7 Reasons the Carnivore Diet is Unhealthy and What to Try Instead
- #1. Carnivore diets increase LDL and heart disease risk
- #2. Carnivore diet may turn on cancer pathways
- #3. Carnivore diets are not always ketogenic
- #4. Carnivore diet burdens the liver and kidneys
- #5. Carnivore diet and urinary tract infections
- #6. Carnivore diet and gut health
- #7. Carnivore diet and gout
- Alternatives to the carnivore diet
- Key takeaways
As unfortunate as it may be, there is no stop shop diet that will guarantee results for every individual who undergoes its process. Sad, isn’t it? Well, not necessarily. This means no one is alike when it comes to dietary change because factors like environment and genetics, amongst numerous more, determine personal approaches to sustainable diets for the individual.
Don’t let this get you down though, because there are universal, overarching principles of healthy eating that almost all of us can live by. Avoid refined grains and sugar. Don’t eat trans fats. Stick to a gluten-free diet if you are diagnosed with celiac disease or a wheat sensitivity. And last, don’t overdo it with animal protein.
But what does it mean to “overdo it” with animal protein? Clearly, we all have different requirements, but a good rule of thumb is to eat no more animal protein than needed to maintain muscle mass.
Advocates of the carnivore diet, which is an all meat and eggs diet that excludes all plant foods, cast this logic aside and instead love to list the toxins found in plants. Oxalates! Phytic acid! Lectin! Glyphosate!
And yes, some of us are sensitive to certain species of plants, and when we are, we should avoid eating them. Dietitians often recommend excluding some plant foods when they place clients on Low FODMAP diets. However, as we will learn in this post, the idea that all plants are unhealthy is demonstrably false and meat does not come free of its own toxic burden, especially when eaten to excess.
The carnivore diet offers little consumption guidelines for participants other than favoring animal products in the diet. With no margins for the diet, it goes without saying that the diet likely is not as healthy as it is posed.
Let’s list the reasons why.
#1. Carnivore diets increase LDL and heart disease risk
One of the unfortunate messages spread by many low carb communities is that LDL isn’t causal in heart disease. This advice flies directly in the face of the best research and position papers from organizations like the European Atherosclerosis Society, which takes the exact opposite position.
Although the role of sugar in contributing to heart disease has been downplayed for years, and dietary fat has gotten a bad rap, eating saturated fat raises LDL in all people, the only issue is by how much. In many people on an all meat, very high saturated fat diet, a carnivore protocol will raise LDL to unhealthy levels.
And despite what you may have heard at your recent low carb conference, elevated LDL (and really APOB) contributes to both cardiovascular and all-cause mortality risk.
Consider this massive study which appeared in JAMA: after reviewing 34 clinical trials looking at more than 270,000 patients, more aggressive lowering of LDL-C was found to reduce risk of all cause mortality (not just heart disease deaths) when compared to less aggressive treatment.
BUT the all-cause mortality risk reduction was only found when LDL-C started at >100 mg/dl. Greatest benefit was found for those who started at >160 mg/dl and dropped aggressively. In other words, people with what would be considered pretty “bad” lipid profiles by most people had the most to gain by lowering LDL-C.
Perhaps the goal of 50 mg/dl LDL-C is not necessary, but I don’t think the low carb crowd headed to bed each night with an LDL-P count of 2,000 should sleep all that soundly either.
#2. Carnivore diet may turn on cancer pathways
Scientists have studied the in vitro impact of various fruit compounds on liver cancer cells. Many of them significantly inhibit the growth of the cancer cells.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. But not all amino acids are created equal. Unfortunately, the carnivore diet offers a steady mega-dose of some of the “bad guy” amino acids which have been linked to increased risk for certain diseases, such as cancer.
Researchers like Valter Longo at USC have published extensive research showing how the amino acid composition of animal protein turns on cancer pathways in the body by increasing levels of a hormone known as insulin like growth factor one, or IGF-1. To quote from one of Dr, Longo’s research papers:
In humans, protein restriction (PR) has been associated with reduced cancer, diabetes, and overall mortality. Thus, interventions aimed at lowering the intake of proteins or specific amino acids can be beneficial and have the potential to be widely adopted and effective in optimizing health span.
