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Nature & Science

Things You Need To Know About The Carnivore Diet

Image Source: Rimma Bondarenko / Shutterstock

The Carnivore diet is an intensified version of the popular paleo and keto diets. It is a strict eating plan centered around meat. Some variations of the diet involve minimal carb consumption, focusing on eggs, meat, and limited dairy, while the most extreme version consists of eating only beef, salt, and water. While some people adopt this diet to reduce their carb intake, others do it as a protest against vegans who claim that meat consumption contributes to the earth’s carbon footprint. However, there is limited scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of this diet plan. Nonetheless, some individuals have reported weight loss within the first few weeks of following it. Alleged benefits of the carnivore diet include reduced inflammation, weight loss, lower blood pressure, and increased libido.

While meat contains essential vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium, and protein, it lacks important macro and micronutrients like vitamins A, C, E, D, and K, as well as folate, manganese, and calcium. Although eggs and organ meat can provide some of these nutrients, they are not sufficient on their own. Nutritionists criticize the carnivore diet due to the potential health consequences it may have. One such consequence is scurvy, a disease caused by Vitamin C deficiency. Additionally, the lack of fiber in a meat-centric diet can compromise gastrointestinal health. At its worst, the carnivore diet has been associated with an increased risk of severe colon cancer, estimated to be between 20 to 28 percent, according to Rachele Pojednic, an assistant professor of Nutrition at Simmons University.

Contrary to claims of being anti-inflammatory, nutritionists argue that an all-meat diet does not promote the growth of beneficial gut microbes. Consumption of red meat has been linked to Type 2 diabetes, kidney failure, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. Despite the warnings from experts, many individuals continue to embrace the carnivore diet. Notably, individuals like Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson attribute their health improvements, such as relief from gastric reflux, depression, psoriasis, anxiety, gingivitis, numbness, and eye floaters, to strict adherence to a diet of beef, salt, and water.

Peterson’s example highlights the association of the carnivore diet with right-wing politics. Many individuals who adopt this diet do so as a symbolic protest against veganism, rather than for its health benefits. Recently, there has been a push to reduce red meat consumption as part of efforts to address climate change. For instance, a collaboration between non-profit organization EAT and the English medical journal The Lancet published a diet plan aimed at improving human health and creating sustainable food systems. This plan includes decreased red meat consumption in European, American, and other developed countries. However, right-wing individuals continue to promote meat consumption as a way to push back against these environmental policies. Overall, the carnivore diet appears to be more of a political statement than a nutritional and ecological stance.

Image Source: Rimma Bondarenko / Shutterstock

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