Well, if keto diet was your jam, then you are totally going to dig the carnivore diet. Keto diet in overdrive, the carnivore diet restricts everything that keto does. However, what you can eat is restricted to just animal products. This too, like the keto diet, follows a zero-carb approach to losing weight.
Health Shots got in touch with dietitian Garima Goyal, who gave us a lowdown on the carnivore diet. Here’s all that you can and cannot eat!
The carnivore diet is an extreme form of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that focuses solely on animal-derived foods. “This diet primarily consists of animal products, particularly meat. Followers of this diet typically avoid all plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. The idea is to exclusively consume animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, and sometimes dairy. The rationale behind this diet is rooted in the belief that humans evolved as carnivores and that plant foods can contribute to health issues,” explains Goyal.
The carnivore diet is a highly restrictive diet and may lack certain essential nutrients found in plant-based foods
Low-carb diets can be very restrictive in nature, but there are ways to make them interesting as well. “In the carnivore diet, the focus is on consuming animal products, while strictly excluding plant-based foods,” says Goyal. Beef, pork, lamb, game meats, and other animal meats are staples. In poultry, chicken, turkey, and other fowl are permitted. All types of fish and seafood are generally included. “Eggs, preferably from pasture-raised or free-range sources, are allowed. Some versions of the carnivore diet permit high-fat dairy products like butter and cheese, but others exclude dairy,” explains Goyal.
Plant-based foods and fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds need to be avoided. Processed foods containing additives or artificial ingredients should be avoided. “Steer clear of all forms of sugar, including natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup,” says Goyal.
Scrambled eggs cooked in butter, Bacon or sausage
Grilled steak or beef patties, Chicken thighs or wings
Beef jerky or pork rinds
Baked salmon or other fatty fish, Pork chops or ribs
Water (still or sparkling), Black coffee or tea (optional)
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Some proponents of this claim certain benefits, though it’s important to note that the scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited and the diet has potential risks, says Goyal.
We know the effect lack of protein has on our body weight. Well this diet doesn’t have that issue at all. Also, diet’s restrictive nature may lead to reduced calorie intake, potentially resulting in weight loss, at least in the short term.
For those who find it challenging to navigate food choices or have sensitivities to certain food groups, the simplicity of the carnivore diet may make meal planning easier.
The diet is naturally high in animal proteins, which are essential for muscle maintenance, repair, and various physiological functions.
Eliminating certain plant foods may provide relief for individuals with specific digestive issues, although this is highly individualized.
The scientific basis for this diet is relatively limited, and there are potential health risks associated with its extreme restriction of plant-based foods.
Excluding plant foods may lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins (like vitamin C), minerals (like potassium), and various phytonutrients that contribute to overall health.
The absence of fibre from plant foods may impact digestive health, potentially leading to issues such as constipation.
A diet high in red and processed meats, as often seen in the carnivore diet, is associated with an increased intake of saturated fats, which may negatively impact cardiovascular health.
Plant-based foods contribute to a diverse gut microbiome, which is linked to various aspects of health. The long-term effects of a diet devoid of plant fibres on the microbiome are not well-understood.
There is a lack of long-term studies on the carnivore diet, and its effects on health, particularly in terms of chronic diseases, are not well-established.