To date, several studies have shown decreased age-related pathologies and lifespan extension through the modulation of protein intake. Low protein diets have been demonstrated to reduce spontaneous tumor formation, as well as in mimicking the effects of calorie restriction in improving renal function. In the past few decades it has also been demonstrated that protein restriction or restriction in tryptophan or methionine, can extend longevity.
The bottom line here is that consuming large daily doses of the pro-inflammatory amino acids found in animal proteins is not a great idea.
If you trust in Dr. Longo’s work, then consuming animal protein exclusively makes very little sense. But it is not just Dr. Longo who has published data on meat consumption, amino acid balance and cancer. Aaron, our team’s head of research and geneticist, dug up this study which links an excess of animal protein to cancer: Leucine (amino acid typically found in meats) induces resistant breast cancer. 7
No one is that eating meat equals cancer all the time. More so, eating nothing but meat for years can potentially increase the cancer risk for some people.
But even this study, which casts doubt on the link between eating red meat and colon cancer, offers as its explanation a diet that is abnormally high in meat and lacking in plant compounds as the reason for what it sees as an overstated link between colon cancer and red meat consumption.
To quote the study:
Experiments where protective dietary compounds were used to mitigate the extreme levels of meat and meat-derived compounds showed protection against colon cancer, with some essentially negating the impact of meat in the diet.
Can you guess what those protective compounds are? (Vitamin A, chlorophyll and resistant dietary starches).
Same result for this bladder cancer and meat study. These studies indicate that cancer risk may be mitigated by meat plus fiber intake. Ironically, carnivores eschew even leafy greens, which precludes the possibility of gaining the protective advantage of plant compounds described in several studies.
#3. Carnivore diets are not always ketogenic
Regardless of what you may think about the health benefits of ketosis, the subject isn’t always relevant to the carnivore diet.
The carnivore diet often includes too much protein to be a ketogenic diet. When the body takes in more protein than it needs, the excess is disposed of through the liver (which we will get to in a minute) but also through a process known as Gluconeogenesis, where protein is converted by the body into glucose.8
The process of Gluconeogenesis is what prevents many carnivore dieters from reaping the benefits of ketosis.
#4. Carnivore diet burdens the liver and kidneys
When we eat protein, the body breaks down the nitrogen molecules and turns them into ammonia, which is then processed by the liver into something called urea, which goes through the kidneys on its way out of the body as urine.
This process is known as the urea cycle. To break down the nitrogen in protein, the body uses a series of enzymes which are coded for specific genes. For example, the CPS1 gene makes an enzyme that represents the first step in the urea cycle. Children born with reduced urea cycle function end up very sick with ammonia toxicity.9
This Harvard Health blog post does a nice job explaining how variants in urea cycle function may play an important role in how adults respond to high protein diets:
Urea cycle disorders are viewed as rare and primarily pediatric conditions, but there might be a whole range of unrecognized, genetically determined problems with protein metabolism experienced by adults. Some people may have mild mutations that compromise a gene’s function and cause slight symptoms. This may explain why one person eschews meat while another loves nothing more than a steak meal. Defects in protein metabolism may also explain why some people have bad reactions to high-protein diets like [very low carb diets].
Clearly, people with genetic variants in the urea cycle pathway (which are common, 33% of people have at least one copy of the risk allele for CPS1) will have major problems on the carnivore diet.
Ammonia, a known neurotoxin, will pool in their body, leading to a range of different health problems over time. However, even people with a strong urea cycle may eventually become overloaded with ammonia after eating nothing but large portions of meat for months and years on end. Ammonia is an inevitable waste product of protein metabolism. It’s something the body needs to clean up, the question becomes: how much ammonia can your body clear before your liver and kidneys are damaged? As with histamine, no two people will be exactly the same.
#5. Carnivore diet and urinary tract infections
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have published some excellent research showing that E. Coli, a pathogenic strain of bacteria responsible for most urinary tract infections, grows best in acidic urine. Without an acidic environment, E. Coli can’t get the iron it needs to survive and thrive.
How does this impact on the carnivore dieters? The flood of meat eaten on the carnivore diet will rapidly create an acidic environment in the body and urine. In women, this will create the perfect conditions for E. Coli to thrive. In men, the acidity of urine plays a role in prostate health and the likelihood of developing prostatitis. The Central European Journal of Urology published a study which showed that most cases of prostatitis in young men were actually fungal infections brought to the urogenital region by, you guessed it, E. Coli. One of the protocols the researchers used was potassium citrate because it alkalizes the urine.
