The carnivore diet is an elimination diet that works on one fundamental principle — you are allowed to eat only meat, fish, and animal-based products like eggs and dairy.
Here we explain the benefits of fruit and the potential risks for carnivore dieters, so you can make the right decision for you and thrive.
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Health Benefits of Fruit for Carnivores
There are pros and cons to the carnivore diet. One con is that eating just animal-based products can be too restrictive for healthy guts. There are various health benefits of adding fruits to your carnivore diet.
Easy Source of Nutrients
The carnivore diet provides ample nutrients for meeting your body’s needs. However, adding fruits to the diet can help you meet the nutritional requirements more easily. For instance, Vitamin C is found abundantly in fruits but is only present in minute amounts in animal-sourced foods.
A 100g serving of beef sausage contains 19.2 mg of Vitamin C, while a 100g serving of orange contains 46 mg. Carbohydrate intake on a carnivore diet is lower than that on an omnivorous diet, so your Vitamin C requirement is less and you can prevent diseases such as scurvy by eating organ meats like beef kidney, beef brain.
However, if your meat choices are limited, fruit is an easy way to get as much Vitamin C as you need.
On a carnivore diet, organ meats such as beef liver and lamb liver are good sources of folate as compared to muscle meat. For instance, a 100g serving of beef liver contains 290 µg while a 100g serving of ground beef contains only 6 µg of folate.
Therefore, muscle meat alone will not give your body the required amount of folate. Adding fruits to the carnivore diet will help fulfill this requirement. Fruits such as bananas, blackberries, strawberries, papayas, oranges, and avocados are excellent sources of folate.
Helps with Thyroid health
Hypothyroidism, as well as hyperthyroidism, can be managed by a healthy diet. Studies show that Iodine deficiency as well as Vitamin C deficiency causes thyroid issues. Therefore, citrus fruits, and bananas rich in Vitamin C, iodine, and other essential nutrients can help you stay fit and healthy.
Antioxidants are great for a healthy, functioning thyroid. Fruits such as strawberries, cranberries, and blueberries are a powerful addition to your diet. Moreover, apples are very beneficial when it comes to protecting your thyroid gland from free radical damage.
Fruits have essential nutrients that are important for a healthy microbiome. Apples and bananas are particularly useful for your gut bacteria. A diet that is rich in fruits prevents the growth of certain disease-causing bacteria.
Why Some People Shouldn’t Add Fruit to the Carnivore Diet
Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t add fruit to your carnivore diet.
Oxalates & Salicylates
Even though fruits are high in nutrients, fruits like raspberries, elderberries, and blackcurrants also contain natural pesticides in them and may also have anti-nutrients such as oxalates and salicylate in them.
Oxalates cause damage to the immune system, GI tract, eyes, and connective tissues. Similarly, salicylate causes headaches, respiratory irritation, migraines, and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Against the Fundamental Principle of the Carnivore Diet
The carnivore diet is strictly a zero-carb meat-based diet. If you add fruits and other food groups to the diet, you are defeating the entire purpose of following the diet. It is all about meat, organ meats, and animal-based products such as dairy and eggs. Fruits will kick you out of ketosis and you’ll be burning sugar for fuel not fat.
There is a reason why you are cutting out all the other food groups and consuming only meat-based products — the carnivore diet works like a reset for your body, and you won’t experience the full effects if you don’t follow it strictly.
Makes Weight Loss Difficult
If you are trying to lose weight, it is not a good thing to consume fruits as they contain a lot of fructose. It’s easy to consume too much fruit and exceed your daily calories. Therefore, it is better to stay away from fruit if you are trying to lose weight through a carnivore diet.
Which Fruits to Choose (& Which to Avoid)
Here is a list of fruits that you should add to your carnivore diet, considering that they are highly nutritious and have various health benefits.
- Avocado — a healthy source of vitamins E, C, K, and B6, and essential nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and folate. Avocados are okay on the carnivore diet because they’re a fruit not a vegetable
- Apples — highly nutritious and rich in antioxidants and fibers. They improve brain health along with promoting weight loss.
- Bananas — rich in nutrients, improve blood sugar levels, support digestive health, and aid weight loss. You can get much needed potassium for your carnivore diet from bananas.
- Peaches — have plenty of benefits ranging from a more robust immune system to decreased inflammation.
- Papayas — rich in antioxidants and help in reducing the risk of heart diseases. They also have vitamins A and C in them.
The fruits that you should avoid on a carnivore diet are:
- Raspberries, elderberries, and black currants — contain anti-nutrients such as salicylate and oxalates.
- Dried Fruits such as raisins, prunes — dried fruits are very high in calories.
- Mangos — are higher in sugar than most fruits.
- Cherries — cause bloating and stomach distress.
Fruits are nutritious and have various health benefits. Adding them to your carnivore diet will give you an additional and easy source of essential nutrients.
However, it is recommended that at the start of the diet, you should strictly stick to animal-based products to maximize the healing effects of the carnivore diet and stay in ketosis (burning fat not carbs for energy).
Once your body had adapted to an animal-based eating plan and has fully healed, try adding fruits slowly and see how you go. You might find they help you truly thrive.