Why You May Be Bloated on a Carnivore Diet
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Is bloating normal on the carnivore diet? Or is something else going on? Bloating is no joke; it is frankly super uncomfortable and can lead to many embarrassing situations, and can even be a sign of a dangerous underlying issue.
Perhaps you have just bought a sexy slim-fitting cocktail dress, and it looks great apart from it, looking like you are showing the first stages of pregnancy. What’s going on with your body? Could a carnivore diet help with your bloating issues, or could it cause them?
This question comes up a lot in the community, and I try to provide some answers, shared experiences, and testimonials below.
What Is The Carnivore Diet?
The carnivore diet is also often called the Zero Carb Diet. This is because you eat foods with only trace amounts of carbohydrates, and your carbohydrate intake is so low it is basically zero.
You eat lots of nutrient-dense and bioavailable animal foods, primarily red meat and fish.
At the same time, you avoid all plant foods like grains, seed oils, fruits, and vegetables.
If you want to dive even deeper, then I highly recommend this book by Dr. Shawn Baker, appropriately titled “The Carnivore Diet.”
And when ready, and if you need recipes, this is my go-to book:
- The Carnivore Cookbook by Jessica Haggard (For a limited time, use ANDY5 at checkout for $5.00 off)
What Is Bloating?
Bloating is frankly a pain in the butt!
It usually occurs after you have eaten a meal and is, therefore, a result of the type of food you have eaten and how well your digestive system can digest what you have eaten.
Simply put, it’s usually some combination of excess food, gas, and liquid in your digestive tract that you are struggling to break down efficiently.
Classic symptoms are lots of farting, trapped wind, extended tummy pain, constipation, and just generally feeling uncomfortable.
Bloating can be a sign of a major health problem, so speak to your doctor!
Carnivore Transition Issues
I have heard of people complaining of bloating in the early stages of the carnivore diet, but that is usually followed up with the statement that it did eventually pass.
Going from a standard Western diet to the carnivore diet is a giant leap.
You are going from a high-carb, high-fiber, low-protein, and low-fat diet to a low-carb, zero-fiber, high-protein, and high-fat diet.
Shifting from a sugar-burning diet to a fat-burning diet is a significant stressor on the body, and it takes time for the body to adjust.
It’s generally assumed that it has to do a lot of things in the background you are unaware of; your gall bladder and pancreas will have to upregulate, and your gut bacteria will ultimately shift from favoring bacteria that thrive on sugar to bacteria that thrive on protein and fat…according to some of the carnivore diet, high-protein enthusiasts on the internet.
During this transition, you could get a whole range of seemingly random side effects, but they will usually pass.
We also dropped some articles that go into more detail about other side effects:
- Side Effects from a Carnivore Diet | What to Watch For!
- This May Be Why You Are Tired on a Carnivore Diet
Some have said that those with long-term bloating issues should heal in the medium to long term but may linger during the short term.
Some doctors and advocates caution that bloating can be a sign of other underlying issues that are not resolved overnight.
They even say bloating can be a food intolerance, which the carnivore diet may help eliminate. Still, your digestive system could have been more severely damaged and has resulted in issues like IBS, Colitis, Leaky gut, SIBO, and things like Ovarian Cancer….major stuff!
See a doctor if you have significant health issues and bloating problems.
Carnivore diet doctors, advocates, and even functional medicine doctors will usually encourage removing plants from the diet to potentially help the bloating issues.
Some also say to get rid of protein powders as they have been known to cause stomach discomfort.
However, they usually mention that we are all different and everyone has a different path to recovery with varying time frames.
Why carnivore is unlikely to cause bloating
Doctors usually say bloating is almost exclusively an issue in the large intestine and that it is also no coincidence that most digestive diseases occur in the large intestine.
The large intestine is mainly the last chance you have of getting nutrition out of the food that has passed through your stomach and small intestine. (1)
It is where bacteria will feed off what is there, and it is this fermenting of foodstuffs in the large intestine that is the cause of a lot of people’s bloating issues and other problems. (2)
Zero-carb diets rely solely on animal products, which are almost exclusively digested in the stomach and small intestine.
Very little food you eat on a carnivore diet gets to the large intestine. In fact, if we take beef, for example, around 98.8% of it is digested before the large intestine.
According to this scientific study, minced beef or ground beef digest faster than, say, steak.
- Minced beef is more rapidly digested and absorbed than beef steak, resulting in greater postprandial protein retention in older men
To me, it just seems logical that if you have any digestive issues, maybe reconsider eating foods that require a lot of heavy lifting to be done by the large intestine.
Sometimes just trying to think like a child clears things up; if you are not eating foods that digest in the gut, then how could a carnivore diet cause bloating?
Unfortunately, as with most things, there are shades of grey.
