A carnivore diet is the latest radical diet fad sweeping the weight-loss world by storm. It’s INSANE how bad it is. We have to be able to think through this beyond simply “does it work for weight loss?” This diet is one of countless weight loss gimmicks that may provide short term weight loss but at a cost that doesn’t make sense to pay!
As a holistic healthcare advocate I have never been a proponent of the high-protein diet OR the carnivore diet, but it’s just worth noting that they are not the same. A high-protein diet harms the kidneys1 as well increases your risk of heart disease.2 A high-protein diet is considered any diet that is getting 15% or more of its calories from protein (this would include the standard American diet, the Atkins diet, the Keto [propaganda] Diet, Paleo diet, Dunkin diet, Montignac diet, protein power, zone diet, South Beach diet, Stillman diet and countless other high-protein fad diets). A carnivore diet is likely closer to 50% protein. And this huge amount of protein is almost completely from the flesh of dead animals!
As you would expect, animal protein is loaded with harmful bacteria (and nanobacteria) causing lots of immune stress in the body. This is true of poultry3, beef4 and even freshwater fish.5 Also, along with the animal protein, you are also having to take in cholesterol, saturated fat and, in many cases, hormones and antibiotics.
Some argue that there’s a big difference between the “bacon and eggs” version of the diet verses an organic, hormone-free, grass-fed, free-range version. Although a more conscious version of the carnivore diet would likely contain fewer harmful chemicals/hormones/etc., it’s still a major issue in terms of putting stress on the body and being associated with multiple disease conditions.6
Animal protein increases your risk of many digestive issues such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease.7
Animal protein increases your risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).8
Animal protein increases your risk of type 2 diabetes.9
Animal protein harms the integrity of your bones.10
The list goes on… Animal protein is not supportive of optimal health or even just avoiding disease. That said, consider the implications of eating almost exclusively animal products.
I believe the bigger challenge when comparing just a “regular” high-protein diet to the carnivore diet is that, while they are both clearly way too high in protein, cholesterol and harmful bacteria, the carnivore diet actually prohibits eating plant foods (so no fruits, vegetables, grains or beans). You don’t need to be an expert in naturopathic medicine to understand that plants have a wider variety of nutrients and thus greater health benefits. Even if you’re going to eat higher protein, certainly evidence does not support any diet that eliminates vegetables with all of their incredible benefits.11
If you’re sick of the nutritional hype, misinformation and propaganda but love gaining insight into getting healthy now with alternative healthcare and holistic evidence-based facts, that is what we are here for. Please feel free to help support your friends and family by sharing this blog with those who you’d love to help!
1. Kalantar-Zadeh K, Kramer HM, Fouque D. High-protein diet is bad for kidney health: unleashing the taboo. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2020. doi:10.1093/ndt/gfz216
2. Virtanen HEK, Voutilainen S, Koskinen TT, Mursu J, Tuomainen T-P, Virtanen JK. Intake of Different Dietary Proteins and Risk of Heart Failure in Men. Circ Hear Fail. 2018. doi:10.1161/circheartfailure.117.004531
3. Rouger A, Tresse O, Zagorec M. Bacterial Contaminants of Poultry Meat: Sources, Species, and Dynamics. Microorganisms. 2017. doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030050
4. Breitschwerdt EB, Sontakke S, Cannedy A, Hancock SI, Bradley JM. Infection with Bartonella weissii and detection of Nanobacterium antigens in a North Carolina beef herd. J Clin Microbiol. 2001. doi:10.1128/JCM.39.3.879-882.2001
5. Korneva J V. Nanobacteria associated with mucous intestines of freshwater fishes and tegument of their parasites (Cestoda). Acta Parasitol. 2008. doi:10.2478/s11686-008-0041-8
6. Song M, Fung TT, Hu FB, et al. Association of animal and plant protein intake with all-cause and cause-specific mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.4182
7. Jantchou P, Morois S, Clavel-Chapelon F, Boutron-Ruault MC, Carbonnel F. Animal protein intake and risk of inflammatory bowel disease: The E3N prospective study. Am J Gastroenterol. 2010. doi:10.1038/ajg.2010.192
8. Alferink LJM, Kiefte-De Jong JC, Erler NS, et al. Association of dietary macronutrient composition and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in an ageing population: The Rotterdam Study. Gut. 2019. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2017-315940
9. Malik VS, Li Y, Tobias DK, Pan A, Hu FB. Dietary Protein Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women. Am J Epidemiol. 2016. doi:10.1093/aje/kwv268
10. Zhang Q, Ma G, Greenfield H, et al. The association between dietary protein intake and bone mass accretion in pubertal girls with low calcium intakes. Br J Nutr. 2010. doi:10.1017/S0007114509992303
11. Tuso PJ, Ismail MH, Ha BP, Bartolotto C. Nutritional update for physicians: plant-based diets. Perm J. 2013. doi:10.7812/TPP/12-085