At it’s core, the carnivore diet is a high-protein, no-carb diet. While eating more protein and limiting carbs (especially refined varieties) can be a healthy choice for some, the carnivore diet takes this notion to the extreme.
The carnivore diet shares similarities with other popular dietary patterns. Consumer surveys from the past two years indicate that approaches such as keto, low carb, and high protein are in high demand, and the diet fits within specific components of these dietary patterns, specifically, very low carbohydrate and high protein.
But is it really safe to only eat animal products and no carbohydrates? Here’s what you need to know about the diet.
What is the carnivore diet?
The carnivore diet originated from a 2019 book by Dr. Shawn Baker. In his book (and website), Dr. Baker shares stories of patients who have incorporated the diet and found success in managing or reversing autoimmune conditions and/or diabetes. Baker also provides evidence for its use as a weight-loss approach and mental-health tool. Additionally, the book provides recipes, meal plans and tools for incorporating the diet into your routine.
The dietary pattern eliminates plants and relies on animal products (mainly meat, eggs and small amounts of dairy) as its only source of nourishment. Advocates of the diet provide anecdotal evidence that the diet can help you lose weight, improve your metabolic numbers, and even reverse certain autoimmune conditions; however, the scientific evidence on the diet’s benefits is lacking.
Carnivore diet food list
On the diet, you will eat:
Carnivore diet risks
Adopting a carnivore diet means giving up fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and unsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil. It’s restrictive, and because of that, it may not be sustainable long term.
A 2023 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that extreme dietary habits could negatively impact mortality risk. Though the study focused mainly on carbohydrate and fat intake, the authors noted that more balanced approaches to diet had a better impact on long-term health.
Since the diet lacks sources from plants, a primary source of fiber and antioxidants, individuals on the…