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Carnivore Diet: What is it and is it safe?

Carnivore Diet

For the past week, I have experimented with the carnivore diet. The carnivore diet is exactly as it sounds, a diet in which you only eat animal products…primarily meat. This has been growing in popularity recently and many people are seeing results. In this article, I want to explain the carnivore diet along with its benefits and challenges. I am also going to share a little about my experiment and how it has impacted my overall keto diet.

What is the Carnivore Diet?

Simply, the carnivore diet is a diet in which you only eat meat and other animal products. This means it could also be referred to as a zero carb diet. For most, the primary source of calories comes from beef, especially the fattier cuts of meat. As the carnivore diet is typically thought of as a form of the keto diet, you still need to ensure you are getting enough fats. Think of it this way:

Carnivore Diet

As you can see the fat to protein ratio is still weighted heavier on the fat side. While the carnivore diet is a heavy protein diet, there is still an emphasis on fat. You would not do well to eat only boneless, skinless chicken breasts for every meal. Rather, mixing in those leaner cuts of meats sparingly would work very well.

Is Carnivore Healthy?

Let me begin by stating that there is currently very little research and scientific data regarding the carnivore diet. However, there are numerous case studies from real individuals who have seen tremendous success eating carnivore. Shawn Baker, a medical doctor, athlete, and podcaster, is a staunch advocate of the carnivore diet. He has even been exceptionally successful in athletics while eating only meat. Check out his FAQ videos on carnivore here. Ryan Munsey, author and podcaster, tried the carnivore diet for 30 days with great success. He provides an excellent and honest evaluation of his experience here. I also enjoyed Dr. Ken Berry’s video and Mark Sisson’s review.

My Experience on Carnivore

I only followed the carnivore diet for a week so there isn’t quite enough data to make a definitive decision of whether it worked well for me. However, I didn’t really face any issues with it either. I did notice some benefits, though to be honest, I’m not positive if those benefits aren’t just due to the elimination of certain foods. Going into the week, I was altering my workouts due to some inflammation I was still suffering in my knees. I had also been experiencing occasional gas pains without certainty of what was causing it. I decided to try carnivore for a few reasons. 

  1. I wanted to test it on myself before recommending it to anyone else. I wanted to know how it felt and what the challenges are.
  2. I was looking to eliminate a number of foods from my diet seeking to reduce inflammation and discover the root of the gas issues.
  3. I’ve been working hard to build muscle and strength and wanted the boost that carnivore is credited with.

I can say that I did not experience the inflammation or gas issues that I had prior to carnivore. My workouts also seemed to be much better during this past week. Yet, I also know that one week cannot provide definitive data as to whether this worked better for me or not.

Will I Continue on the Carnivore Diet?

Yes and no. Some of the challenges that I faced are variety and cost. At first, the thought of eating hamburgers and ribeyes only was extremely appealing. Then one night as I sat down to dinner with my family and they were eating some vegetables and sweet potato while I only had a few chicken legs on my plate, I realized I was missing something. Eating only meat can get rather expensive as well. So, no I won’t be following a strict carnivore diet for the foreseeable future.

Yes, I will use this experience to change some of my current eating habits. I am going to slowly reintroduce certain foods noting how my body responds.  I want to know if my body isn’t tolerating dairy or certain vegetables very well. This experience will be a good test to determine what foods may be causing issues with my body. I’m also not quite as fearful of protein, especially while I am currently working to build muscle.

What About You?

I don’t wholeheartedly recommend the carnivore diet for just anyone. I do believe that it may be a great option for people who have gut problems or are trying to shed those last few pounds. Each person is different and will have to evaluate their own bodies and reaction to certain foods. My wife attempted eating carnivore and after day three realized that she wasn’t comfortable with her level of ketosis. For her, keto is about seizure control so ketosis is very important. I’m not convinced that carnivore is the right way to go long term, yet, but am very interested to continue learning.

What are your thoughts on the carnivore diet?