A relatively new and interesting approach to Nutritional Science that has become topical of late, is that of the Carnivore Diet. This is a way of eating in which only animal products are consumed- no plants. In essence, the equation for a Carnivore Diet is Animal + Water = Health. By its very nature, this protocol is a variation of a ketogenic programme in that animal meat and organs are high in fat and protein and consumption is void of all grains, carbohydrates from vegetables and sugars.
This may sound absurd- especially considering the phytonutrients, fibre and goodness that we know vegetables contain. But as with all approaches to nutrition, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and for some people, plant toxins can be particularly straining on the body and lead to a number of diseases that we may not be aware of. Our bodies all react in different ways, and for some of us, a carnivore-only approach may be one that is harmonious for your body type.
Why the Carnivore Diet?
The Carnivore Diet rose to stardom when orthopedic surgeon, athlete and author, Shawn Baker, shared his nutritional approach to setting 2 world records for indoor rowing whilst eating only animal products. Shawn is in his 50’s and is a picture of ripped health. Colleagues in the health professions industry- Dr Saladino and Dr Gundry– are both medical doctor protagonists of a Carnivore protocol as they have treated and reversed lifelong autoimmune and mental health issues with the Carnivore Diet. In addition to this, their clients have successfully used the Carnivore Diet to treat and resolve:
- Gut issues
- Skin conditions such as Psoriasis
- Blood glucose control
- The reversal of metabolic syndrome
- The reversal of diabetes
- The treatment of arthritis
To really appreciate the benefits of a Carnivore lifestyle, I would recommend viewing some of the hundreds of testimonials on meatheals.com. The lifestyle improvements in health as experienced by people who have adopted a Carnivore way of life, is astounding. The list is endless but clients have noted the benefits of:
- Weight loss
- Lowered inflammation
- Improved heart health
- Higher testosterone
- Reduced gut irritability
- Simpler eating
- Increased mental clarity and mood
- Increased libido
- Improved blood pressure
Where do my nutrients come from if I’m not eating veggies?
Over the Nutritional Science Series I have often referenced back to ancestral methodologies. And the same applies here. Our ancestors hunted and consumed animals from the moment they were on the earth- animals were the one, ‘reliable’ constant source of nutrition when seasonal changes and rainfall patterns may have impacted the availability of berries, seeds and other vegetation. And our ancestors thrived well! They did not get scurvy or damage their kidneys by a meat-predominant diet… claims that are often lobbied against a Carnivore way of life.
One of the little-known facts about animal foods is that they actually DO contain vitamin C and fresh meat is often given to those with scurvy to cure it! What is important however is how you consume your animal products.
The anthropologic works of Vilhjalmur Stefansson indicates that our ancestors ate and used the ENTIRE animal after a successful hunt. This is what we call nose-to-tail eating and most certainly includes the prime cuts of ribeye or high-quality fillet, but also includes organ meats and connective tissue which is a good source of collagen. By consuming in this way, this gives good consideration to the fat to protein ratio which is important. In particular, the organ meat of livers and brain include good amounts of vitamin C and liver has the added benefit of large amounts of carotenal which is an important precursor to vitamin A. One of the greatest protagonists of a Carnivore way of life is a researcher who publishes insights under the alias of Carnivore Aurelius. In his work, he notes: “Meat and animal products have the most and most bioavailable form of every nutrient. If the entire world was on the carnivore diet, there would be no nutrient deficiencies.” This is quite a statement, but one which does cause some contemplation and reflection when reviewing the science behind the nutrient profile of meat.
Contrary to belief therefore, animal foods are incredibly nutrient rich and because of this, are very satiating. This is why those who support a Carnivore way of life, have noted its far easier to lose weight as meat is satiating and the nutrients in meat are bioavailable and so hunger levels are minimised.
In our following blog, we will review how best to follow a Carnivore progamme and what to include in your eating regime.