Popular Carnivore Diet Craze Could Be Dangerous

The carnivore diet has one simple rule — eat meat. While there are some variations, such as allowing other animal products like eggs and milk to be consumed, hardcore dieters prefer to stick to the original regimen of restricting your meals to meat, more meat, and only meat.

It’s possible to survive on meat alone, and this diet certainly has the potential to help in weight loss since you’re also restricting calories and carbs. But the general consensus with experts is that this diet is not ideal for overall health.

“While you would be able to survive eating only meat, I just don’t think this diet is realistic or healthy,” registered dietitian Jullian Kubala told Popsugar. “Although there is research supporting the use of very low-carbohydrate diets, like the ketogenic diet, to treat certain diseases and promote weight loss, we don’t yet have evidence that the carnivore diet is safe to follow long-term.”

Folate, and vitamins E and C are basically exclusive to vegetables — which are important. Not to mention meat has absolutely no fiber which is crucial to a healthy diet. Granted, you could take supplements to make up for these vitamin deficiencies and add fiber powder to your diet. But these options just aren’t the same as getting nutrients from whole foods.

Other serious issues with the carnivore diet have to do with your colon and your heart. Consuming large amounts of red meat have been linked to colorectal cancer, as well as lesser cases of pancreatic and prostate cancers. The World Health Organization says that meat cooked at temperatures exceeding 300 degrees Fahrenheit produces carcinogenic chemicals. Also, excess red meat can increase your risk of heart disease, they pack a lot of salt and fat.


One solution to this problem would be to eat less red meat and opt for healthier, leaner options, like poultry and fish, which provide more nutrients than beef. Additionally, some animal organs can provide lots of vitamins if consumed in small quantities.

The last problem with the carnivore diet is its severe lack of calories. One way to lose weight is to cut calories, but it must be done in a sustainable way. Completing restricting them is not the answer, as you will likely gain weight lost during fad diets back again later. The solution here is to adopt a way to eating that can be maintained for life, rather than in brief periods.

The amount of meat a person should consume daily varies given a variety of factors including, but not limited to, weight and age. Generally speaking, the American Heart Association recommends people eat a maximum of six ounces of flesh a day and only four to five servings per week.

Whether you’re eating exclusively meat or exclusively fruits and veggies, either extreme diet will have its problems and nutritional deficiencies. It’s important to consume a wide variety of foods in moderation in order to get the nutrition you need.

“It’s not necessary to cut out most food groups to drop pounds,” Dr. Petre told Popsugar. “I would recommend cutting out processed foods, added sugars, and simple carbohydrates and upping activity levels before trying out a restrictive diet like the carnivore diet.”


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