Is Intermittent Fasting on a Carnivore Diet Wise? Pros & Cons
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Most people new to the carnivore diet and intermittent fasting believe it’s a superior way to lose weight, improve nutritional health, fight autoimmune disease and increase energy, but is it a good idea to combine both?
The answer appears to be “yes” and “no” depending on circumstance and situation. We are going to take a look at the pros and cons coming from two of the top Carnivore Diet doctors and advocates of this style of eating.
Both Dr. Shawn Baker, author of “The Carnivore Diet” and Dr. Paul Saladino, author of “The Carnivore Code” have different takes on intermittent fasting so we are going to share them to help you decide if adding intermittent fasting is a good idea.
Carnivore Diet Basics
If you are new to the carnivore diet then this will be a quick description. All it is a diet in which you eat animal products, add salt, and drink water. Some people include dairy but it’s not necessary as some people can’t handle it.
Eazy peazy, right?
Plus if losing weight is a priority dairy wouldn’t be recommended due to the lactose and calorie counts, etc.
Carnivore the ultimate elimination diet and has shown to help people with food allergies, chronic disease, mental health issues, stomach problems like leaky gut syndrome and EDS, (End-Stage Veganism).
For a more thorough and interesting take on the diet check out, “The Carnivore Diet 101: A Meaty Resource from a Practitioner.”
If you are looking for an entertaining story about my stupidity then check out, “How The Carnivore Diet Sent Me To The Emergency Room.” Finish reading this article though and come back!
Intermittent Fasting Basics
Intermittent fasting has been around for a while, actually since the beginning of the human species. I’m pretty sure our ancestors didn’t have the option to eat every day or food storage capabilities of our glorious modern times.
So going a few days or longer without food was the norm and the human body deals with it beautifully assuming it’s getting nutrition rich meat!
Don’t forget to drink water and sometimes coffee is okay depending on your situation.
For me it’s coffee with butter almost every morning. I have to recommend this coffee if you do go that route. It’s the cleanest and one of the highest qualities I’ve been able to find:
Not Eating 3 Meals a Day is Beneficial? Hmm
Here are just a few of the “possible” benefits of intermittent fasting. I use “possibly” because some of the scientific intermittent fasting studies use non-human animals like mice and rats.
However there are a good amount of human studies which I provide toward the bottom of this post:
- Possibly hormones change and allow for your body to use fat for energy
- Possibly growth hormone increases
- Possibly weight loss
- Possibly lower insulin levels
- Possibly reduce the risk of diabetes
- Possibly reduce inflammation
- Possibly improves autophagy aka cellular waste removal
- Possibly improve brain function
Oh yeah…maybe you live longer if you use intermittent fasting, but that’s a hypothesis based on rat studies.
I’m sure we missed a few but you get the idea!
Carnivore Fasters and Weight Loss
If you are trying to shed the weight then the combo of intermittent fasting and a carnivore diet may be the way to go.
It really hacks your appetite.
However there is a con to this approach that Dr. Shawn Baker likes to point out by saying, “…many people come to the carnivore diet from a background of caloric deficit, (hmmm maybe vegans???), and intentionally denying the body food can lead some people back into unhealthy behaviors due to excessive hunger.”
Also, he believes snacking consistently is a bad idea that might be prompted when attempting intermittent fasting.
Body fat percentage goals? These are the ranges of body fat for males and females according to the American Council on Exercise:
OMAD: One Meal A Day
If you go to the Facebook Group “World Carnivore Tribe” you will see a good amount of people using the acronym OMAD. There is a fair amount of carnivores eating one large heaping of meat per day.
Usually it’s a giant meal, we are talking 2-3 pounds or more of animal products.
People say the carnivore may be best suited for this style of eating as it’s apparently the most bio-available and nutrient-dense food plan on the planet.
Meat is a super-food unlike toxic leafy greens! In fact I wrote an eye-opening article on plant foods:
Beyond 24 Hours and No Meat?
Back to Dr. Baker. He believes going beyond 24 hours without eating may be less than optimal.
