The carnivore diet is a strict elimination diet that only allows you to animal products — meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. You can’t eat anything plant-based such as grains, vegetables, and fruits. As such, it’s a high-protein, low-carb diet similar to keto, but with even more health benefits.
Our ancestors were carnivores, so studies show our bodies are naturally attuned to eating animal-based products. Eliminating everything other than foods we can easily digest lets our bodies recover from the damage caused by a modern diet and lifestyle. Almost immediate benefits include:
- Weight loss
- Reduction in inflammation
- Improved gut health
- Sharper mental clarity
Of course, since the carnivore diet is an elimination-based diet, it can be hard for some people to eat nothing but animal-based products every day. Once your body has healed, we recommend switching to a more balanced ancestral diet.
Let’s review the key benefits of the carnivore diet so you can see if it’s a good fit for you.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Benefit #1: Incredible Weight Loss
Among the most common carnivore diet testimonials are incredible stories of weight loss and reduced body fat.
The first reason for this is that it’s much easier to eat in a calorie deficit when eating only meat, so people naturally burn more energy than they consume. However, many people also experience a feeling increased satiation (feeling full) as their body takes a longer time to break down the calories they get from fat and protein, reducing cravings.
In addition, you may notice fewer hormonal fluctuations and increased metabolism. When you consume carbs, your blood sugar and insulin levels crash and spike. The insulin fluctuations cause an imbalance in your hormones — HGH, leptin, and ghrelin — that are associated with weight gain, fat storage, and hunger.
In short, the carnivore diet is good for your hormones, and that’s good for weight loss and body composition.
Benefit #2: Reduced Inflammation (& Clearer Skin)
One of the major benefits of the carnivore diet is that it reduces IL-6 and C-reactive protein — both markers of systemic inflammation. This is due to an increase in the intake of Omega-3 fatty acids (which are anti-inflammatory in nature), a reduction in insulin levels, and the removal of irritating anti-nutrients and plant toxins.
There are various studies that support that consuming a low-carb diet such as the carnivore diet reduces saturated fatty acids and markers of inflammation in the human body.
When your body is not inflamed, you’ll notice chronic issues start to disappear. The first place many people notice this is their skin. Before and after photos of skin on the carnivore diet show conditions such as eczema disappearing.
Benefit #3: Revs Up Your Sex Drive
On the standard American diet, studies show your testosterone levels and libido can take a nosedive. Combine low activity levels with lots of vegetable oils and sugar, and you create a feedback loop that not only saps your energy and strength but also depletes your testosterone levels.
Thanks to nutrients like protein, Vitamin K, Vitamin D, cholesterol, and carnosine in meat, many people (men and women) notice a huge increase in their libido on the carnivore diet. All these nutrients are essential for keeping your testosterone at optimum levels and are found in abundance on the carnivore diet.
Benefit #4: Stronger Bones
On the carnivore diet, your vitamin K levels increase because this vitamin is found only in meat and dairy products. Vitamin K improves your bone health and helps with osteoporosis by increasing the amount of calcium in your bones.
Vitamin K activates various other proteins that prevent the calcification of tissues, kidneys, arteries, and blood vessels. It increases the production of osteocalcin, a protein that is essential for stronger bones. Apart from vitamin K, the CLA present in meat positively influences bone metabolism and protects from age-associated bone loss.
Benefit #5: Optimal Gut Health
The carnivore diet is full of collagen, omega-3 fatty acids, and glutamine that help in strengthening and repairing your gut lining. Since you are not eating plant foods, you are removing plant toxins and fermentable fiber that causes irritation and inflammation.
Contrary to common belief, cutting out fiber from your diet shows a significant reduction in bloating and gas and an increase in your bowel movements.
Benefit #6: Boosts Brain Power
The carnivore diet is beneficial for energizing your brain.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is important for optimum brain function — more than 20% of the fat in your brain contains DHA. It protects your nerves and enhances neural connectivity. Foods such as lamb, pork, and organ meats such as beef brain contain ample amounts of DHA.
Plus, animal-based products contain Vitamin B12, which acts as an antidepressant. Alzheimer’s and dementia are linked to the deficiency of B12 in the human body along with the deficiency of Vitamin K2.
For the proper functioning of the human body, consuming Choline is also important — its deficiency is linked with a lack of concentration and focus as well as cognitive impairments. Choline is present abundantly in beef liver, eggs, and fish. Plus, the heme iron present in red meat not only helps in the formation of RBCs but also improves your cognitive ability.
In short, the carnivore diet has everything you need for mental clarity and brain power.
Benefit #7: Provides a Nutrient-dense Diet
When you eat meat, you consume various nutrients that are essential for the proper functioning of your body such as EPA, DHA, retinol, heme iron, creatine, vitamin K2, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA).
CLA not only increases lean muscle but also reduces body fat. The risk of atherosclerosis is also reduced if you consume CLA.
From the stabilization of your mood to the creation of red blood cells, Vitamin K present in meat offers a multitude of benefits.
Carnivore Diet Risks
The carnivore diet has both pros and cons. Since it is an elimination-based diet, you have to stop eating anything that isn’t animal-based. It can restrictive and hard to follow in the long term.
Plus, there are some carnivore diet side effects, especially when starting the diet.
People who have chronic kidney issues and have to keep a check on their protein intake may need to stay away from the carnivore diet. If you are sensitive to cholesterol, then you should be careful while consuming meat, which is high cholesterol in nature.
Carnivore Diet Alternatives
You should not look at the carnivore diet as a simple diet only — think of it as a lifestyle. It will help you optimize the diet to your way of living. You can add a little variety to your meals to help you get on the carnivore lifestyle.
Start with a pure carnivore diet — eat animal-based products only for a while. Once you have improved your health using the carnivore diet, you can add some vegetables and fruits. A carnivore diet with fruit will be helpful in making the diet less restrictive in nature.
You can also follow the ancestral diet, which is similar to the nose-to-tail carnivore diet. All you do is avoid processed food and consume natural products, just like our ancestors naturally did.