Top 10 Benefits of the Carnivore Diet
Eating nothing but meat is the only rule that needs to be followed in the carnivore diet. As more and more people report experiencing various health benefits with the carnivore diet, it still faces many controversies.
Though it may sound like the latest trend, the carnivore diet is a diet that was followed by our ancestors. The human race evolved from eating raw and cooked meat. In those olden days, plant food was the least consumed. Meat foods are highly nutritious and carry numerous health benefits.
Zero-carb and all meat diet to improve your health, is it worth it? This article will explain the science behind those surprising health benefits if you have the same question and concerns about the carnivore diet. We will explore the top 10 health benefits of a carnivore diet, and any associated risks as well. Let us understand the carnivore diet better and why it is worth considering.
Top 10 Health Benefits of the Carnivore Diet
Eating only meat may sound extreme to you, but it has its own advantages that can be supported by research.
1. Helps in Weight Loss
Undoubtedly your diet choices play a significant role in the management of your weight. This has given rise to many popular fad diets recommending calorie restrictions and controlling portion sizes. Unfortunately, many are controversial. Carnivore diet or high-fat diet has recently gained traction that has given greater importance to carbohydrates’ restriction than fats.
The carnivore diet indeed is one of the best weight-loss diets. In fact, a study was conducted to evaluate the effects of a high-fat diet. The study revealed that despite high fat and cholesterol intake, plasma cholesterol levels remained unchanged, and there was significant weight loss in test subjects.
The ideal way to lose weight is to eat quality food, reduce added sugar and junk food, and drink enough water. The carnivore diet is the perfect blend of all these factors that helps you achieve your weight loss goals.
Two main reasons for weight gain is a persistent increase in insulin that locks up your body fat and processed food that makes you crave more food. Carnivore diet helps you overcome these issues. It maintains healthy insulin levels, and with the high protein, it makes you feel full, thus reducing your intake of junk food.
So, carnivore diet helps to lose weight mainly by;
- Apatite regulation – as it makes you feel full.
- Removal of food cravings – thus reduces frequent intake of unhealthy snacks.
A recent study demonstrated that high protein diets – either rich or restricted red meat intake could effectively reduce body weight. It also says a carnivore diet can improve body composition and cardiometabolic health.
Summary: Carnivore diet regulates your appetite and reduces the intake of unhealthy food. With quality nutrients, it helps you reach your weight loss goal healthily.
2. Improves Your Heart Health
Standard diet recommendations advised limiting meat intake to reduce the risk of heart diseases. A few decades ago, high content of saturated fat and cholesterol were believed to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. But recent advances have indicated that saturated fat does not increase the risk of heart diseases; instead, they have cardioprotective properties.
The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a 2020 study, has clearly mentioned that saturated fat does not increase the risk of heart diseases or mortality. Several other studies have shown that lean red meat is not detrimental to blood lipids. Also, meat can be successfully included in recommended heart-healthy dietary patterns.
Though we still lack enough evidence to support the cardioprotective properties of the carnivore diet, there is no evidence to say it’s harmful either. A long term belief based on some observational studies had pushed the carnivore diet out from healthy food options. But, with recent advances, it’s becoming clear that the carnivore diet is a staple food and, in moderation, can bring beneficial effects to your heart.
Summary: Latest advances are throwing light on the beneficial effects of saturated fat. Few studies say it can improve your heart health; still, more research is needed in this regard.
3. Reduces Inflammation
A high-carb, low-fat diet brings excellent improvement in blood lipids and systemic inflammation. Studies say that a meat diet can significantly improve the blood markers of inflammation, thus reducing inflammation, especially obesity-related inflammation.
Brian St. Pierre of nutrition at Precision Nutrition says that choline present in the carnivore diet produces betaine, which lowers homocysteine levels. This results in a reduced risk of inflammation, strokes, and heart diseases.
Following an unhealthy diet like consuming more carb, sugar, and refined flour may increase C-reactive protein levels. This indicates severe infection or chronic disease. Being aware of lifestyle habits and eating quality food can reduce inflammation.
Meat and fish are rich sources of omega3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Studies say they are considered a safer alternative to NSAIDs to manage severe infections causing pain such as neck or back pain.
If you have any food sensitivity like gluten sensitivity, choosing a carnivore diet may make you feel better. Also, switching to a carnivore diet may make your inflammation disappear.
Summary: Carnivore diet is a nutrient-dense quality food, which reduces homocysteine levels and inflammatory markers. It is a high-fat diet that can benefit various chronic health conditions.
4. Improves Fertility
There were many concerns regarding the reproductive health of men who eat beef. But some studies have revealed that a high intake of meat has a positive impact on sperm concentration.
