Can You Drink Tea On the Carnivore Diet? (Why and Why Not?)
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs. You can read our complete legal information for more details. By using this site, you agree the information contained here is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, consult your doctor. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.
So you are interested in the carnivore diet, but you have a habit or addiction to tea. Plus, we assume and hear that tea is good for us. You know, it has antioxidants and cancer-reducing elements! So, should you eliminate it from your carnivore diet?
The easy answer is yes, as the carnivore diet gets rid of all plant-based foods and beverages, and tea qualifies as such. The further your dig, the more you will see how the answer is nuanced.
The cool thing, though, is that the main reason to start or practice the carnivore diet is to get healthy and maintain optimal energy so that you can thrive in life and reduce the chances of getting a food-related disease.
This is a hot topic and very debatable, so let’s look at “the goods” and “the bads” so you can make the decision on whether to keep tea in your diet or not.
But first, if you are new to the Carnivore Diet…
Carnivore Diet Thought Process
The carnivore diet is essentially the diet of elimination. The reason the diet is so beneficial for many people is due to eliminating plant-based foods.
Most plant-based foods cause problems for people, such as autoimmune disorders, digestive issues, food sensitivity, mental health problems, and certain diseases.
By going carnivore, you get rid of all the crap in your diet like sugar, processed foods, grains, flour, soy, GMO products, and artificial sweeteners, just to name a few.
For a more in-depth look at the Carnivore Diet, check out our post, “Carnivore Diet 101: A Meaty Resource.”
Oh, and if you have questions about alcohol and coffee, we nailed those topics as well!
- 11 Reasons to Quit Alcohol on a Carnivore Diet (#2 is Scary)
- Can You Drink Coffee On The Carnivore Diet? (Why and Why not?)
Good Things About Tea
Tea has been studied thoroughly over the past decades.
Some researchers try to tie in the correlation that tea is associated with longer lifespans as they look at countries and cities with high tea consumption.
A lot of the time, you will see places such as Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore brought up.
These countries all have the highest lifespans among their populations, and they also consume the highest amounts of tea.
One should also note that these countries eat a ton of meat; in fact, Hong Kong (not a country but a large city) eats the most meat per person and also enjoys the highest life expectancy.
Perhaps Meat and Tea is the healthiest combination.
But not so fast. A lot of the studies and research done on tea are based on epidemiology.
Epidemiology can’t prove causation as the studies are not controlled but rather in simplest terms, they are the gathering and assessment of questionnaires of large groups of people.
Dr. Geogria Ede destroys the idea of using epidemiology when it comes to food and nutrition. I strongly recommend her article at Diagnosis Diet.
Possible Reasons Tea Could Be a Healthy Beverage
- Polyphenols: Polyphenols are micronutrients that are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants are thought to neutralize free radicals in your body. Free radicals are associated with disease and aging. Perhaps on a carnivore diet with fewer free radicals, you won’t age as quickly? Be careful: it is said that consuming high concentrations of polyphenols can decrease the amount of iron your body absorbs.
- Amino Acids: Some teas, like green and white teas, have an amino acid called L-theanine. This amino acid is said to help with boosting alpha wave activity in the brain.
- Caffeine: Caffeine is considered a nootropic and psychoactive drug. It is the most consumed stimulant on the planet as it blocks certain receptors in the brain, which in turn helps with alertness and cognitive function.
Good Things Researchers and Doctors Say About Tea
Researchers have looked at studies and hypothesized that when people drank black tea, it reduced their chances of a heart attack. When it came to green tea, they found it reduced total cholesterol. (2) (3)
…but if you follow Dr. Shawn Baker and other cholesterol specialists, you will see that low cholesterol is not necessarily a good thing. In fact, this study indicates lipid levels are inversely associated with infectious and all-cause mortality.
I highly recommend Dr. Shawn Baker’s book, “The Carnivore Diet.”
Some researchers believe the polyphenols in tea have the potential of preventing cancer, specifically compounds called catechins. (4)
What I have found, though, is that there is a lot of conflicting data and research on this, so take it with a grain of salt.
Japanese researchers stated back in 2010 that tea optimizes the PH factor in your mouth, which in turn reduces the destruction of enamel and overgrowth of certain bacteria that is known to the speed of tooth loss. (5)
This one sounds like a marketing gimmick, and if you are going on a carnivore diet, you will most likely not need any help from tea, but I figured I put it in this post for extra info.
The studies that showed weight loss due to tea consumption used concentrated extracts which is a lot different than drinking some homebrew. (6)
Just be cautious when people try to sell you on this idea.
Since tea has caffeine, a lot of bodybuilders and athletes use it as a pre-workout. It’s like a “pick me up” to get through and dominate your workout.
My only pre-workout drink is Redmond Electrolytes. This way, I know I’m getting high-quality salt and electrolytes into my system without sugar. Plus, they offer our readers a 15% discount with this link…or type WILD at checkout.
In fact, a lot of pre-workout supplements are packed with caffeine. I figure a cup of tea is probably healthier with fewer additives, chemicals, and sweeteners.
White, Green and Black Teas
There are many variations of teas, and each type has different quantities of nutrients and caffeine. For instance, white tea and green tea are said to be minimally processed (an oxidation process), which tends to allow them the highest amount of polyphenols and antioxidants.
