafood and dairy both have vitamin D, which most plant foods lack. Some fish are rich in calcium and phosphorus, and are also a great source of iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium and potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, and some even have vitamin A.
Yet, there is one micronutrient that researchers aren’t sure you’d get enough of: vitamin C, which is otherwise extremely easy to obtain from fruits and vegetables. One of vitamin C’s roles in the body is to form collagen, but the good news is that with the amount of amino acids obtained from a large consumption of meat can get the same job done. More importantly, you need to make the effort to eat a diverse range of animal foods. NOT just ribs and steaks!! The more diverse the more micronutrients you will be giving your body and less health issues will emerge. Take this opportunity to take advantage and try foods such as Bone Broth and Lyfe Collagen.
What About Athletes?
I am a lifestyle athlete and sustaining a proper macronutrient and micronutrient life style is without a doubt crucial for our overall health & fitness. Well, science has shown that not only it is possible to work out on a low-carb diet, you can even perform at an elite level. Now taking away all carbs and all plant foods can sound outrageously crazy… Yet, as I have done my own research, I have found that many carnivore dieters have reported obtaining their best gains of their lives on this type of diet. Truth is, there is not enough evidence on how a long-term carnivore diet may affect athletes. On the other hand, on a short term I can tell you myself it does work!
Now, if you’re an intermittent sport athlete, competing or an athlete that requires high output for 60–120 seconds, this type of diet might be very challenging when you’re not eating any carbs. Then again, there are people who have adapted really well, and their performance improved tremendously. Remember, every person is different and as with any diet, you’ll have to try it for yourself first and see what happens. If you find that your workouts are suffering, then take it easy and have some carbohydrates. Another way to approach this carnivore diet is by first starting with the keto diet and slowly transition to the carnivore diet.
In fact, this is what I did: I transitioned from a keto diet to a carnivore diet with the help of Lyfe Fuel, the perfect Keto-Nootropic supplement that is a fast-acting, readily available, carbohydrate-free fuel source, containing exogenous ketones for muscles and brain. Why? because with the keto diet, you train your body to be in ketosis. When you transition to the carnivore diet, you remain in ketosis. Therefore, whether you are pursuing the carnivore diet or the keto diet or no diet at all, if you want immediate and sustained energy throughout the day and/or throughout your workouts, Lyfe Fuel is the way to go!
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So, if you want to give a head start to this popular trend then don’t forget that a strict animal diet implies no alcohol (no more martinis or tequila shots), no avocados (good-bye taco Tuesday), no carbs (no more delicious sweet potato), no fruits (bye-bye acai bowls) … You can bend the rules and have your cheat days, but then you’re not really doing the diet, are you?
Be a healthy dinosaur, be strong, be fit, be happy, and don’t be a cheater. 😃
The information presented is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor is it a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice.
This publication is presented for information purposes, to increase the public knowledge of developments in the field of overall health, strength and conditioning.
The program outlined herein should not be adopted without a consultation with your health professional.
Use of the information provided is at the sole choice and risk of the reader. You must get your physician’s approval before beginning this or any other exercise or nutrition program. This information is not a prescription. Consult your doctor, nutritionist or dietician for further information.