Your diet plays a vital role in endogenous sex hormone metabolism. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, men who followed a high-fat, low-fiber diet have 13 to 15% higher total testosterone than those who eat low fat and high fiber.
Fresh, unprocessed red meat is believed to increase testosterone levels and libido. Generally, sexual dysfunction is experienced by overweight and obese people. Carnivore diet promotes weight loss, thus restores sexual functions.
Another 8 year-long study was conducted on premenopausal women’s diet. It revealed that a high-fat diet decreases infertility risk, whereas a low-fat diet increases the risk.
Essential nutrients that are linked to positive effects on fertility are;
- Vitamin B12
- Folic acid
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Healthy diet
These supplements improve fertility and reduce the risk of developmental abnormalities in the fetus. The carnivore diet is an abundant source of these nutrients, and it helps you to meet your daily needs quickly.
If you are planning to conceive, Harvard Medical School recommends paying attention to your diet and making healthy food choices.
Summary: Carnivore diet is a high-fat diet that improves fertility both in men and women. With a high nutrient-value, it provides all essential nutrients for healthy conception and pregnancy.
5. Supports Digestive Health
We have always been told that eating a high fiber diet is good for digestion, and it reduces constipation. But, in a research study conducted by the World Journal of Gastroenterology, scientists found that eating a high-fiber diet does not improve digestive health; in fact, it may worsen the condition. The final result of this study revealed that reducing dietary fiber intake for people suffering from chronic constipation relieved their symptoms.
From prehistoric times, humans are eating meat, and our body is adapted to meat consumption. With a long small intestine and hydrochloric acid in the stomach, we can easily digest meat proteins. Animal food is a major source of nutrients, and our body is adapted to eat a carnivore diet.
Aspartate, asparagine, glutamate, and glutamine that are present in meat proteins improve human growth and health. Animal nutrition is an essential food for us. Amino acids and glutamine protect the tight junctions of intestinal walls and prevent the occurrence of leaky gut. Beef is an excellent source of glutamine. Glutamine is also believed to reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Summary: Though the carnivore diet lacks fiber, recent reports say fiber is not essential for digestive health. With many significant nutrients, a carnivore diet improves your digestion and relieves digestive issues.
6. Enhances Your Mood
It’s true that the carnivore diet can bring more mental clarity and can enhance your mood. The nutrients present in meat can reduce symptoms of depression.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found more in animal-based food sources. They are essential for our health as they form an integral part of neuronal cell membranes. Omega 3 affects vital processes in the central nervous system and regulates neurotransmission. Omega-3 fatty acids are also considered as either stand-alone or adjunctive treatment for ADHD in children, major depressive disorder, bipolar depression, and PTSD.
Beef liver and other meat food contain a high amount of choline, which is a precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. According to studies, increased choline intake was related to better cognitive performance.
B vitamins are known to have brain-protective functions. In fact, thiamine supplements have been proven to improve mood and fasten the decision-making ability. A carnivore diet is a natural source of these nutrients; hence it helps to improve your mood and cognition.
Summary: Meat is an abundant source of nutrients like choline and thiamine that boost your mood and improve cognition. Carnivore diet can reduce depression symptoms and other psychological issues.
7. Simplifies Your Diet
Simplicity is the unique benefit of a carnivore diet. A simple diet makes a healthy diet, and a carnivore diet is meat without any complicated ingredients. You just need to eat animal-based food when hungry without the fuss of counting calories.
Meat diet is satiating; hence you may end up eating less food. So it will turn out to be cost-effective as well. You get to eat steaks, bacon, and just healthy meat. You don’t have to spend hours thinking or cooking your meal. The carnivore diet is simple, and it simplifies your diet as well as your life.
Summary: With a high nutrient value carnivore diet eliminates all the complicated stuff from your diet plan, giving you a healthy and straightforward solution.
8. Increases Your Energy
Nutrients are essential to fuel up your body. Without sufficient protein, vitamins, and minerals, your body can not gain optimal energy. It may take some time for your body to adapt to a carnivore diet, but it will make you feel like a warrior.
Before the development of agriculture and the modern diet, humans relied on the consumption of a variety of terrestrial and aquatic animals and small amounts of plant foods. Our body became adapted to use protein as a source of energy. But with carbs and fats added to the diet resulted in fat deposition, causing obesity and fatigue. Carnivore food adds more protein to your diet resulting in surplus energy production.
In carnivore diets such as beef, pork, veal, lamb, poultry, and fish are excellent sources of proteins, B vitamins, iron, and zinc. These protein-rich foods have been reported to enhance exercise stamina and positively impact athletic performance. It also reduces post-exercise fatigue, making you feel energetic throughout.