Personally, I do not believe anyone outside the transition and healing phase would have any digestive issues like bloating if they just ate meat and fish.
However, some people do have some intolerances to some animal-based foods. Probably the two biggest culprits are:
- Eggs – some people do have intolerances to eggs (like my girlfriend), which can cause digestive distress. It is usually a result of the protein in the whites; it is much rarer for someone to be intolerant to the yolk.
- Dairy – it’s possible to be intolerant to lactose, the natural sugar found in milk. You can get around this sometimes by consuming fermented dairy like Kefir. Casein, a protein, is another potential problem; many people are allergic to it.
- Meat Allergies-yes, some people are allergic to meat…we are talking red meat, pork, goat, and even seal. Sometimes this is diagnosed as Alpha-gal syndrome, which can be triggered by a bite from the Lonestar tick. Scary stuff! (3)
Assuming you’re not allergic to meat, most carnivore diet docs recommend a period of strict beef and water at some point; it is the ultimate elimination diet and allows you to quickly identify if foods like eggs and dairy are causing some issues.
What foods really cause bloating
Not to plant bash, but plants can cause severe bloating, haha. It is why vegans pretend constant farting and pooping is normal.
Plants place a lot of stress on the digestive system; they are poorly digested in the stomach, have varying degrees of success in digesting in the small intestine, and a lot of digestion occurs in the large intestine if it can be digested at all.
Insoluble Fiber might be a health food buzzword, but think about what it means. It means something impossible to digest; you are basically sending a Brillo pad down your digestive system.
No wonder most digestive diseases happen in the large intestine.
If you don’t believe me that many plants are poorly digested, then swallow a small lump of steak and some sweetcorn.
Then check your poop, you will not see any lumps of steak, but you will see untouched sweetcorn, and theoretically, you could wash off the poop and eat it again…please do not do that, haha!!!
Or you can read scientific studies like this one:
- Re-evaluation of the mechanisms of dietary fiber and implications for macronutrient bioaccessibility, digestion and postprandial metabolism
If you genuinely want to avoid bloating, you may want to cut out foods such as beans, lentils, wheat, and cruciferous vegetables.
Fortunately, none of these are a part of any carnivore diet plan.
Some Thoughts and Concerns
If you suffer from any digestive distress, then a carnivore diet seems like a logical place to start the healing process to me. Obviously, speak to your doctor before making any dietary changes or if you have symptoms.
It seems a carnivore diet may allow your digestive system to function as it should without constantly taxing it with numerous high-fiber meals and snacks that you see on a standard Western diet.
Once you have healed, you may then start slowly reintroducing other foods if you want to, but you don’t have to, as there are plenty of long-term carnivore dieters out there.
Personally, I’m a reasonably strict carnivore dieter. Still, I will occasionally add herbs and certain spices to my recipes and even indulge in some ketogenic ice cream every now and then.
Also, there is a ton of anecdotal evidence and testimonials to check out!
Carnivore Diet Testimonials
Katya – “Bladder pain, kidney pain improved—fewer trips to the bathroom at night.
Blood sugar regulation has improved, and Jaw tension improved. Inflammatory allergic reactions greatly improved. Right now, I eat a meat-based ancestral nose-to-tail diet, and my gut has healed dramatically.”
Rashad – “The bloating was so horrible that I thought I had a severe case of IBS. In reality, I just couldn’t digest beans and legumes.”
Lori – “Thank god I eventually came around and decided I had enough! I saw no other option but to eliminate all foods from my diet other than animal products. Within a few days of being on the diet, my bloating and gas were improved. Although my bowel movements became less frequent, I was no longer constipated. No more laxatives and suppositories! I felt so much better.”
Angie – “Digestion is great; the bloating is a thing of the past. I wake up with energy and feel rested every day. My hair and nails grow like crazy, and my skin is showing signs of reversing the aging.”
Where to start?
Curious about the carnivore diet and if it could possibly relieve your bloating? Need some motivation? Want a personal coach to get started?
Then check out MeatRX, where you will find amazing carnivore diet coaches at affordable prices.
Also, check out these popular articles:
- Carnivore Diet 101: A Meaty Resource From a Practitioner
- 16 Perfect Snacks for People on a Carnivore Diet & Meat Lovers
- How To Meal Prep on a Carnivore Diet
Or check out our YouTube channel Wild Lumens where you will find informative videos on the carnivore diet and simple carnivorous recipes like this one:
If you like our energy and content, then be sure to subscribe and drop a comment! Either way, good luck on your journey!
- Redmond Real Salt and Re-Lyte Electrolyte Mix (15% Discount)
- White OakPastures Regenerative Farmed Meat (10% Discount)
- Carnivore Crisps (10% Discount)
- Live Water Glass Bottled Spring Water (11% Discount)
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.