Why Are People Moving From a Vegan Diet to a Carnivore Diet?
A plant-based diet and a vegan diet is commonly followed worldwide. But there is a gradual increase in the number of people opting for a carnivore diet or a meat diet.
The carnivore diet is completely opposite to the vegan diet. It advises to cut out all plant foods and only eat meat and animal products. A carnivore diet is a zero carb diet.
So, Why do people opt for a carnivore diet over a vegan? What are the advantages and side effects when you shift yourself to a carnivore?
This post is going to answer this question and explore the benefits of the carnivore diet. Let’s dive in!
Why is Meat Important?
The carnivore diet is based on the theory that eating meat is natural because our ancestors had a meat-based diet optimally. Experts suggest that there is no evidence or any recorded civilization in history that has survived on a vegan diet from born to death.
According to Dr. Georgia Ede, a nutrition consultant and a massive advocate for low-carb dieting, there’s no record of civilization in history that has survived on a vegan diet from childhood to death.
However, there are several examples throughout history of people of different geographical, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds who’ve existed on mainly meat diets for generations. The most common example is the Inuits, who traditionally lived on a highly meat-centric diet with minimal berries and greens.
Scientists also hypothesize that a meat-based diet helps the human brain to grow and it helped to increase intellect compared to other apes. For example, the gorilla survives on a raw vegan diet eating for up to 12 hours a day, but it is not as intelligent as humans. Their brains are much smaller and have fewer neurons.
This difference could be attributed to nutrients like Vitamin D, zinc, iron, and others mostly found in animal foods, vital for brain growth.
Nutritional Benefits of a Carnivore Diet
The only absolute necessities in the human diet are fats, proteins, and specific amounts of minerals and vitamins, which you can get in abundance by eating an all-meat diet. Vitamin B12, in particular, is a nutrient that lacks in a vegan diet since it’s only available in animal foods. The body needs Vitamin B12 to make DNA, red blood cells, nerves, and other essential functions.
Vegans are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, leading to severe blood diseases and neurological problems. Other symptoms include:
- Difficulty walking and balance problems
- Strange sensations
- Memory loss
During an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Dr. Joel Kahn, a cardiologist and a vegan activist, and Chris Kresser, a scientist, debated whether the vegan diet provides all essential nutrients. Kresser noted that vegan diets lack many nutrients that meat contains, and surprisingly, Kahn agreed, saying that he advises vegans to mind their supplementation.
Vegans may suffer from nutritional deficiency, this is because many essential nutrients are not present in plant diet; hence they may be advised with supplements in the long run. But supplementing nutrients presents a different set of challenges. The body might fail to process nutrients from supplements. Some supplements are also known to have serious side effects like nausea, vomiting, kidney stones, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, depression, and heart disease.
Over-consumption can also exceed your body’s tolerance for oxalate resulting in oxalate accumulation in different body parts. This can lead to impaired thyroid function, kidney stones, and if it accumulates on the breast, it may lead to cancer.
Studies suggest that meat has higher nutritional and bioavailability than plants. Bioavailability refers to the number of nutrients consumed in a diet that is absorbed and utilized by your body. Plants have a rigid cell wall, which makes metabolism a bit difficult.
Polyphenols also interfere with mineral absorption in the intestines. Iron in meat can be absorbed easily compared to the iron in plant foods; that’s why iron intake recommendation is higher for vegans. This helps us to understand that a vegan diet does not provide all the necessary nutrients to our body.
However, this isn’t to say that eating vegetables makes them fatal, but following a vegan diet leads to several side effects and nutritional deficiency.
If you’re planning to switch from a vegan to a carnivore diet, you might want to try eliminating all vegetables in your diet for at least thirty days. This vegetable fast will help your autoimmune system and gut microbiome recover from the damage the plant diet has caused, clear your system, and prevent harmful bacteria from developing in your gut.
The Carnivore Diet has No Carbs
Carbohydrates are virtually sugars, so when we eat carbs, they get broken down into fructose, glucose, or a combination of the two and stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver as a fuel source. The excess carbs are stored as fat, which is long-term energy storage.
The primary source of carbohydrates comes from plants, as animal meat contains virtually no carbs.
The carnivore diet in its strictest form contains zero carbohydrates, while a vegan diet is loaded with carbs.
High carbohydrate intake will result in increased glucose levels (blood sugar) in your body. Insulin is produced by your body to utilize the glucose, but a constant increase in the glucose levels would make insulin resistant. This is caused by refined carbs, recent studies show that even ‘healthy carbs’ from plants can result in insulin resistance, increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Carbohydrate consumption is also the leading cause of obesity and inflammation. Since insulin plays a significant role in how the body utilizes glucose, any interference with its function can result in weight gain.
The carnivore diet eliminates weight gain, inflammation, and insulin resistance issues as it is a zero carb and high protein diet. The restriction of carbs on the carnivore diet helps maintain low blood sugar levels, prevent insulin spikes, and help lose weight and stay healthy.
When on a carnivore diet, your body goes into ketosis, a metabolic process of using fat instead of carbs as the primary source of energy. Ketosis has tons of benefits, including:
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Lower inflammation
- Alleviates mood and has an antidepressant effect
- Appetite regulation
- Improved sleep quality
- Increases fat loss while preserving performance and lean muscle mass
- Increased endogenous production of antioxidants
Other Factors Contributing to the Vegan to Carnivore Diet Switch
- Increased risk of a leaky gut: Since a vegan diet eliminates all animal protein forms, vegans have to depend on legumes for their protein needs. Legumes contain high anti-nutrients such as phytates and lectins, which can cause intestinal leakage; intestines allow the contents to leak, whereas animal protein doesn’t have anti-nutrients and improves digestion.
- Risk of eating disorders: Vegans have to be more nutritionally aware to ensure adequate nutrition intake. While this may seem healthy, it can cause you to be overly fixated and obsessed with healthy eating patterns. This disorder is referred to as orthorexia.
Carnivore diet, on the other hand, is a simple diet that’s easy to follow and sustain. You don’t have to count calories, and there’s less risk of straying away from whole foods, which is a big concern for vegans.
- Increased risk of depression: Due to increased intake of omega-6 fatty acids from plant foods such as nuts and lack of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils or fish, vegans are at a higher risk of depression.
Although some vegans supplement with algae-based omega-3, these sources are hard to find and can be expensive. A 2018 study examining the impact of diet on depression found that depressive symptoms were higher in vegans and vegetarians than meat-eaters.
Ex-vegan dieters, who had a negative experience on the vegan diet, have realized the immense benefits of adopting a carnivore diet. There’re many testimonials from people who switched to the carnivore diet.
Some of the changes they’ve noticed include weight loss, improved digestion, energized throughout the day and carb cravings disappear in no time. A carnivore diet is the best way to stay nutritionally healthy and fit with loaded health benefits.