How does the Carnivore Diet Work? (Weight Loss, Energy, Less Disease?)

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Big fatty steak ready to cook for the carnivore diet.

The carnivore diet has taken the planet by storm and has been adopted by many people. Some of these people were healthy, to begin with, and just want to optimize their life.

However, many people are not healthy and suffering from food-related diseases, weight problems, and lack of energy. This diet and lifestyle may offer a solution for them.

But how and why could an all meat diet be beneficial?

After diving through the internet, reading books and testing the diet out myself I’ve come up with some theories on why and how the carnivore diet works to heal people.

New to the carnivore diet? It’s a rather simple diet, perhaps the easiest diet out there. You basically eat only meat, drink only water, and sometimes sprinkle salt on your food.

For a very in-depth look at the diet take a check out at this post, “Carnivore Diet 101: A Meaty Resource”.

Also I highly recommend these two books by two doctors that are highly respected in the carnivore diet space.

Nutrition of Meat

Meat, hands down, is the most nutritious food we humans can eat. Our digestive system was built to thrive on meat!

Human bodies need meat, as the components within meat are used as building blocks. It’s the brick and mortar for our body.

In order to function properly our bodies make hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, etc., and the nutrients in meat is needed for all of these.

If you have been eating a diet lacking meat, chances are you are missing out on essential amino acids, vitamins, and nutrients. Adding a massive amount of meat back into your diet is allowing your body to thrive again and help mitigate all the nutrient deficiencies you may have. This could be a potential way to get energy back into your life.

Steak with the elimination of all other foods.

Food Sensitivities and The Eliminating Factor

Are you sensitive? I mean is your body sensitive to certain foods? A lot of people have food sensitivities and they are not even aware of it. (Including me.)

When I first realized my digestion and body wasn’t functioning properly I began working with a functional medicine doctor. One of the first protocols he put me on was an elimination diet which in turn is pretty much what the carnivore diet is.

The first thing he removed from my diet was FODMAPS. FODMAPS stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides and Polyols. It’s basically a bunch of crap people are sensitive to that wreak havoc on their insides.

These fancy names are molecules from mostly plants that are hard for some people to digest and not easy to absorb.

When these molecules are not absorbed properly in the small intestine they end up in the large intestine where bacteria feeds off them and in return a fermentation process begins.

The kicker is that fermented FODMAPS create irritable bowel syndrome symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, gas, abdominal pain, nausea, and bloating to name a few.

eliminate lentils when on the carnivore diet.

Do you eat FODMAPS?

Here is a list of some examples of foods with FODMAPS:

  • Excess Fructose: Corn Syrup, Apples, Pears, Honey
  • Fructans: Barley, Rye, Wheat, Onions Artichoke
  • Lactose: Dairy products like milk, ice cream and certain cheeses
  • Galacto Oligososaccharides: Lentils, Legumes, Chickpeas
  • Polyols: Prunes, Plums, Pears, Apricots, Mushrooms, Sorbitol, Mannitol, Xylitol, etc.
A variety of nightshades.

What About Nightshades?

Nightshades are a nasty class of plant matter that is toxic for some people. They are known to increase or cause symptoms relating to IBS, Arthritis, and Fibromyalgia.

Here is a list of examples of nightshades:

  • Peppers
  • Tobacco
  • Potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes

You probably looked at that list and thought all those are good for you except the tobacco, right? That’s what we were brought up to assume.

How could these be bad for us and cause health problems?

Nightshades are great at producing their own pesticides called glycoalkaloids.

These plant produced pesticides fight off bugs, bacteria, fungus, and even viruses. Glycoalkaloids also have been shown to kill cell membranes and mitochondria.

Some scientists have hypothesized that they could potentially be one of the causes of leaky gut syndrome as they are able to poke holes in cells. (1)

To further study Nightshades check out Dr. Georgia Ede’s article called “How deadly are nightshades?”

As you can see by going all meat you are essentially getting rid of all the culprits responsible for some major diseases and nasty symptoms. (2)

The carnivore diet is the ultimate elimination diet.

doughnuts and snacks.

Insatiable Appetite for Snacks Syndrome aka IASS

I just made that up but while I was listening to a YouTube video a doctor brought up the idea that “hyper palatability” plays a role in eating poorly.

Think about this, when you go out to dinner and eat a variety of different foods it seems you never get full and will have room for more.

For example, there is always room for desert.

Why don’t you get satiated as easily?

The theory is that each food has such drastic differences in tastes, I mean you can go from something salty to something sweet to something bitter.

Each change in taste seems to allow you to eat more and set up potential cravings in the future. This way of eating totally trips out our bodies and as a result, it’s hard to regulate appetite.

What combats over eating and cravings?

Chances are if you were to eat a steak or a couple of burgers (no buns, lettuce or toppings, only meat), you will get satiated and your body will tell you when you are full.

Eating an all-meat meal makes it difficult to overeat and your body will throw in the towel for you.

This is what happened to me when I was on the diet. After a few weeks and getting acclimated I noticed when I would have a meal I would get satiated quicker and not want to eat anything else, in fact, all my cravings went away.

I can walk past the snacks at my place of work without a hint of craving.

Meat seems to solve the challenge of hyper palatability. Eating for pleasure is kicked out and eating for health is embraced with open arms. Another potential reason why the carnivore diet works with weight loss.

wheat and fiber on a grey board.

