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Sep 30

Carnivore diet: Definition, benefits, and risks – Medical News Today

People who follow the carnivore diet eat only meat and other animal-based foods.

This article reviews the foods that are allowed in the carnivore diet and explains how to follow the diet, including a 5-day sample menu.

It also reviews the risks and drawbacks of the diet and asks whether or not it has any benefits.

The carnivore diet consists almost exclusively of animal-based foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, and low lactose dairy. A person following the diet may also use honey, salt, pepper, and zero-carb seasonings.

Other foods such as fruits and vegetables, grains, high lactose dairy, sugars, and plant-based oils are completely excluded from the carnivore diet.

Similar meat-heavy diets, such as ketogenic and Paleolithic diets, limit carbohydrates but do not exclude them altogether.

Dietitians often refer to such diets as low carb, high fat (LCHF) diets, whereas they would categorize the carnivore diet as an animal-sourced foods (ASF) diet.

The carnivore diet is based on the controversial theory that human ancestors long ago ate diets rich in meat. It assumes that human bodies function best when fueled by high levels of protein and fat.

One high profile advocate of the carnivore diet is Shawn Baker, a former orthopedic surgeon.

On his website, he shares some success stories of followers of the carnivore diet. They claim that the diet has benefits such as weight loss, better health, and pain reduction.

However, there is no scientific evidence to back up any of these claims.

In 2017, the New Mexico Medical Board revoked Bakers medical license, citing concerns about his competency.

Advocates of the carnivore diet claim that it has numerous health benefits and helps optimize the bodys natural functions.

Its proponents claim that it can improve:

Many people who decide to try the carnivore diet want to lose weight.

According to an article in the European Journal of Nutrition, low carb diets work on the principle that reduced blood sugar levels cause the body to enter a state of ketosis, or fat burning. This is thought to lead to weight loss.

However, it may be that the carnivore diet works for weight loss in the same way that many other diets do by excluding certain unhealthful foods.

Because the carnivore diet excludes carbs, followers should not eat unhealthful foods such as cakes, pastries, fries, or cookies.

Any healthful eating plan will advise against eating calorie dense foods such as these, which have very little nutritional value.

Cutting them out is likely to encourage weight loss and overall health gains, regardless of whether or not a person follows an animal-based diet.

The restrictive nature of the carnivore diet leaves entire food groups out of a persons diet, thereby excluding most of the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients they provide.

Vegetables, fruits, and grains contain fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion. Research has found that dietary fiber can also protect against colon cancer and colorectal adenoma.

According to some other research, eating red meat and processed meat is associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes.

A further health risk may stem from the type of meat that a person eats.

For example, some meats are high in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol levels in the blood. Research has found that eating a lot of saturated fat over the long-term can increase a persons risk of coronary heart disease.

For people with chronic kidney disease (CKD), following a high protein diet might be especially damaging.

Studies have suggested that limiting protein intake in people with CKD can slow the progression of the condition and delay the need for dialysis therapy.

Limiting variety in the diet could also be particularly dangerous for pregnant or lactating people, whose nutritional needs are unlikely to be met by an ASF diet.

Other unpleasant side effects of ASF and LCHF diets include constipation, headaches, bad breath, and flatulence.

Followers of the carnivore diet vary in what they allow themselves to eat. The core rule of the diet is that a person can only consume foods from animal sources.

At one end of the spectrum, some people eat one type of meat only. At the other end, people include a variety of meat and certain dairy products in their diet.

The following sections will look at which foods to include and which foods to avoid.

A person following the carnivore diet might consume:

Some followers also consume salt, pepper, and other seasonings that do not contain carbs.

Honey is not allowed in a strict carnivore diet, but some proponents include it because it comes from an animal source, despite being high in glucose.

Any foods that do not come from animal sources are excluded from the carnivore diet. These include:

For people who wish to try the carnivore diet, here is a 5-day sample menu:

The carnivore diet may be popular, but it is an extremely restrictive eating regimen with no scientifically supported benefits.

It may produce fast results such as weight loss, but many people will probably find it difficult to stick to over the long-term.

Excluding entire food groups as part of the carnivore diet might lead to malnutrition.

People interested in trying a high protein diet may want to consider a Paleolithic and ketogenic diet instead.

Proponents of these diets claim that the benefits are similar to those of a purely carnivorous diet. Paleolithic and ketogenic diets also have fewer restrictions and have several potential science-backed health benefits.

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Carnivore diet: Definition, benefits, and risks - Medical News Today

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