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The Carnivore Diet and Gut Health

2 months ago
The Carnivore Diet and Gut Health

The carnivore diet is getting more popular in recent times, a zero carb, high protein, and high-fat diet that fulfills your needs of all essential nutrients. If you are looking for the right diet and willing to achieve weight loss in a healthy way, then the carnivore diet is the right choice. 

As it’s going to be an extreme diet shift from carb to zero carbs, there might be various reasons for and against this new change. So before you start up your journey, it is essential to know and understand how a carnivore diet affects the functions of your gut.  

This article helps you understand the effect of the carnivore diet on your Gut. 

Carnivore diet, What is it all About? 

It’s straightforward; the carnivore diet is all about eating only meat. Other proteins, such as fish and eggs, are also included. You can do dressing with some spices, butter and sometimes cheese. Strictly no carbs and no plant-based food such as legumes, veggies, grains, or millets.

In diets like the paleo diet and the keto diet, a low amount of carbs are allowed, but there are no carbs in the carnivore diet. 

What is Microbiome?

Our body has 100 trillion microbes; the number of microbes in humans is more than the number of human cells in our body. They live in our gut; specifically, they live in the large intestine. Microbiomes can be defined as the genetic material of all the microbes, namely, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi that live in the human system. A microbiome may weigh around 5 pounds. 

Microbiomes play an important role in the human body. It helps in the digestion of our food, regulates our immune system, and protects against the other bacteria that cause diseases. These microbes help to produce vitamins like B and B12, thiamine and riboflavin, and vitamin K, which are required for blood coagulation

Having a healthy and properly functioning gut is very important. It has been observed that it is vulnerable to diseases directly, and in some cases, it prevents the diseases altogether. Gut functioning can substantially impact overall mood as it helps with fewer intestinal issues, bloating issues, and more consistent energy levels. 

How Does Carb-Diet or Plant-Diet Have an Impact on Gut Functioning?

Generally, we think that plants are a vital source of a wide range of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for your gut functioning directly or indirectly. One cannot deny that plants provide many nutrients and minerals to our body’s metabolism, but we cannot claim that all these nutrients are provided only by plants. We can get all the essential nutrients in the carnivore diet too, with more added health benefits. 

There is a massive demand for organic fortified meat and eggs, which can replace plants because they contain all the essential nutrients for our body. Now you might be wondering, where do we get fiber from a carnivore diet? Fiber is the most crucial nutrient provided by plants. The only source of dietary fiber is in plants, so what to do in a carnivore diet? 

Certain types of fiber are essential for gut bacteria to grow and multiply. Generally, it is believed that by starving these gut bacteria, we would land up with digestive issues.

In the case of a carnivore diet, you need not depend on many of these gut bacteria. Most of these bacteria are necessary to break the carbs and sugar; in a carnivore diet, we do not have carbs or sugar, so you don’t depend on these gut bacteria.  

Another function of the fiber is to increase the production of post-biotic SCFAs(short-chain fatty acids). These are not healthy even in our regular mixed diet because this may lead to many complications. They may function as an anti-inflammatory; they close the holes in the colon; they also help to balance blood sugars. All these are important for regular diets that involve a heavy intake of carbs. 

Now the question arises when SCFAs are very important on a plant diet, plant and animal mixed diet, are they essential in carnivore diet also? It is not as important as it is in the plant diet. Experts suggest that our body would help to turn animal products into SCFAs, yet these results to be confirmed with more research. 

Let’s understand the role of a carnivore diet in gut functioning.

Carnivore Diet and Gut

This might be a bit confusing to you; it’s a common belief that plants are necessary for the growth of gut bacteria. But, there is evidence and studies which suggest that carnivore dieters do not need fiber in their diet. 

In a carnivore diet, we consume only meat and protein sources such as eggs and fish. You do not have plants in your diet, and you are on zero carbs and zero sugar. Hence you might not require many of the gut bacteria for your metabolism. 

With a prebiotic point of view, you might certainly think that you would end up lacking essential bacteria. If needed, you can always opt for a dietary supplement that could help you, and these nutritional supplements will not interfere with your diet.

In a carnivore diet, fiber does not play any role; once your body gets adapted, you would never turn back to a carb diet. The carnivore diet is healthy and natural, to which our system gets adapted quickly. 

The carnivore diet has all the essential nutrients with more health benefits than a plant diet. So, focusing on a few nutrients, which are not so crucial for meat digestion, is not needed. If you still think you require it, you can go for supplements.

Plant diets also do not provide many necessary nutrients compared to a carnivore diet; they are carriers of several toxins, pesticides, and insecticides.

So we can say a carnivore diet is always the best and healthy choice to go with. 

How Bad Can a Carnivore Diet Be? 

Some studies suggest that a heavy meat diet may cause some adverse effects on your gut. Studies also indicated that a meat diet would kill the essential microbiome.

Since carnivore diets do not utilize more bacteria for their digestion, the microbiome would naturally reduce.

Here is a list of things that would happen in your gut;

  • Drastic changes in the microbiome would happen in less than 24 hours
  • Studies suggest that there would be increased growth of inflammatory bacteria such as Alistipes, Bilophila, and Bacteroides

A high-protein, high-fat, and less fiber diet might not be a helpful condition for bacteria to ferment. This condition may produce some inflammatory compounds.

It is possible that your body will be less dependent on fiber and certain bacteria, and those changes that happen would be completely negligible.

What do we do to Support our Gut?

If you are very concerned that your diet does not have fiber and other specific vitamins, then you can always go for good quality health supplements with zero carbs. Although this is not required, just to keep your mind at ease, you can go for it.

Bottom line

The carnivore diet is the best diet with all the essential nutrients. Our ancestors have sustained only on the carnivore diet. Hence our system is already adapted to the carnivore diet. We have inherited the metabolism of our ancestors. 

If you still think you need some nutrients, you can always go with the supplements. Remember, many nutrients are missing in the plant diet too. Adapting to a carnivore diet might just bring some surprising health benefits your way. 

Dr. Rashmi Byakodi is a health and wellness writer who aims to spread awareness about health through her words. With her medical background and a passion for writing, she has been creating health content on various platforms. Dr. Rashmi believes that with the right knowledge and a healthy lifestyle, we can combat many health issues, and she strives to spread the same through her blog posts. 

Find her on LinkedIn, Quora, and Pinterest.

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