Less Fiber May Heal The Gut

Fiber, fiber, fiber. Eat more fiber and be healthy! Not so fast. Our contemporary society has been programmed to believe fiber is essential for good health and even used to lower cholesterol.

Remember Cheerios and other cereals marketing those health benefit claims?

While reading “GAPS Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Natasha Cambell-McBride she mentioned, “a diet high in fiber from grains, (bran and breakfast cereals in particular) has a profound negative effect on the gut flora, gut health and general body metabolism, predisposing the person to IBS, bowel cancer, nutritional deficiencies, and many other problems. Fruit and vegetables provide a better quality of fiber that is not harsh for the digestive system.”

Here’s the deal. The theory is that fiber is actually not all it’s cracked up to be. It can be more of a nuisance that may irritate Diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis is the inflammation and swelling of small punches within the intestines. Sometimes this can be bad for you.

Even WebMD had a write-up and said the following, “the thinking has been that by keeping patients regular, a high-fiber diet can keep diverticula from forming. But the new study suggests the opposite may be true.” (3)

Another crazy thing fiber does is help feed bacteria in the gut and some of that bacteria are not the good ones but rather the ones that are attributed to causing those IBS and Autoimmune Symptoms.

When you go all meat you are essentially giving your digestive tract a major break and in return the ability to heal. Years of eating high fiber could have created irritation and fed the bad bugs in your gut.

A lot of functional medicine doctors will recommend the elimination diet to help give your intestines a break and the ultimate elimination diet is Carnivore.

A selection of different spinach and salad items.

Less Plants Equals Less Stress

Plants are good at stressing your body out. What does this mean? All plants have their own pesticides, their own way of protecting themselves from things that want to eat them.

When humans ingest plants we are eating their pesticides which in turn stresses out our internal systems. Plants have different levels and strengths of pesticides as some can give you a stomach ache while others can flat out kill you.

Plant pesticides are usually stressing out your immune system but this may be a good thing in small doses.

Use the analogy of working out. You can’t go super hard every day and expect to make gains. Your body will just wear out over time. Same thing with plant pesticides. If you are consuming heavy amounts of plants every day your immune system and digestive tract are working like crazy.

(Dr. Paul Saladino doesn’t believe this is a good idea. He gives his opinion in his book, “The Carnivore Code.” In fact, he has a few chapters dedicated to plants and how they are harmful. He breaks down all the chemicals!)

Curious what a day of eating like a carnivore looks like? Here is Dr. Paul Saladino showing what he eats.

This is where chronic inflammation can come in. By eliminating plants you are once again giving your body a break and chance to recover.

Here is a small list of “plant pesticides” which can can stress our insides:

  • Oxalate (some examples: Dark greens, Spinach, Beans, Chocolate, Coffee)
  • Salicylates (some examples: Apricots, Zucchini, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Corn and nuts)
  • Phytates (some examples: Grains, Nuts and Legumes)
  • Glycolic Alkaloids (some examples: Found in the Night Shade Family)
  • Cyanides (some examples: Soy, Almonds, Millet Sprouts, Spinach)

By no way would I say plants are all bad. Maybe we need them every once in a while, kind of like mini workouts to keep your immune system in shape.

I tend to look at plants as medicine and meat as food.

These plant related articles are worthy of a read and go further into the idea of plants and how they can be harmful.

Sugar snacks and processed foods.

The Elimination of Sugar and Processed Foods

This may be the most obvious reason why going all meat can have a healing effect on your body. Processed foods and sugar have been responsible for the major health epidemics we are seeing today. We are talking about diabetes, autoimmune issues, cardiovascular disease, etc.

I go deep on sugar in this article:

When you go all meat you are taking away sugar and processed foods. Just be careful about eating certain prepared meats, sausages, bacons or meat spreads as sometimes they have fillers and sugar in them.

In fact, I wrote an article, “Top 11 Carnivore Diet Mistakes”, which has a small list of items to watch out for. There are plenty of easy to do mistakes which I bring to your attention.

Maybe a break from plants is a good thing?

What I have found is that humans can thrive off of meat but not the other way around. It seems certain plant foods can be destructive over time hence the increase in autoimmune problems and food-related diseases.

Personally, when I went carnivore for 12 weeks I felt great. The first few weeks were tad challenging but when I adapted I started to see improvements in mood and energy. My digestion was working better as well.

Which raises the question, “Can We Survive by Eating Only Meat and Animal Products?” Funny you ask as we wrote an article on the subject which you can find here.

Conclusion

That’s just a few of the things I was able to come up with that kind of explain how any why an all-meat diet could be beneficial. Going full-on Carnivore is not for everyone and not a blanket solution to all problems but just maybe it could help a few people out there.

If you are curious and want to read and see other people’s experiences check out MeatRX. This website has numerous testimonials of real-life people sharing their problems and solutions.

Coaching?

Another thing I should mention is that I am a Carnivore Diet Coach for MeatRX. If you would like to book a session with me here is the link to do so. Book Andy at MeatRX!

YouTube Fun

That’s right! Wild Lumens has a YouTube channel. Check us out at Wild Lumens Channel.

Thanks for reading and good luck on your health journey!

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or dietician or nutritionist. 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.

Andy Storey

Artist, Designer, Sportsman, Athlete and Carnivore Diet Coach at MeatRX. Sharing my adventures in life, health, and wellness one post at a time.

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