Does the Carnivore Diet Work for Everyone?
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Chances are the carnivore diet will work for just about everyone, but we will dive into some of the pitfalls and challenges that seem to stop people from seeing success.
All diets are equal, but some diets are more equal than others.
What I mean by this is that all diets could work for you, but some are much more likely to work for you than others.
A Twinkie diet might work for one one person in a billion, a baked beans diet might work for one person in a million, and the carnivore diet might work for 99 people out of 100 if given the chance.
Or maybe the food pyramid from Harvard School of Public Health will work for some?
But for now, let’s have a look at some of the reasons why the carnivore diet may work for some and fail for others.
What is the carnivore diet?
The carnivore diet I follow might be different from the carnivore diet you follow, as there are not many hard and fast rules. Apart from the obvious.
- You only eat animal products.
- You do not eat plant products.
You can even get further up to speed with these popular articles:
- Can You Drink Alcohol On The Carnivore Diet? (Why and Why not?)
- Top 11 Carnivore Diet Mistakes
- How to Get Electrolytes on a Carnivore Diet: An Essential Guide
Why the carnivore diet should work for you?
Let’s pretend we have never seen a food pyramid before and think logically for ourselves; why would a zero-carb diet help you thrive and not just survive?
Whether you believe in creation, evolution or that you were created to evolve, you have ended up with a digestive system that clearly is better at digesting meat than plants.
We have a highly acidic stomach, a short, small intestine to large intestine ratio, and a large intestine with very limited fermentation capacity.
We, therefore, digest meat and fish a lot better than we digest soybeans and spinach. Your digestive system has to work a lot harder if you are eating a lot of plants, and the harder you work on something, the more likely it will fail.
For history buffs, this book really sheds light on the ancestral perspective of humans and what they ate. Check out:
Humans require 8 essential amino acids. These are all found in animal products, but also, importantly, in the right ratios.
This means as long as you eat enough, you are ensured that you will get all the essential amino acids you need. This is vital for cell repair, maintenance, and building.
You cannot be healthy without adequate consumption of the essential amino acids. (1)
It’s much harder to get the protein you need from plants, as they are rarely complete proteins. This means they do not have all the essential amino acids, and even the ones that do, do not have them in the correct ratios.
According to a recent NCBI published study, “plant-based proteins have less of an anabolic effect than animal proteins due to their lower digestibility, lower essential amino acid content (especially leucine), and deficiency in other essential amino acids, such as sulfur amino acids or lysine.” (2)
So logically speaking, it is inefficient to try to get your protein from plants.
Like protein, there are essential fats that humans need to consume regularly for good health; again, these are all found in animal products in the right ratios.
They also carry fat-soluble vitamins and minerals that are also essential to humans and found in the correct forms.
For example, there is Vitamin A in the liver, and it is said there is Vitamin A in carrots.
Not strictly true; there is a plant version of Vitamin A in carrots which we have to convert into the kind humans can use. This comes at a conversion and efficiency cost.
Meaning you are getting a lot less Vitamin A from a carrot than you think you are getting.
This is why animal products like beef are so great; they are like nature’s original ready meal. It comes complete with pretty much everything you need; all you have to do is eat a steak.
Eating ancestrally makes sense, doesn’t it? The problem is people might think grains are ancestral because we have been eating them for 10,000 years, or tubers are ancestral; the true ancestral diet, in my opinion, is… when we could, we prioritized meat and fish if we were starving and needed to stay alive until we found some more meat, then we would eat plants.
We now live in a world where most people prioritize plants over meat, and we are the fattest and sickest we have ever been.
When you eat ancestrally, you balance out your hormones, balanced hormones are a sign your body is working correctly and efficiently, and all this means you are at a lower risk of disease.
Humans have not evolved to be the apex predators on the planet by being fat and sick. It is not our natural state.
However, it seems to be becoming more and more common that people are having diseases related to chronically elevated hormones such as insulin and cortisol.
Diabetes has been the prime example, as it is caused by insulin resistance.
If carnivore is so great, why can it fail people?
This may trigger some people, but the carnivore diet rarely fails people… it is people that fail the carnivore diet.
I am not suggesting this is all people all the time, but a fair generalization in my opinion.
A lot of people simply don’t give it time. It is a huge change going from a standard western diet to a carnivore diet. You need to give it chance to work.
Not only is time important, but you may also actually feel worse in the beginning.
Some people just don’t have the mental fortitude to put the hard work in and work through the issues.
Sugar is a drug, and just like some people can’t give up coffee or smoking easily, they can’t get themselves through the carnivore transition period.
It is the fault of modern humans, where we expect instant results without having to work for it.
Don’t believe me, just look at the marketing for things like 7-minute Abs or Lose 21 pounds in 7 days. Carnivore is more about giving your body what it needs then letting it do its thing.
Whilst it is a very effective weight-loss tool, for example, who are you to demand a certain weight loss by a certain time. You have likely abused your body for decades but want positive changes in days.
Frankly, the western world is not really set up for carnivores. On top of this, it is something that your family and friends are unlikely to be receptive to and may even be hostile to.
Whilst I wouldn’t say sticking to a carnivore is hard, it does require you to make some adjustments in your life and lifestyle.
Unfortunately, some people just can’t make these adjustments or stick to them long term, so they say carnivore isn’t for them or it didn’t work.
We have seen pushes for a planetary diet recently from EATLancet, and let’s be frank, it was a garbage plant-based philosophy hidden in plain sight written by biased doctors and serious conflicts of interest.
I will not even dignify it with a hyperlink.
The funny thing is the Carnivore Diet is as close to a healthy planetary diet as you can get if you were truly interested in people’s health and the environment.
Fresh meat and fish are highly nutritious, and highly bioavailable, and nearly everyone can tolerate them with very few drawbacks.
So, if you wanted a diet that improved the health of the vast majority of the planet with the fewest issues, then it would be a meat-based diet and cooking on less toxic pans and skillets.
I say eat meat-based, as there could be room for a bit of human variability and common sense with a little bit of re-education.
For example, there are huge differences between having some raspberries with cream when they are in season. Compared to having a glass of orange juice with your breakfast every day.
There IS human variability when it comes to diet, but I think it is smaller than people think. On a meat-based diet, you can basically tolerate all animal products.
Assuming you don’t have a meat allergy or an egg allergy which is possible. (3) (4)
You just have to tweak what you eat for it to be optimal; some people may do better without eggs and dairy, some people are nutrient deficient, so may need to eat nose to tail for a while, and some feel like they have more energy on a higher protein %, some feel better on a higher fat %.
These are all just little tweaks, though.
On a standard western diet or plant-based diet, there is a much greater range of variability, and most people will never know what it feels like to thrive.
Does everyone need to be carnivore? No.
Are humans better at digesting meat than plants? Yes.
Would everyone not on a carnivore diet benefit from increasing their animal product consumption and decreasing their plant consumption, specifically grains, seed oils, and sugar? Almost definitely.
Where do we go now?
Keep educating yourself about diet and nutrition. Over time you will be able to understand the many benefits of the carnivore diet and when you understand the problems with plant-based foods, it’s even easier to stay clear of them.
I highly recommend this book by Dr. Shawn Baker, “The Carnivore Diet.” It’s a great starting point, and the book is put together and organized nicely.
Next, subscribe to our Wild Lumens YouTube channel. Here you will find tons of carnivore-related content and recipes.
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. This is not medical advice.