A carnivore diet is an even more extreme version of the keto diet, and consists only of animal products with zero carbohydrates. It flies in the face of nutrition and health research. It also flies in the face of good sense, and it brings with it some extreme outcomes.
Humans Are Not Carnivores
Historically, humans ate a plant-centric diet, with only small amounts of meat. Today, our bodies can tolerate a little meat but a huge body of research indicates that eating a fully plant-based diet reduces the risk of many diseases including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and some cancers.
Researchers have pinpointed the areas of the world where residents live longest. They have extrapolated the lifestyle choices that are common to all and one of those is a plant-based diet.
Read through any carnivore forum and you’ll see mention of painful constipation, explosive diarrhea, and some far worse problems. The signs are all there! This is not a diet that makes for a happy gut.
Research backs that up! One study states: “A plant-based diet appears to be beneficial for human health by promoting the development of more diverse and stable microbial systems.” And we know that a healthy gut biome has a powerful effect on our overall health and wellbeing, which is why eating plants is so important.
Meat and Cancer
Red meat is associated with “an increased risk of colon and rectum cancer, and evidence also suggests it is associated with some other cancers, such as prostate and pancreatic cancer”, according to the National Cancer Institute. Despite this, self-professed “experts” on carnivore forums recklessly encourage people who have been diagnosed with colon cancer to keep eating only red meat.
Doctors Say No
What do doctors say about the carnivore diet? Dr Neal Barnard brands the diet “even more stupid than keto.” Cardiologist Dr Joel Kahn criticises the diet for its lack of vitamin C in particular. This deficiency can cause potentially fatal scurvy, as singer James Blunt found. “It took about six to eight weeks for me to get very, very unhealthy,” he said after he finally abandoned the carnivore diet.
No Credible Research
Proponents—including those who make a lot of money pushing this fad diet—make a wide variety of claims about it. Yet, there has been zero credible research that backs them up.
There is an antisocial side to the carnivore: the stink. Halitosis amongst carnivore proponents is commonly reported, and the whiff of meat also passes into the world via their sweat. It’s not attractive. Studies show that those who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and no meat smell more attractive.
Cheating on Meat
It’s a diet that virtually no one can stick to. It is so restrictive that forums are alive with admissions of “cheating” as people’s health takes a dive, or they just get so bored of the same thing every day.
Every credible environmental expert—including Jane Goodall, Sir David Attenborough and scientists at Harvard, the University of Oxford and the United Nations—is saying the same thing: we must drastically reduce meat consumption for the sake of the planet. Beef is the worst offender when it comes to climate emissions, but all meats and dairy disproportionately drive climate breakdown as well as deforestation, species loss, and pollution. Eating plants is good for our planet as well as our bodies.
If you want to get healthy and / or lean, and feed your body with nutrient-rich foods, then a whole food plant-based diet is the way to go. It is backed by science and is the way Blue Zone populations naturally eat. It’s food that tastes good, does good, is loaded with micronutrients, and is the best choice for a sustainable future.