The less a tea is oxidized, the less caffeine it will have. Black tea is higher in oxidation and thus has the highest amount of caffeine.
Caffeine in Tea
- White Tea 20-55 milligrams
- Green Tea 30-80 milligrams
- Oolong Tea 50-70 milligrams
- Black Tea 60-90 milligrams
Also note that caffeine levels are affected not only by oxidation but also by steeping, kinds of tea grades, and ways that farmers grow it.
Herbal tea is counterfeit tea; it’s fake. It’s basically a blend of fruits, flowers, or herbs and does not contain any caffeine. These are technically not true teas. The real teas all come from the Camellia Sinensis plant.
Bad things About Tea
As I said above, if you are on the carnivore diet, chances are your body is going to get most of the benefits or relief from the process of plant elimination.
Tea, being a plant-based beverage, still may have elements that will negatively affect your diet and health.
All plants have their own way of protecting themselves from critters that want to eat them, which are known as pesticides.
Plants generate their own pesticides to repel bugs, viruses, bacteria, and humans. Many plants are deadly if consumed. Tea has its own small amount of pesticides which may be an irritant to your body.
By eliminating tea, you eliminate the risk of further irritation.
Caffeine is a drug, an upper, and it can have a negative impact on your health. If you take too much, it can increase anxiety, give you jitters, make you sweat, and turn sleep into a challenge.
It also messes with your cortisol levels which can drop your energy in the late afternoons and also disrupt your sleep patterns.
Another note on caffeine is that it is also in the pesticide category and is a neurotoxin to certain animals and bugs.
The Journal of Toxicology (in 2013) released a report which found 30 teas as having high levels of lead. (7)
Lead is not good for you as it is associated with mental problems, heart problems, and reproductive and kidney problems.
One other point, I talk about gluten contamination and why it’s one of the Top 11 Carnivore Diet mistakes.
Research done in 2013 found that economy teas (cheap tea) had high levels of fluoride as compared with more expensive brands. Consuming too much fluoride is bad for your brain, teeth, bones, and joints. (8)
There was a study that showed out of 44 different tea samples, 38 tested positive for pyrrolizidine alkaloids. (9)
These alkaloids can cause liver problems and really are not good for pregnant or locating women as they can pass them to the baby or fetus.
Dr. Paul Saladino drops serious chemistry and plant knowledge in his best-selling book, “The Carnivore Code.” Add that book to your bookshelf ASAP!
Nonorganic farmers use pesticides on their crops, and chances are some of those pesticides will end up in your tea.
Familiar with the Monsanto lawsuits against them for their use of glyphosate? The class-action lawsuit ended up costing Monsanto 2 Billion dollars and destroyed many lives.
It’s a nasty pesticide that does major damage to humans. Just be aware that nonorganic teas can have similar pesticides with similar health outcomes.
Some Thoughts On Quitting
Here is my philosophy on the carnivore diet. If you are truly looking for some health benefits and want to see if this diet is good for you, then why not try to eliminate tea?
From what I have seen and experienced, there is a good chance you will have tremendous benefits. Perhaps giving your body the opportunity to heal without the nuisance of tea is a good thing.
We go a little deeper in this article which may help motivate you, even more, to put the cup down.
If you are addicted to tea and caffeine, I totally understand.
Some carnivore diet people have said that eliminating tea after 30 days on the diet is a better idea because you will most likely gotten past the keto flu stage.
What’s the keto flu stage?
This is where your body is adapting to running off of meat as energy instead of sugars and carbs. Most people experience headaches, irritability, and brain fog for a few days or weeks until adapted.
If you try to take out caffeine, chances are this will amplify the flu-like symptoms.
The keto and carnivore flu is such a bummer that we wrote an article on the possible remedies.
Simply put, I like the carnivore diet, and I have had some great results. I think the cool thing about going carnivore is the people out there that are spreading a good message.
They are basically like, “do whatever works for you.” If the benefits of tea outweigh the negatives, then by all means, keep at it.
If you quit tea for a few months and see benefits then perhaps staying off it is better.
All in all, do what you think is right for you. You have some info now that will help you make the better decision.
The carnivore diet isn’t easy, but if you have someone to talk to and help guide you, it can be a tad less difficult. Right now, I am a Carnivore Diet Coach for Dr. Shawn Bakers’ group MeatRX. You can book a coaching session with me here.
Also, check us out on our YouTube channel for tips and inspiration. While you are there, hit subscribe and drop a comment, and we will get back to you!
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Consult with and ask your doctor about any diet or medical-related questions. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.
- The Problem with Epidemiological Studies
- An Overview of Research on the Potential Health Benefits of Tea
- Green tea may lower heart disease risk
- Tea polyphenols for health promotion
- A Review on Kombucha Tea—Microbiology, Composition, Fermentation, Beneficial Effects, Toxicity, and Tea Fungus
- The effects of green tea consumption on metabolic and anthropometric indices in patients with Type 2 diabetes
- The Benefits and Risks of Consuming Brewed Tea: Beware of Toxic Element Contamination
8. Potential fluoride toxicity from oral medicaments: A review