He mentions there may be benefits in going longer than a 24 hour fast if you’re eating an inferior diet with processed foods, sugars, and non-animal-based products.
However he doesn’t see a benefit if you’re carnivore as your eating optimally and your body doesn’t need as much of a break. He does say there may be other unusual cases in which fasting longer may be useful.
Also he points out that if you are an athlete the overextended fasting might hamper performance.
In his book, “The Carnivore Diet”, he says in one of the chapters, “I suggest you be cautious about combining intermittent fasting with the carnivore diet.”
Fasting as a Health Protocol
Dr. Paul Saladino shares in his book, “The Carnivore Code,” that fasting may have potential benefits to people with autoimmune issues or inflammation problems. He says, “it allows the gut to rest and provides an opportunity for the immune system to calm down.”
Got Your Autophagy On!
Autophagy: that word for cellular cleanout in which the body removes the dysfunctional components.
It’s been studied and said it has some health benefits. How do you obtain this superpower? Through a ketogenic diet and/or fasting.
Check out these studies as pointed out in Dr. Saladino’s Carnivore Book:
- Ketosis may promote brain macroautophagy by activating Sirt1 and hypoxia-inducible factor-1
- Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves 24-Hour Glucose Levels and Affects Markers of the Circadian Clock, Aging, and Autophagy in Humans.
Not So Fast on Fasting
If you are new to the carnivore diet or even ketogenic diet then you need to be aware of the “keto flu.” Don’t worry it’s not a seasonal flu but rather a combination of similar symptoms as a result of going from a high- carb diet to that of almost zero carbs.
Its the transition period which can last for a week or more. If you want to know more then you need to go check out the article I spoke of earlier, “The Carnivore Diet 101: A Meaty Resource from a Practitioner.”
The reason I bring this up is that you may want to put intermittent fasting on hold until after you are adapted to the carnivore diet and clear of keto flu.
This way you will be able to ease into fasting without the added challenge of feeling like crap.
My Personal Issue with Fasting
As a carnivore, clearly enjoying the carnivore lifestyle, I do have a challenge with fasting in that I can’t gain weight. I have a slender body and every time I try fasting I drop pounds that I would prefer not to.
Even though I drink a coffee with a stick of butter in it most mornings!
I understand caloric deficits and surpluses but when I go OMAD I am unable to eat enough in one sitting. Skinny guy problems.
That is why I only practice the OMAD style every so often. I will note that skipping meals is very easy for me on the carnivore diet as one meal of high-fat steaks and burgers keeps me satiated for some time.
Interesting Scientific Intermittent Fasting Studies on Humans
I cherry-picked a few human-based studies as outlined in a great article at Healthline on intermittent fasting.
Hormones and Cell functions
- Alternate-day fasting in nonobese subjects: effects on body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism.
- Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man.
- Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting: Two potential diets for successful brain aging
Body Weight Stuff
- Enhanced thermogenic response to epinephrine after 48-h starvation in humans.
- Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings
- Intermittent versus daily calorie restriction: which diet regimen is more effective for weight loss?
- Beneficial effects of intermittent fasting and caloric restriction on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems
- Interleukin-6, C-reactive protein and biochemical parameters during prolonged intermittent fasting.
- Short-term modified alternate-day fasting: a novel dietary strategy for weight loss and cardioprotection in obese adults.
- Fasting and cancer treatment in humans: A case series report.
- Fasting and cancer treatment in humans: A case series report
- The Roles of BDNF in the Pathophysiology of Major Depression and in Antidepressant Treatment
- Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program
- Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting: Two potential diets for successful brain aging
As you can see there seem to be some great benefits of using intermittent fasting for not only weight loss but other health-related issues.
You can also see it comes with its own set of challenges. My hope is that this article has pointed you in the right direction!
If you are new to the carnivore diet and want a place to hang then check out World Carnivore Tribe on Facebook. Here you will find many like-minded people.
If you need some time and money saving advice these articles will help:
Oh yeah…if you want to see some transformations check out MeatRX.
Thanks for reading and I wish you the best of luck with your nutritional goals!
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Consult with and ask your doctor about and diet, nutritional or medical-related questions. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.