It seems that not a week goes by without a new type of diet hitting the headlines.
One you may have heard of is the carnivore diet, a regime based — unsurprisingly — on meat.
We’re going to take a look at the carnivore diet in this article, helping you to understand more about its benefits and potential risks, and how to follow it safely yourself at home.
What is the carnivore diet?
The simple way to describe the carnivore diet is that it’s one based solely on meat, with some people also adding animal-derived products like eggs and milk. This means that it’s naturally high in protein and contains zero carbohydrates.
People who have already tried the paleo diet, also known as the “caveman diet”, may follow the carnivore diet as their next step. The paleo diet includes grass-fed meat, wild seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables and eliminates legumes, grains, dairy and added sugar, with the belief that it aids weight loss and reduces the risk of a number of health conditions.
It’s also popular with followers of the ketogenic diet, which is a very high fat, moderate protein and very low carbohydrate regime. It means the body has to burn fat rather than carbohydrates, and it is believed to support weight loss and a range of health issues, including epilepsy.
Just like the two types of diets mentioned, the carnivore diet is believed to aid weight loss in combination with increased physical activity.
Because it’s high in protein, which makes you feel fuller for longer, it makes sense that this type of diet can help eliminate the risk of snacking between meals or overeating.
And like the keto diet, the carnivore diet is believed to help your body enter a state of ketosis. This means that your body burns fat rather than carbohydrates for energy, so the diet is popular with anyone who is trying to lose weight.
The carnivore diet can also be used as an elimination diet. So if you have unidentified food intolerances, you can try the carnivore diet for a set period and then reintroduce foods one at a time to discover which doesn’t agree with you.
Indeed, there have been some high-profile cases of people experiencing improvements to their health while following the carnivore diet. Canadian podcaster Mikhaila Peterson has documented how she followed an elimination diet to manage autoimmune and mood disorders. This led to her only consuming beef, salt and water for a period — and finding that her symptoms relating to rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety and depression disappeared.
And a study by researchers from Harvard University published in 2021 (1) looked at the experience of more than 2,000 people who had followed the carnivore diet. 98% reported an improvement in their diabetes symptoms, 97% reported improved gastrointestinal symptoms and 93% said it helped with weight loss.
Know the risks…
If you’re thinking of embarking on the carnivore diet, you should also know about the potential risks.
For example, when you eat too much protein, your blood sugar and insulin levels may increase. This means that ketosis won’t work. To mitigate this, you can try taking fat with your protein by including tallow, eggs, butter or cheese. But bear in mind also that too much fat may negatively impact your health.
You also need to be aware that if you cut out fruit and vegetables from your diet, you run the risk of getting low in vitamins like C and E, which support your immune health and your body’s ability to ward off environmental damage, and vitamin B9, also known as folate, which is essential for red blood cell formation and healthy cell development.
It’s also important to know that the carnivore diet means you will lack fibre, which is important for your digestive health, that eating large quantities of protein can put a strain on your kidneys and that research has shown that a diet in red and/or processed meats can be linked to cancer (2).
A diet that focuses on one food group only is not considered a balanced one. Know that the World Health Organization defines a healthy diet as one that draws from a range of food groups and includes fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains.
What should I do if I want to start the carnivore diet?
You should consult your doctor before embarking on the carnivore diet to know whether it’s safe for you to follow on a short-term basis.
It is not considered safe for people living with kidney or cardiovascular disease, or people with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
And because there is no long- or short-term research on the effects of the carnivore diet, it’s not advised to follow it for an extended period.
Indeed, you may find it useful to follow just for a short period to help with weight loss or to help identify foods that you are intolerant to.
Carnivore diet food list
Clearly, the main focus of the carnivore diet is meat, but you can include other animal products too. Here are the foods that you can eat according to the carnivore diet:
- Bone marrow
- Bone broth
- Salt and pepper
- Gravy or sauce made only with meat drippings and butter or ghee
Some people also include:
- Tea and coffee
- Herbs and spices
And these foods are not permitted on the carnivore diet:
Put simply, you can include foods that are meat, fish or poultry or derivatives of these products in your diet.
What else do I need to know about choosing food for the carnivore diet?
When you’re choosing meat to help you follow the carnivore diet, remember that free-range and grass-fed meat is always best. It’s the only type of meat that Provenir sells because it’s the best!
Our meat is free-range because this way, the animal gets to live the most natural and low-stress life possible, making this method of farming meat the most ethical way to go.
And we only sell grass-fed, grass -finished beef because its health benefits are well-known (3). Meat from grass-fed animals contains less total fat than grain-fed beef yet has more omega-3, known for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is understood to regulate cholesterol levels and may aid weight loss.
Provenir Carnivore Boxes
Grass-fed beef also contains more vitamin E and other antioxidants, and it is free of the added antibiotics and hormones you often find in meat derived from intensively reared, grain-fed animals.
To make it super easy, Provenir offers carnivore boxes with a variety of meat products for you to enjoy.
There’s the Carnivore Starter Grass-finished Beef Box, containing cuts of meat, sausages, offal, bone marrow and tallow, ideal for anyone starting out on the diet.
If after trying the starter box you want to pursue the carnivore diet, we suggest moving on to the Carnivore Power Grass-finished Beef Box, packed full of quality free-range meat products.
And for maximum value for money, try the Carnivore Grass-finished Beef Box – Super Saver, containing a generous selection of our beef products.
Choose the best for your carnivore diet
The carnivore diet has a growing number of followers, who are convinced that it offers weight loss and symptoms reduction in a way that other diets can’t achieve.
If you would like to try out this diet, make sure you consult with your doctor — while it’s safe for many healthy people for a short period, there may be reasons why it’s not suitable for you.
And to get maximum benefit from the carnivore diet, make sure you choose the best quality free-range and grass-fed beef — not only is it healthier, but it’s tastier and more ethical too!
You can even get it delivered straight to your door from Provenir. Check your postcode to find out if you live in our delivery area, and let us do the rest!
(1) Lennerz B, Mey J, Henn O, Ludwig D. ‘Behavioral Characteristics and Self-Reported Health Status among 2029 Adults Consuming a “Carnivore Diet,’ Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 5, Issue 12, December 2021, nzab133, https://doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzab133.
(2) Diallo A, Deschasaux M, Latino-Martel P, Hercberg S, Galan P, Fassier P, Allès B, Guéraud F, Pierre F, Touvier M. ‘Red and processed meat intake and cancer risk: Results from the prospective NutriNet-Santé cohort study,’ International Journal of Cancer, 2018 Jan 15;142(2):230-237. doi: 10.1002/ijc.31046.
(3) Healthline website, “Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed Beef — What’s the Difference?”. Updated 4 December 2019.