Have you heard of the carnivore diet? Also referred to as the Zero Carb diet, this animal product-only diet has been making waves in the fitness world industry as of late.
While this “WOE” (way of eating) has been around for years, it’s gaining new attention lately particularly thanks to Joe Rogan’s podcast which brought the diet to the public eye. Here, I’ll explore this odd-sounding diet and reveal why maybe it’s not as crazy as it initially sounds.
What is the carnivore diet?
Simply put, this is a diet wherein you consume only animal products. It’s also referred to as the Zero Carb diet in some circles.
Of course, since nothing is ever totally simple, this means that there are a variety of approaches to the carnivore diet. One popular approach (and entry into the diet) is to “eat meat, drink water”. Many followers of the diet advocate that to really get an idea of how the diet works for you, the best way to try it is to commit to 30 days of eating only meat, whenever you are hungry, and drinking only water, whenever you are thirsty.
Others take a gentler approach and will include eggs, butter, cheese and other dairy products in the diet. Yet others take a “keto carnivore” approach, which is common for those coming from the ketogenic diet. They may enjoy some non-animal products such as avocado or nuts, but they keep it to a minimum.
Beverages like coffee, tea, and alcohol can be controversial among practitioners of the diet: some indulge, some don’t.
Is it safe?
On the one hand, the idea of the carnivore diet might seem terrible–where are all the vegetables and fiber? However, there are some compelling cases for the diet.
Perhaps the most famous example is Dr. Shawn Baker, a pro athlete and proponent of the carnivorous way of life. Having been on the diet for years, he’s constantly breaking records and making incredible fitness achievements even over 50.
In this post, athlete and food science expert Ryan Munsey details his experience of 35 days on the Carnivore diet, and the results are surprising: not only did he not die, but his blood work was normal and as he reported,
“After 5 weeks of eating nothing but meat and other animal products (bone marrow, tallow, lard, bone broth) I did not suffer a heart attack, develop jaundice or come down with scurvy.
In fact, I felt great, lost body fat, got stronger, enjoyed stable energy levels and had zero food cravings.”
While many studies of this way of eating exist, you can read testimonials from devotees on sites like Zero Carb Zen.
What about vitamins and minerals?
Basically, the idea is that you absorb your vitamins and minerals through the animal. They’re actually very nutrient dense so there is sound logic to this. Some people on this diet will supplement, though.
What about poop?
Everyone wants to know about poop on the zero carb diet. After all, you’re not eating fiber, right?
Like transitioning to the keto diet, when you adopt any new type of dieting you may experience changes in digestion. However, over time many carnivores report that they poop less often due to the fact that the body absorbs more of meat than of fibrous veggies, but without constipation or pain or strain.
Can you lose weight on the carnivore diet?
There are many anecdotal stories of weight loss on this way of eating. One famous example is Kelly Hogan, a woman who lost over 100 pounds eating carnivore, who has continued to eat that way for over 10 years. However, since there is relatively little data and study on this subject, it’s hard to say with authority that this diet is an effective weight loss tool.
Training on the carnivore diet
As noted above, a number of athletes have turned to this diet with positive results in their training regime. However, most of this information is anecdotal at this point.
Should you try the carnivore diet?
The carnivore diet is not for everyone. Some people simply love fruits and veggies too much, and others might choose to avoid meat for ethical reasons.
However, when you really get down to it, while the diet may sound bizarre at first, it may not be as crazy as it initially sounds. There are plenty of people who are following this diet with positive results.
Who is this best for?
Perhaps the most compelling case for trying this diet is somebody who has suffered from auto-immune disease. So many people suffering from auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease and celiac have reported positive results from cutting out things like dairy, gluten and processed foods. The carnivore diet takes it one step further and cuts out just about everything. Proponents have also reported better sleep (no snoring), higher energy and even reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety. WOW!
The New You 6 Week Challenge: A balanced approach
At The New You 6 Week Challenge, we want to help you make your fitness and body composition goals a reality. We work closely with you to tailor your diet and training regime so that you can achieve your desired results!
Have you considered the carnivore diet?