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The carnivore diet is one of the most controversial as it eliminates many traditionally healthy foods, like vegetables. However, its advocates are quick to remind its critics that it provides various health benefits like:
- Helps with weight loss;
- Reduces inflammation;
- Improves mental acuity;
- Lowers symptoms of chronic ailments like autoimmune diseases;
- Lowers blood sugar, and;
- Decreases intestinal discomfort.
The link between these benefits and a mostly meat diet has intrigued many people all over the world, including medical experts. The carnivore diet is one of the most straightforward diets to follow, and it allows you to eat all the meat you want, while most diets restrict your meat intake.
How The Carnivore Diet Works
The carnivore diet is a zero-carb, high-protein, and high-fat diet. It recommends consuming only meat and animal products. The diet also incorporates consuming the less-appetizing parts of animals, like their connective tissues and organs.
The quality of the meats you consume affects the effectiveness of the diet, so aim to consume organically fed animals.
There are many variations of the carnivore diet, so you don’t have to follow any one approach. For example, podcaster Joe Rogan was one of the people who popularized the carnivore diet when he tried it out for a month, and he reported fewer muscle aches and increased energy afterward. Rogan added fresh fruits to his version of the carnivore diet since the carbs give him more energy for his workouts and other nutrients that will serve him well in the long run.
Animal products like milk, yogurt, and cheese are permitted on the carnivore diet but stick to low lactose varieties to keep your diet low carb. Eggs and other dairy products can lead to inflammation for some people, so it’s often best to avoid them when starting the diet. Assess how the carnivore diet affects you before deciding if you want to incorporate such foods into your diet.
Carnivore Vs. Keto Diet
The carnivore diet is similar to the ketogenic diet, but some differences exist. The keto diet is a low-carb diet, just like the carnivore diet, which forces your body to enter a metabolic state called ketosis. While in ketosis, your body burns fat faster since it has run out of its primary energy source, glucose (blood sugar).
Both diets prioritize protein and fat while drastically reducing your carb intake. Both diets are effective for weight loss. Some would say the carnivore diet is simply an evolution of the keto diet that aims to eliminate carbohydrates.
However, there are many significant differences between these two diets. For starters, the keto diet doesn’t discriminate between plant and animal protein sources. Also, the keto diet involves keeping track of your macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) since excess protein is converted into sugar, removing the body from ketosis. However, the carnivore diet can also be used to get your body into ketosis if you watch your protein intake and don’t go over recommended amounts.
Getting Started With The Carnivore Diet
You need to follow two main rules on the carnivore diet: eat meat and eat until you’re full. There’s no need to count calories since the goal of the diet is to get your body to perform optimally. If you want the extra fat burn that comes with your body being in ketosis, you’ll be better off following a meat-only version of the keto diet.
Some of the foods you should look to pick up from the grocery store when on the carnivore diet include:
- Grass-fed beef
- Animal liver, kidneys, and hearts
- Bone broth
- Animal fats
- Eggs and dairy products (skip for the first few weeks on the diet)
- Meat seasonings
Foods you should strike off your shopping list include:
- Processed foods
- Dairy products with high lactose content
- Soda, fruit juices, and other sweet drinks
The Benefits Of The Carnivore Diet
Now that we’ve gone over how the carnivore diet works, let’s take a detailed look at some of its benefits:
1) Lower Blood Sugar
Many people struggle with blood sugar spikes and the resulting energy spikes due to a considerable portion of their daily diet consisting of carbohydrates. The carnivore diet eliminates sugar from your diet, allowing your blood sugar to even out. As a result, your energy levels are stable throughout the day.
2) Healthier Digestive System
Plants contain many essential nutrients and vitamins but can also disrupt your digestive system. For example, the fibers in plants can lead to bloating and gas. Lectins in foods like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants can upset your stomach. Also, the tannins in many fruits can irritate your stomach.
However, you should keep in mind that any drastic changes to your diet, like switching to the carnivore diet, can lead to similar side effects at first until your body gets used to it.
3) Clearer Mind
Many people on the carnivore diet claim to have sharper minds because of it. Others claim their mental health is improved by consuming only meat and animal products. There’s good reason to believe them since meats contain minerals like iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.
Taking sugars out of your diet improves your mental stamina and energy. Many people on the keto diet also report improved brain function.
4) Heart Health
Meat is rich in vitamin K2, which reduces the calcification of arteries, a significant factor for heart disease. A high-protein diet also helps to reduce bad low-density cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels, protecting against heart disease.
The more stable insulin and glucose you get from eliminating sugar from your meals positively affect your heart health.
5) Reduced Inflammation
Sugar often triggers inflammation in the body, so removing processed foods and vegetables known to cause inflammation, like potatoes and eggplants, may decrease inflammation all over the body. A zero or low-carb diet also reduces the amount of fatty acids that cause inflammation made in the body.
Processed meats can also contain chemicals that promote inflammation, so keep them to a minimum.
6) Helps With Weight Loss
The carnivore diet aims to consume zero carbs, making it an excellent choice for weight loss. Carbs are loaded with lots of calories and starches your body converts into glucose. The diet puts you in ketosis frequently if you don’t overeat, speeding up the weight loss process.
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