Houston, we have a problem. You may have looked at the title of this article and said, “Yeah, what’s the carnivore diet?” Well, keep on reading and you will find information on what is, in my opinion, the strangest diet trend I have heard of to date.
Now you may be wondering how that could be. Well, considering I run a fitness website, I’ve done research on various diets, and have actually started to examine them. My first review was on the OMAD diet (one meal a day), which you can read by clicking HERE. And yet, as crazy as THAT seemed to me, this may take the cake.
Buckle up and get ready for yet another extreme diet fad that defies most, if not all, of what we know about nutrition. It’s The Carnivore Diet.
According to healthline.com, The Carnivore Diet is exactly how it sounds. It’s all meat, all the time. Your choices for food include any type of meat, fish, eggs, and low lactose dairy products (only firm cheeses like Parmesan and butter are OK). You can only drink water or bone broth, as well. Coffee and tea are out because they are derived from plants.
On this diet, you can forget about eating vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, nuts…basically any other food group you can think of.
It’s hard to say where or how it officially started. There is an official website to check out called, www.thecarnivorediet.com, however it gives no information other than a place to sign up for gauge interest for an ebook and a quote from some random personal trainer named James Hodgson.
I looked up the name and found a couple of random guys, but nobody seemingly owns up to the quote recommending the ebook. Take that for what it’s worth.
In any case, according to Healthline, one of it’s biggest supporters is former orthopedic doctor, Shawn Baker. I say former because apparently, his license was taken away by New Mexico’s Medical Board over questions about his competency. That’s not a good start.
He actually has a website you can check out as well. It’s www.shawn-baker.com, though from perusing it a little, it seems a somewhat sketchy, which I will get into later.
You can read more about Healthline’s take on the diet fad by clicking the link above. Now it is time to get into what the supposed health benefits are for you, should you decide to tackle this protein-rich diet.
According to the good former doctor (or should it be former good doctor?), he has received many testimonials from people who have tried this diet and been cured of a variety of ailments including obesity, anxiety, depression, etc. (Those testimonials can also be found on his website).
The main reason some may try it is because of its promises to help you lose weight. It is somewhat similar to the Ketogenic Diet in that it calls for higher protein (and since its animal protein, there will be higher fat). Where it differs from it is that while the Ketogenic diet severely restricts carbohydrate intake, the Carnivore Diet seeks to eliminate it altogether.
It sees carbohydrates as a huge cause for obesity (which is partially true) and therefore stays away from them.
Now in addition to getting rid of vegetables in fruit, you are totally abstaining from unhealthy junk food and drink, which can be a positive.
While there are some benefits, I think it is crucial to look at the potential list of problems you could run into while on the diet. There are a number of them that I find, so brace yourself, meat lover.
Let’s just look at this logically for a second. Does it make sense to get rid of all plant matter in your diet? Plant matter, whether it’s in the form of fruits, vegetables, etc. contains an incredibly array of nutrients that are essential to the human body. Eliminating those in favor of an all-meat diet would most likely cause deficiencies.
Secondly, since no meat is off limits, that means an incredibly higher amount of saturated fat and cholesterol, which have been linked to heart and blood pressure problems. Additionally, processed meats are completely acceptable too. These would include bacon, sausage, cold cuts, etc., which carry a heavy amount of sodium.
Thirdly, knocking out all plant matter means that you are not getting any fiber in your diet. Fiber is essential for remaining regular in your bowls and sweeping your intestines. Without it, there is a possibility of becoming constipated, which is not so much fun.
Fourth, because it is so restrictive, many will find it hard to adhere to the diet for any length of time. This will be detrimental to plans of losing weight and is the problem that many of these extreme diets run into. A diet you can’t sustain is a diet that won’t work.
The fifth reason, and one that as a budget-minded fitness enthusiast takes very serious, is that meat can get really expensive. Buying plant foods in season is a great way to get nutrition without breaking the bank. However, this is not the case with meat. Therefore, I can’t say that this is a diet that is friendly on the budget.
Lastly, as I mentioned before, I took a look around Mr. Baker’s website, trying to find more information about the diet. While he provided some video answers to frequently asked questions (while not providing researched facts), the about section of the website is merely about him and his accomplishments.
Additionally, the other sections of the website have to do with selling merchandise, promoting his podcast, promoting a (HOLY COW, no pun intended!) $190, 1 hour consultation with him, and a few blog posts. The presentation is slick, but it seems nothing is being given away for free. That makes me think this is merely a way to make lots of money.
I know I have been giving my opinion here and there throughout this article, but here is a question that I have been repeating every time I stumble on one of these extreme diets. Why is there such a push away from balance when it comes to our diets and desire for weight loss?
It frustrates me to no end when I hear about people completely cutting out various portions of a diet as a knee-jerk reaction. It also gets to me when these types of diets are thrown out there and encouraged before proper research is done to determine the long-term effects.
Everyone seems to be looking for the next quick fix diet trend that is going to help them lose weight fast, get rid of their medical problems, or any other host of promises.
For me, enough is enough. I don’t need to go crazy to stay healthy. The grains I eat are mostly whole grains. I make sure to eat fruits and vegetables, as well as lean meats. Will I grab a cookie now and then or some ice cream? Yes. Will I eat some pizza and a burger now and then? Yes. I don’t go overboard one way or the other.
As a Christian, I believe that God gave us options for food and the good sense to be able to choose what was healthy based on our knowledge of those food options. I have no problem with being a vegan or vegetarian IF you can get the proper nutrition. I have no problem with being an omnivore, IF you can get the proper nutrition.
However, in fad diets like the Carnivore Diet, I’m extremely skeptical that you CAN get the proper nutrition. That is where I have a problem. When something like this, that doesn’t make much logical sense, is being promoted like it’s better than anything that came before. Without proper research, I think that is dangerous and irresponsible.
Is The Carnivore Diet For You?
What’s the Carnivore Diet? Is it healthy? Clearly I have shown a strong opinion on the subject. For me, the detriments seem to far outweigh the benefits. The lack of research gives me great pause in recommending you even try it for yourself.
However, I know my opinion is not the only one out there, so now it is your turn. What is your opinion on this up and coming diet fad? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment?
Do you have experience with this, or any restrictive diet and is there one you would like to see me write about in a future post?
Feel free to leave your opinion and questions in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you have to say on the subject and what kinds of conversations we can have, as well!
Until next time, God bless!