The carnivore diet has the potential to create an acidic environment perfect for urinary tract infections and prostate inflammation in women and men respectively.
#6. Carnivore diet and gut health
The carnivore diet could damage the colon and degrade gut health. In fact, changes to the microbiome eating nothing but meat could colonize the gut with bacteria that increase the risk for heart disease. Animal protein is high in L-Carnitine, a type of amino acid. The New England Journal of Medicine has published a study which demonstrates certain strains of bacteria turn carnitine, as well as choline in eggs, into TMAO, a compound that has been shown to damage the arteries. Not everyone who eats meat will have high TMAO levels, however, an unhealthy microbiome combined with a constant supply of red meat at every meal,could result in the perfect storm for TMAO to get out of hand.
There are many sound reasons to eat fiber, with one of the most important being the impact fiber rich foods can have on the microbiome. When we eat complex carbohydrates like yams, broccoli, rolled oats, apples, and other plant foods, the plant matter ferments in the colon, which is a good thing. It’s the fermentation process that generates short chain fatty acids, like butyrate, which lines and protects the gut wall while also providing the body energy. By removing all fiber from the diet and eating only meat, you increase the likelihood two things will happen:
- Your microbial diversity will suffer and;
- Some of that flesh will putrefy in the gut which can break down the gut wall and increase the risk for cancer of the colon in the future.
Don’t believe the science?
The study above from Texas A&M, was designed to push back on the link between red meat and colon cancer, but their reason for doing so was that plant foods consumed with meat are protective.
There is also a meta-analysis examining the link between colon cancer and red meat consumption. The evidence shows an increased risk for colon cancer and none of these studies look at a diet that is exclusively composed of red meat. The carnivore diet is potentially bad for the microbiome, increases the risk of intestinal permeability, and may increase colon cancer risk.
The mechanism seems to be undigested meat, which then ferments in the colon, leading to increased ammonia production and strains of bacteria that produce histamine.13
This NPR Article does a nice job summarizing the findings of a study that appeared in the Journal Nature. The study looked at the short term impact on the microbiome of a meat heavy diet vs. a diet that included much more plant fiber. The meat heavy diet was very similar to the carnivore diet and it altered the microbiome for the worse in just two days. In particular, bacterial species that feed on bile, called Bilophila, started to colonize the guts of the group following carnivore diet protocol. Bilophila bacteria, like Candida, aren’t necessarily “bad.” However, when they take over the gut as they are prone to do on extreme diets, that’s where problems can begin. Studies have linked Bilophila to colitis in mice. 14
See also: Can undigested protein contribute to leaky gut?
#7. Carnivore diet and gout
As mentioned in a recent post from Gene Food on lowering uric acid, many leading physicians now seem to believe that gout is a condition marked by an excess of sugar, alcohol, and most recently, meat in the diet.
Vegans often have high uric acid, so this isn’t exclusively a carnivore issue. 15
However, beef, shellfish, and poultry are all high in purine, a crystal-like compound in food that creates uric acid when it’s broken down in the body. A diet very high in purine can lead to gout and kidney stones as levels of uric acid accumulate to unhealthy levels. Further, elevated uric acid is also one of the primary causes of joint pain. The condition, known as “gouty arthritis,” is marked by the formation of crystal compounds in joints, commonly causing pain in the big toes, feet and elbows.
Alternatives to the carnivore diet
Food sensitivities are growing at a rapid rate in America, and dietary changes can be the key to feeling better. If you feel better on a carnivore diet, you’re probably not imagining it. You’ve cut something out of your diet your body didn’t like, and the absence of that irritant has improved your health in the short term.
However, this doesn’t mean that a carnivore diet is the only way you can be healthy. It also doesn’t mean the carnivore diet won’t take a year, two, or even ten to do some bad things to your health.
But before “throwing in the towel,” and going on a carnivore diet, a more traditional elimination diet is worth a shot. By isolating foods that most commonly cause problems one by one, you can get to the bottom of food sensitivities without being forced to take the extreme measure of eating nothing but meat everyday.
Traditional elimination diet
Many people arrive at the carnivore diet after experiencing years of digestive distress, or even suffering from a diagnosed condition like Crohn’s disease. They have an idea that food can be a trigger, but are often confused as to which foods are the culprit.
