For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, the carnivore diet consists of strictly eating animal products and nothing else. That means beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, eggs, deer, elk, and some dairy. The basic idea is that animal products contain all the essential nutrients in terms of fats and proteins that we as humans need to be healthy. Followers of this diet also contend that plants contain anti-nutrients derived from their self-defense mechanisms to avoid being eaten and are therefore not ideal for human consumption. Note, I am NOT endorsing their claims, I am just relaying the information.
Now, while there is some validity to these claims, it’s a little too extreme in my opinion. Obviously, there are some people who would actually benefit and have benefited from this type of dieting but that does not mean it’s perfect or meant for everyone. Because that goes for nearly any “diet.” People CAN do well on extreme diets whether it be carnivore or even the exact opposite which is vegan because see what happens is when people go from eating the Standard American Diet which is absolute crap full of fried junk, lunch meat, sandwiches, hoagies, fast food, juices, soda, junk food and then they start to actually care about what they eat and pay attention, they tend to do better. Shouldn’t come as a surprise. So, whether its vegan, vegetarian, keto, carnivore, whatever the case may be, people tend to do better because they’ve gone from eating the standard American diet to a more conscious approach.
The other side of the coin of these strict diets is that there will be some inherent deficiencies. I’ve already discussed the problems with the ketogenic and vegetarian diets, and because carnivore is becoming popular, I want to discuss the problems with it so people know ahead of time should they attempt to try it. So, without further ado here are some of the top problems with the carnivore diet.
1.Lack of research – As of right now there is no research to back the carnivore diet. Even Shawn Baker, who is probably the most popular and staunchest proponent of the diet, admits that there isn’t any research available on carnivore, but he is actually actively recruiting people to be a part of a study so at least he is trying.
Due to the fact that the diet is so new we don’t have any research on it yet so it’s impossible to predict its long-term health effects. Shawn Baker also admits he hasn’t had any bloodwork taken since starting the diet but does report feeling better. However, one man’s anecdotal evidence is not enough to base recommendations.
2. Not getting any benefits of fruits and vegetables. There are years of research proving that fruits and vegetables have a lot of benefits such as protecting your DNA and anti-cancer benefits. Now, the link between red meat and cancer is overblown a bit, you can have red meat a few times a week and be fine in the context of a healthy lifestyle. BUT, if you’re chowing down 4-5 steaks a DAY, and you’re not eating ANY fruits or vegetables, then you’re not getting any protection from colon cancer formation. In addition to that, there’s a ton of research showing the benefits of fruits and veggies for brain health and longevity and a laundry list of other important things due to their high antioxidant counts.
Also, by eating high amounts of red meat you’re in danger of iron levels becoming too high and creating toxicity. Again, when we eat red meat in the context of a normal healthy diet that contains fruits and vegetables, the iron is chelated and removed from our systems, so it doesn’t build up and create toxicity. You don’t want to play around with iron toxicity guys, it can lead to liver failure and death.
3.One flavor over and over again – This has to be the biggest one for me personally because I’ve thought about trying this diet out before because I have some friends that have done it just to see what happened and I can’t bring myself to do it because I just love sweet too much.
I have the biggest sweet tooth and you can never get that craving fulfilled on the carnivore diet. It’s just the same flavor of salt and meat over and over and over again and that would drive me insane. But who knows, maybe if I did do carnivore, it would get rid of my sweet cravings.
4.Need to eat organ meats or supplement. Can you get all the essential nutrients you need from animals? Yes. BUT only if you’re eating from nose to tail. That means eating a lot of the organs too. The organs have just as many micronutrients as vegetables so if you are eating them, you’ll most likely be ok on this diet but most people who do carnivore do not eat the organ meats because they’re hard to find or they’re just downright disgusting.
I’m talking about the heart, the liver, the kidneys, the brain. Grossed out yet? So am I. I know that it’s just social conditioning to find these organ meats gross because it used to be very commonplace, especially for our hunter gatherer ancestors, but I can’t see myself eating them on a regular basis. I’d try eating organ meats if they were specially prepared at a restaurant sure, but I just don’t see myself preparing my own organ meats and for that reason, I’m out.
5.Too restrictive – So of the three diets I’ve broken down on this podcast, those being vegetarian/vegan, keto, and now carnivore, carnivore is by far the most restrictive. Good luck having any kind of social life with this diet unless you attend cookouts and cookouts only lol. You can go out to dinner, but your wallet will start hurting after having to order the most expensive steak on the menu every time. And like I mentioned previously, I just can’t imagine eating the same thing over and over and over again at every meal.
So that’s it guys, that’s the top problems with the carnivore diet. IF you are going to try it, make sure you heavily supplement to fill in the gaps and try to eat nose to tail. Overall, I don’t think the diet is as crazy as most people think, it can be done correctly and safely but it requires a ton of will power and discipline.
Alright, episode ten of the doc may diet podcast, as always please subscribe on Spotify, youtube, apple podcasts and I appreciate all the great feedback so far! See you guys next time.