By: Stephanie Lodge
There’s a wide variety of diets out there today, ranging from the ketogenic diet to a pure vegan diet that consists of strictly plant-based foods only. But what’s the opposite of a vegan diet? That’s right — a carnivore diet. The carnivore diet has become increasingly popular in media over the last year, and for good reason too. As the name implies, the carnivore diet is exactly that — a diet consisting of only animal products.
What is the Carnivore Diet?
The word carnivore literally means “an animal that feeds on flesh” or, to be less graphic, a “meat-eater.” It’s an animal that obtains most of its energy and nutrients from a diet made up of mostly animal tissue.
You might be thinking, “oh sure, it’s just a high protein diet.” But a carnivore diet pretty much consists of meat and meat only, which leaves many to question how an individual would receive proper nutrition or obtain essential vitamins and minerals in order to consider it a healthy, well-rounded diet.
The carnivore diet food list contains only animal products. These products include meat (mostly red meat), fish, eggs, cheese and other products obtained from animals such as organ meat, bone broth and butter.
Apart from some isolated tribes in different parts of the world (who had to consume only meat as it was the only food available) there’s history of few people eating a diet consisting of animal products alone by choice. So why are people trying it now?
There could be a multitude of motivations. Along with many reasons that anyone starts any diet, they go in with the hope of weight loss as well as overall improved health. However, these are not the only benefits the carnivore diet has been shown to provide. For instance, many people start this diet for improved weight loss, improved digestive health, improved cognitive function and the fact that its guidelines are fairly simple.
No Carbs, No Problem
One of the biggest benefits of this diet is the subtraction of unnecessary carbohydrates from your diet. Americans today consume way more carbs than needed for the average, sedentary lifestyle.
For years, saturated fats got a bad rep from doctors and scientists alike — claiming that these fats were the cause of negative health effects. Now, as more research begins to surface, we are realizing that this is simply not the case.
The quantity of the protein consumed on this diet isn’t the only benefit. It’s also the quality of protein you’ll be getting. Meat and eggs specifically are considered complete proteins, containing the nine essential amino acids. “Essential” meaning our bodies can’t produce them on its own. This means it’s extremely important that we get these amino acids from external sources. Besides amino acids, meat also contains key vitamins and minerals including vitamin B, vitamin D, zinc and iron.
In fact, some athletes and other individuals reported gaining muscle mass as well as increased strength when going on the carnivore diet.
The Difference Between the Ketogenic Diet and the Carnivore Diet
While the ketogenic diet and the carnivore diet have many similarities, they also differ in many ways as well. The keto diet and the carnivore diet both permit fat and protein, while severely restricting carbs. However, due to complete absence of vegetables on the carnivore diet, it is a bit more extreme — making it a zero carb diet. While there are several different types of keto diets out there today that allow room for carb intake, the standard ketogenic diet typically allows from 20 to 50 grams of carbs a day, depending on the individual.
Unlike the carnivore diet, the ketogenic diet limits the intake of protein due to the possibility of gluconeogenesis. This is when the body takes excess protein and converts it to glucose to burn instead of resorting to fat (or ketones, to be specific).
While the ketogenic diet consists of a high fat, low carb and moderate protein intake, there are still macronutrients an individual should follow in order to lose weight. It is possible that you can eat high fat and not experience weight loss due to the high calorie intake.
The carnivore diet doesn’t have any specific macronutrient goals an individual should follow since it consists of animal products alone.
Making the Switch
Making your body adapt to any type of new stress requires patience, with a new diet being no exception. While some individuals may never want to give up their favorite veggies and fruits, that’s for them to decide. When it comes to results, everyone will be different. It’s only with trial and error that you will find the optimal diet best suited for your particular lifestyle.
Click for more information about The Carnivore Diet, or visit Carnivore Diet Review for a complete guide.
About The Author:
Steph is a writer, competitive weightlifter and nutritional consultant with a passion for health and wellness. She is the founder of The Athlete’s Kitchen, a website dedicated to providing its audience with articles, recipes and the latest nutritional information on their favorite foods. Find her on Pinterest or at TheAthletesKitchen.com