A traditional elimination diet, where common allergens like corn, wheat, soy, and dairy are strictly removed from the diet and then reintroduced one at a time, could be helpful. Dr. Will Cole offers a traditional elimination diet course at the Mind Body Green website. I’ve also benefited from the elimination diet outlined in the book Clean by Dr. Alejandro Junger.
Fasting mimicking diets
If you’re suffering from multiple food sensitivities, and are looking for a protocol backed by an abundance of clinical research, it may be worthwhile to explore the fasting mimicking diet. Companies like Prolon have created kits that help people plan a fast according to the research of Dr. Valter Longo, a longevity researcher at the University of Southern California whose research on autoimmune disease, cancer, and longevity is extensive and well respected.
Food sensitivity tests
The evidence for traditional food sensitivity tests isn’t extensive. However, it’s certainly healthier to try to address a manageable list of foods you could be sensitive to rather than just eating red meat at every meal as carnivore diet advocates suggest.
KBMO Diagnostics offers a new testing protocol called the FIT test which is designed to help identify true food sensitivity. This would be a test I would run and follow as a carnivore diet alternative.
A plant forward diet is a healthy option for a lot of people, but it may not be sustainable for everyone. This does not mean turning to the other extreme is beneficial either.
However, this doesn’t mean that we can throw the baby out with the bath water.
Plant based science is imperfect but voluminous.
Carnivore literature is few and far between.
The research challenging the role of red meat as a cancer causing agent does so because of evidence indicating that eating meat alongside chlorophyll rich plants has a protective effect.
Cut out or reduce gluten intake. Stop eating grains or focus 100% whole grain foods. No or limited sugar. Heck, remove lectins. Drill down on food sensitivities.
Just don’t go carnivore. Not unless you are 100% sure this is an intervention you need to maintain good health and have discussed it with a medical professional.
Ugh, another “expert” complaining about cholesterol… Nevermind the fact that our bodies manufacture it and are comprised of it and transport it all the time. Some of these studies are also laughable. Just look at who is funding them; the companies making the drugs that lower cholesterol. LOL…
Recommend readers check other sources like Dr. Paul Mason, Dr. Paul Saladino, Dr. Ken Berry, Dr. Rob Cywes and so many others challenging the conventional wisdom on this subject. I have seen people reverse chronic health conditions with a carnivore diet, where vegan and vegetarianism did nothing or, in some cases, made things worse. That having been said, there is no “perfect human diet” folks… Everyone is wired a little differently and so, naturally, carnivore may not be optimal for everyone, just as plant-based won’t be optimal for everyone… Certainly more research needs to be done and it is true we are lacking in the carnivore side of things at this point (to a certain degree). While no major, specific studies have been done, that does not mean there is no science behind it and with literally hundreds of thousands of anecdotal information suggesting the exact same benefits and results, this is something that doctors and researchers need to start paying attention to.
The negative of an article like this is that, on a topical glance, it looks “smart” and even convincing to a degree. There are links to research papers, but most people have no clue how to read those, so they just go, “wow, this guy points right to the evidence, so it must be true.” There appears to be a lot of manipulation of this evidence occurring (obviously bent towards the author’s opinion), not necessarily as some kind of evil plot, but just the result of piecing together bits of data without a holistic review of all the actual evidence in spectrum. The author admits he is not a fan of carnivore… That actually speaks volumes. He is cherry-picking the evidence (and ignoring other information) and arranging it in a way that fits his bias, so that’s expected… and also actually makes it less convincing to someone like myself. I would love to see him directly address counter-points with a doctor who has experience with these topics (from the carnivore perspective) and then debunk them if he can. We would certainly get a more honest and telling examination of the subject.
No one is talking about cholesterol, this has nothing to do with cholesterol. The focus in serious lipid circles is APOB. In some people, a carnivore, or high fat diet will blow out their APOB count, which increases risk over time. It’s not at all a manipulation to warn people that red flag biomarkers like APOB can shoot up on these extreme diets. For 99% of the population, the carnivore diet is a disaster. Massive JAMA studies are laughable? The European Atherosclerosis Society is laughable and we should watch Paul Saladino YouTube instead? No. Thank. You.
Life is to short even if we live to be 100. Food is also a great pleasure. The carnivore diet is to limiting for me. I love vegetables, a little organic dairy meat and a small amount of whole grains and fruit. I have no problems on this diet. I have seen many people recover their health on a raw food vegan diet. But long term, the vegan raw food diet is not for me.
On SNPedia it lists the risk alelle as T, not G. (ClinVar Risk rs12740374(T;T)
I don’t know much about it but what i saw with my own eyes is my friend used to be on 4 medications, blood pressure, metforim and some other ones, had bad tests results, everything high, then moved toward keto/ carnivore and was taken off meds and numbers are down. Moved to Mexico to retire!! I think what you believe about something attracts that to you so yeah for the writer…don’t eat carnivore…it might kill u since your convinced of it!!!
Yeah, that’s a lot of nonsense in 1 article.
The carnivore diet seems to be unhealthy in people that never tried it and very healthy in people that eat it.
I measure my ketone levels with a blood sample, and know that the Carnivore diet is extremely ketogenic – The Carnivore diet isn’t about eating red meat – It’s about eating animals and for some about eating the produce of animals(e.g. Eggs) Consequently it is a high (healthy) fat diet with moderate protein and near zero carbs.
I have also suffered from gout – through various diet trials I found that a diet high in fructose gave me the worst case of gout!! – What was I eating – apples and grapes. These two appear healthy but are high in fructose. Eating meat (i.e. animal based diet) has reduced my inflammatory response significantly and joints that used to get stiff are now very mobile (I’m 56 years old btw)
Auto-immune diseases? – Sorry that doesn’t fly – Too many anecdotal statements of evidence to the contrary for that to be true
And – well the rest of this article is down some rabbit-hole of bias thinking it’s not worth commenting on.
The question should be – Are you a scientist or not? A scientist will change their mind based on new facts/information.
When you started with the cholesterol patter my eyes rolled and I checked out. You need to check in with actual peers in cardiology from America, Britain, New Zealand, Australia, India… about the cholesterol “myth”. They can and will explain to you why LDL goes up on carnivore diet and “why” that isn’t a bad thing. The myth of cholesterol is falling, just like the myth of fat being bad for you. You obviously came at this writing as a skeptic and with conclusions established and wrote to meet both. It is also obvious that you did zero parallel study on lipids, oxalates, insulin, or anything that would disrupt your line of the status quo and detract from getting pats on the back from “your” peers to further your standing. Job security might factor in your assessment, or just a pitiful education in medicine based on numbers and prescriptions. Grow a set and do what’s right.
Randy, cholesterol and APOB are two separate issues. If LDL goes up on carnivore concordant with APOB, it IS a bad thing.
3 years ago I would have believed this page as I was embarking on a plant and reduced lean meat diet to help with psoriasis that Ive had for 20 years.
Now? Not a chance. 3 years of a strict high vegetable, low meat, low fat diet steeped in all the conventional diet wisdom of our culture (grunt, grunt, plant good, meat bad, grunt, grunt) and I was still red skinned as ever, sore as ever and depressed as ever.
I saw Jordan Peterson’s podcast and scoffed…. then I said to myself, “What have I got to lose….” and tried the carnivore diet.
I’m 3 months in. It’s the best I’ve felt since my teens and early 20s. My skin is 80% cleared, I feel blissful and my joints feel good.
On all the forums I was on discussing plant based diets to heal disease, the success rate was very low. The carnivore success rate is through the roof.
I have other friends trying the diet after they saw my success, helping with autoimmune issues, depression, and even mental illness SUCCESSFULLY.
Do your own research. Try it for at least 2 months. (especially cause the adaptation period is hard) I doubt youll be disappointed.
Thanks for the comment Brian. What is your protocol? All red meat? Have you had any blood work done?
My protocol is pretty much beef, Himalayan pink salt and water. Once a week I may have a few eggs and some bacon. Occasionally I dissolve one of those gatorlytes electrolyte packs into water and drink it for potassium and magnesium, especially if I get muscle cramping after strenuous work. That’s about it. I avoid supplement pills due to all the plant based binders and such that are used to keep the pill together. I have a long history of my body not digesting plants well. Even when I was eating tons of them before the carnivore diet. Tons of gas. I now have near no gas.
I’m waiting till the 1 year mark till I get some blood work done. All the blood work results that I’ve researched online didn’t look too bad. Sure the cholesterol was elevated but the HDL was quite high (a good thing) and the triglycerides we’re in the basement. Many carnivore folks willingly post their blood work results online.
I suggest reading Vilhjalmur Stefansson’s book, Fat Of The Land (there are PDFs of it all over the place) and his Adventures In Diet articles.
I would like to second his recommendation that you try the diet yourself before condemning it.
I would also recommend that you go with grass/pasture fed beef. Not just because they’re probably the healthiest cows and will nourish you better, but because I think a lot of the issues we have in the world with pollution are very largely because of our plant-based diet. You can’t turn huge swaths of land into monoculture coated in pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers and expect it to not have an impact (like beepocalypse). Returning our diverse environment would be worth it, not to mention that most of our plants are shipped huge distances, whereas my beef is driven by me from the butcher to my house, so no added carbon footprint for local pasture fed beef.
From my personal experience, everything I was *told* I would experience (constipation, gout, weight gain, etc…) from nutritionists was wrong. Not just wrong, but 180 degrees from what I was told to expect. Joint pain gone (I didn’t have gout), I lost 15 pounds easily (after having fought weight for almost four years), and my bowel movements are dramatically easier than they were before I eliminated plant from my diet.
I think that the nutritionists have been lied to with bad statistics for so long that they don’t even hear a message that disagrees with the “more plant good, more meat bad” message that they don’t even look at anything that could disagree with them. Simple data such as that we’ve reduced our per capita meat calorie consumption since the 1970s, but we’ve become a nation of obese people. Obesity went from something that was so uncommon that I (as a child) only knew a handful (actually 3) of people who were obese – everyone was thin, healthy, and active. Even overweight people seemed incredibly rare. The obese people were never the super obese people we see everywhere today. How can you blame obesity on the thing that you’re consuming *less* of? Seriously, we consume 33% fewer calories from beef than we did in 1970. What sort of meat did we increase our consumption of? Chicken and Turkey, which both *doubled* in consumption… but they’re considered ‘healthy’. Somehow they don’t blame the food (plant foods) that we’ve increased our calorie consumption by 350 calories (to give you a comparison, we consume ~630 calories per day of meat in the 2010s, down from ~700 in 1970s) per day.
Get your own data – don’t trust us… but don’t trust the people that are telling you that the nation is obese and unhealthy because of the meat they’re eating 33% less of and that continuing to increase plant consumption is going to do anything but continue increasing obesity rates.
Thank you for your uninformed and unqualified opinion, “Health Coach.”
No problem, thanks for reading.
The article mentions using the Prolon Fasting Mimicking Diet as a way of dealing with multiple food sensitivities, yet when you look at the ingredients it contains many items high in histamine, oxalates biogenic amines, salycites, yeast, etc. Certainly not ideal for multiple food sensitivities. I’m not advocating a carnivore diet, but one thing that can be said for fresh unprocessed meat and fish it’s it’s pretty much hypoallergenic.
It feels like people like you get paid to hate on red meat. Ask yourself ,why did the Plains Indians were the tallest and healthiest people way back? They ate mainly Buffalo bud! We had to hunt all the buffalo and bring the numbers down just to beat the Natives. Then, you have the Spartans! We all know how strong they were and what did they eat? Mostly wild game meat and made a black blood and guts drink out of their kill. Yes they had barley bread but they also were known to water down their wine and bread was a treat not a meal. I figure they were in ketosis most of the time too. last, we have the Roman soldier. They ate lot’s of meat and even said they marched on a empty stomach! It turns out the poor ate from the ground like cattle and thus sickness brought them down or kept them down. Tell me watt is more healthier then meat,liver,eggs,butter, fat? Nothing! Wheat is grain, Grain is used to fatten up cows! Why,would I need this in my diet? All the plants have compounds in them to define themselves. This is why cows and other herbivores graze and not pick one type of plants and only eat that. Little bit of this and little bit of that. Why does Humans have gallbladders? Why do we have such a little appendix? Why does a Man have a mane, hair all round their necks and head just like a lion? Men that read this, eat your liver and meat rare and quit the plants they are not needed for health. If you get scared of scurvy? Eat a little wild blueberries. This plant wants for you to eat it’s fruit to spread its seed. We should have listen to Mufasa of The Lion King. “When we die our bodies become the grass and the cattle eat the grass, so we are all connected in the circle of life”.
Dose makes the poison, Rick.
The rise of food sensitivities are likely due to several modern lifestyle factors such as exposure to environmental contaminants, overuse of antibiotics, consumption of refined/processed foods, and lack of exposure to healthy bacteria due to hyper-cleanliness. I agree with your article that carnivore diet maybe necessary for some people due to these sensitivities. However, I am concern about the claims that some carnivores make against the “unnaturalness” of more plant-base diets, omnivore or vegetarian, and their advocacy of a very specific therapeutic diet for very specific conditions to the general population. Most of the breaks through in recent nutritional research has been in the field of health-promoting benefits of many photo-nutrients–from lycopene in tomatoes to glucosinolates in broccoli. It would be a shame for people to unnecessarily eliminate these type of foods.
My inflammation levels go down drastically on the carn diet. I’ve tried every diet. It’s the only one that bring my numbers in line without the use of prednisone. I’ve been on humira and stelara and my inflammation levels are tested every few months via blood and calprotectin. Neither worked as well as the carnivore diet. I don’t really understand how meat can be more inflammatory, when an all meat diet makes c reactive protein go from double digits down to about 1. i have no idea what the answer is here. Any plant matter makes it go back up a little (I have a threshold which I can stay under if I’m currently doing well). Any starches like grains, rice, potato, corn, beans, sugar, make it go up almost overnight. If i have a flare up my only option is a day of water fast, a day or two of bone broth, and a week or so of carnivore diet. After that point I can return to a meat and non starch, moderate vegetable diet until I screw up again as long as I don’t overdo it on the vegetables. protein has to stay the highest, fat stays pretty high, just my anecdotal experience.
You make the point that there is almost no data on a carnivore diet, and then make all kinds of claims about the unhealthiness of the diet based on meat consumption levels in mixed diets. That’s not scientific. Plus, you don’t seem to have done any research on what constitutes a proper approach to a carnivore diet. Properly done, the diet contains about twice as many calories from fat as protein. The body is definitely in ketosis. If it wasn’t, there would be telltale evidence in floating stools. Properly done, the diet focuses on grass-fed, free-range meat which is high in omega 3s. It includes organ meats. It includes gelatin, which has no tryptophan and balances muscle meat in many ways. Making assumptions based on the health of mixed-diet individuals who eat higher or lower levels of lean muscle meat just brings nothing to the argument. Admittedly, many people who are trying the carnivore diet are doing it badly. I have been totally carnivore for 37 days. Before starting the diet I was waking to go bathroom 8 or more times per night. I am 68 years old and have been suffering from interstitial cystitis for 50 years and from BPH for about 10 years. I am now waking 2 or 3 times per night. I fall asleep more quickly and actually have dreams. I have more energy during the day and improved clarity of mind. My joint pains have subsided considerably.
I am not promoting the diet. I think that would be premature and agree that a one-size-fits-all approach is not workable with most health issues. But I have a huge problem with your objections to the diet because you apparently view it as a daily feast on massive amounts of lean muscle meat. Certainly, there are people doing exactly that. But an intelligent approach is to look at the cultures that have been primarily meat eaters and to learn from them. I have been studying nutrition for a lot of years and the biggest problem I see is the sea of misinformation that discourages most people from taking an intelligent approach to trying new things. I have been vegetarian, high carb, paleo low carb, paleo medium carb, paleo low-fat, paleo high-fat. I have taken every stinking vitamin/herbal concoction on the planet and nothing has worked like this. I am currently taking no supplements other than fish oil and some occasional magnesium chloride (mostly topically). Thanks for reading my rant.
Jerry, thanks for the comment. I see your point, especially about the lack of “pure” data on an exclusively carnivore diet. Kind of a similar situation with the plant based crowd when they cite epidemiology that tracks lower consumption, but not zero consumption of animal protein, and then pass it off as evidence for a strict Vegan diet. I still think the carnivore diet is unhealthy for most people, with sitosterolemia as a possible exception, but I appreciate you reading and commenting.
There is proper documentation of the health of people on a carnivore diet. The Masai traditionally lived off the meat and milk of their cattle and had extensive atherosclerosis, but no incidence of heart disease due to their active lifestyle. While I agree with him on your approach of the subject (you relied on omnivores to form a conclusion), I too would agree that it’s unhealthy. Balance is key.
Do you know of any sources that outline in more detail how to do the carnivore diet ‘properly’? I have been trying the diet myself and noticing some major benefits, but also have been experiencing some difficulties getting enough fat relative to protein. Most sources I have found just say ‘just eat meat’, but as you say, just eating muscle meat can be very imbalanced