It seems like there’s some new diet or fad eating plan popping up every week—so many it’s hard to keep track of them all! The Carnivore Diet is a new one that has become highly popular among meat-eaters. It will definitely hold appeal to you if you like a good steak or chicken drumstick. The question is: is the diet healthy and will it help you lose weight? Below, we dive into everything you need to know about the Carnivore Diet so you can know exactly what the diet will do for you…
What is the Carnivore Diet?
The Carnivore Diet is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a diet heavy on meat. However, when you dig a bit deeper, you find that it’s a diet EXCLUSIVELY of meat and animal proteins. There are no plant-based foods permitted on the diet, which means no fruits, veggies, grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes. You simply eat red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and (because who can live without it?) coffee. A lot of Carnivore Dieters will include dairy products, but some will argue that the lactose (sugar) in the milk makes it a no-no.
An Interesting Twist
One of the most unique features of the Carnivore Diet is that it encourages you to choose higher-fat cuts of meat. Seeing as you’re not eating any carbs, your body has to get as much fat as possible from the fat you eat. Thus, instead of your primary goal getting a lot more protein, you get more fat from the meals. This puts it on par with the Keto Diet, a diet that encourages high fat consumption in order to convince the body to switch from carb-burning to fat-burning. Studies have indicated that burning fat is more effective for weight loss than burning carbs, so on this aspect at least, the diet may be a more effective option than other diets.
The Flaw in the Plan
Unfortunately, the Carnivore Diet has one huge weakness: it doesn’t deliver anywhere near as much vitamins, minerals, fiber, or antioxidants as your body needs. Animal proteins are rich in certain minerals—like iron, calcium, or Vitamin B12—but there’s no fiber, no vitamins, and no antioxidants. Without these nutrients, your body is unable to function properly and may soon become highly nutrient-deficient. This, of course, can lead to all sorts of health problems that could otherwise have been avoided.
You NEED Plant-Based Foods
The idea behind this diet is to help your body burn fats instead of carbs, but that could almost be achieved by simply cutting out high-carb foods from your diet. If you reduced your intake of high-carb grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, you’d still have enough of a variety of plant-based foods that you could almost get properly well-rounded nutrition. You might come up a bit short on certain antioxidants and vitamins that are obtained from fruits, but in terms of fiber and mineral intake, you’ll be giving your body what it needs.
Is the Carnivore Diet a good one?
Sadly, the answer is no. It is a “mono” diet, which means it focuses too heavily on a certain type of food, which means you’re not getting the nutrients delivered by foods outside that group. While the concept holds a great deal of merit, the fact that you’re cutting out ALL plant-based foods means you are depriving your body of critical nutrients. For the best results, it’s still a good idea to lean heavily on proteins and fats, but to keep plant-based foods in your diet!