What is a Carnivore Diet?

Sooyeon Lee

Carnivore diet usually refers to eating meat only without having vegetables. While there’s no official definition, think of the carnivore diet as a diet that includes “only foods that either walked, swam, or flew,” says Kelly Schmidt, RD, a holistic dietitian in private practice in Columbus, Ohio. While it may be a trend, “eating only meat is not sexy. It’s not colorful, and it’s not fun,” she says, adding that people who follow it do so because of a strong motivating factor. Often that’s to try to address an autoimmune condition or to attempt to lose weight.

             The carnivore diet is often a step people take after trying the paleo diet or the ketogenic diet. Paleo or the “caveman” diet focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meats, and wild seafood, while eliminating added sugars, grains, dairy, and legumes. The ketogenic diet — also called “keto” — is a very high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrate diet. Not everyone enjoys eating so much fat on a keto diet, and they may instead opt for a high-protein diet like carnivore. So now let’s take a look at the food allowed on the Carnivore Diet.

<Foods Okay on the Carnivore Diet>

Red meat (beef, pork, lamb), with an emphasis on fattier cuts of meat to take in enough calories. Other options include: Organ meats, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Lard, Bone marrow, Butter, Salt and pepper, Water, Bone broth

So, who should and shouldn’t eat a Carnivore Diet? If you believe you have food intolerances, the carnivore diet can serve as a short-term elimination diet to uncover foods that potentially don’t agree with your system. You may try this for six weeks and then reintroduce new foods slowly to see what does or does not agree with you, says Schmidt.

But if you’re looking at an elimination diet of any sort, first consult a registered dietitian with knowledge of your health concerns and medical background. The carnivore diet is not the only way to do an elimination diet. There is a process and protocol to identify foods that people don’t tolerate. Everyone is different. We need to look at every individual and try to devise a plan that’s optimal for them. Often, this can be achieved by a less restrictive means.

In terms of who this isn’t for, if you’re prone to disordered eating, the experts recommend not to enter into any diet. And if you have a chronic disease, like diabetes or heart disease, talk to your doctor before trying an extreme diet like this one. Do not follow the carnivore diet if you have any level of kidney disease.

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