Summary: A meat diet has all the essential nutrients to keep your energy levels high. It can significantly help athletes with increased endurance and better performance.
9. Maintains Better Skin Health
Protein is an integral part of body tissues and organs. It helps in the production of cells, repair, and renewal of tissues. The renewal cycle of the skin is 28 days. Protein and continuous supplementation of nutrients are needed to maintain skin health. Carnivore diet provides vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc, and proteins that significantly improve your skin health.
Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance widely present in meat foods. It has an anti-aging function and is proven to be beneficial for your skin. Also, an active form of vitamin A present in meat helps to maintain skin integrity and skin health.
Omega-3 fats present in meat encourage your body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds, which may help to treat inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Improvement of skin health through diet is a long term process. It takes time for all the nutrients to reach the skin through metabolic processing. The carnivore diet has all essential nutrients, and with a constant supply of these nutrients, it can make your skin glow over time.
Summary: Carnivore diet provides needed proteins, vitamins, coenzyme Q10, and minerals needed for better skin health.
10. Brings Nutritional Balance
A healthy diet needs to be a balanced diet. Generally, to meet your body’s nutritional requirements, you need to consume a variety of food. But a carnivore diet is a complete food with all essential nutrients. Though it is low in vitamin C, it is believed that a low carb diet requires less vitamin c.
Carnivore diet lacks fiber, but as mentioned above, a high-fiber diet is not essential to maintain digestive health. Dr. Shawn Baker, an athlete, a doctor, and the author of “The Carnivore Diet” book, explains that the carnivore diet is a complete nutritional food. He also says that we don’t need any plant food or fiber to achieve optimal health.
We can finally say that you will not experience any nutritional deficiency with a carnivore diet.
Summary: Carnivore diet is a balanced diet with all essential nutrients.
How to Begin Your Journey With a Carnivore Diet?
Before starting a carnivore diet, it is essential to understand that your body will take some time to adjust to this new diet. You may experience fatigue, headaches, and other symptoms, which indicates that your body is getting adapted. Your appetite may fluctuate, making you feel extremely hungry sometimes. Give yourself enough time to adapt to your new way of eating. Get your medical tests done before starting the diet to keep track of your health.
List of foods to eat in the carnivore diet:
- Meat – such as steak, pork, lamb, chicken, and organ meats
- Fish – like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout
- Dairy – butter, cheese, and cream
- Bone marrow
- Condiments – like salt, pepper, spices, and herbs
To follow a carnivore diet, you can eat only animal products. Foods from vegetables, grains, fruits, and nuts are excluded. Eat till you feel full and drink enough water while following the carnivore diet. There are no calorie restrictions or portion control needed in this diet. The carnivore diet has one simple rule, eat animal-based food, and avoid plant foods.
Common Side Effects
Shift to a carnivore diet is a big leap, which means you may experience some nutritional and hormonal changes in your body. While adapting to a low-carb diet following symptoms may be seen:
- Headache, nausea, and lack of focus
- Leg cramps
- Bad breath
These side effects slowly wear off once your body rebalances hormones and energy sources. You can also reduce these symptoms by following some simple rules.
- Eat more meat
- Drink enough fluid
- Add more salt or electrolyte drink to bring balance
- Exercise and sweat more to remove toxins
- Use supplements if needed
Slow down if nothing works out; sometimes, you may need more time to adapt. It’s ok to add some carbs and reduce their intake slowly over time. Understand your body needs and let it adapt slowly.
Can Carnivore Diet be Considered Safe?
The carnivore diet may not be suitable for everyone, especially if you have any underlying medical condition that needs reduced protein intake like kidney diseases. For certain health conditions, a carnivore diet may not be ideal.
Also, a carnivore diet is a highly restrictive diet which needs will power. If you have any anxiety about food, then you should be cautious while following this diet. Being too hard on yourself may disturb your mental peace.
No proper research studies have been conducted entirely on a carnivore diet. Health experts still believe that carnivore diets with high fat can cause cardiac issues. More scientific studies and long-term experiments need to be conducted to get more clarity on the carnivore diet.
If you wish to follow the carnivore diet and have any medical condition, then you should consult your doctor.
The carnivore diet is a highly restrictive diet that encourages you to eat meat only. It is a remarkable step that removes all toxic elements, sugar, and junk food from your diet list. This extreme diet needs a fierce following.
It may sound crazy for some people but may work like wonder for others. There is no harm in trying a carnivore diet to know if it’s right for you.
Be realistic with your health and give a genuine approach to reap all the fantastic benefits that a carnivore diet brings along.
What experts say: