The animal based diet takes low-carb diets to a new extreme! This new way of eating allows you to eat unlimited amounts of meat while restricting all plant-based foods. Users boast of hundred-pound fat loss stories, chronic inflammation and autoimmune recovery, muscle gain, and mental clarity. However, does it come with any drawbacks?
Animal based diets only allow meat and limited amounts of other animal based products. No veggies, no fruit. The protein-rich diet promotes weight loss, decreases inflammation, and boosts immunity. However, it lacks fiber, is high in saturated fat and sodium, and can cause kidney or liver damage.
Some claim it’s the answer to all our health problems, while others believe it’s downright ludicrous or simply too good to be true. Here are the top 15 things to consider before hopping onto the carnivorous bandwagon.
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15 Things To Consider Before Going On An Animal Based Diet
The animal based diet is a high-protein eating plan that focuses on almost exclusively eating meat and limited amounts of other animal products.
Although a trend, exclusively eating meat is not sexy – it’s damn tough! Most people who follow the carnivorous diet are motivated to lose weight or to treat an autoimmune condition. Users claim that the animal based diet can help you to drop weight, reduce inflammation, and even correct autoimmune diseases.
An Animal-Based Diet Is Very Restrictive
An animal based diet is a restrictive diet that allows a very narrow range of foods. It mainly includes all types of meat and limited amounts of other animal based products. No veggies, no fruit.
Before following the diet, you’ll want to consider your tolerance of an extremely limited menu. Eating the same foods becomes repetitive and boring.
Assess if and how consistently you can follow the diet.
It Is Socially Restrictive Too
It can also be a challenge to follow an animal based diet in social settings.
Food generally brings people together, but major restrictions like the carnivore diet can become challenging when socializing over a meal. It will restrict your restaurant options, and you may have to deviate from the diet when eating with friends or family.
Animal-Based Diets Equal Preparation Easy & Accessibility
Unlike many technical and over-complicated diets, the carnivore diet helps you avoid scouring health food stores for unfamiliar foods, ancient grains, and acceptable sweeteners.
You also get to skip challenging and time-consuming cooking techniques. You’re pretty much all set if you know how to sear a steak, grill some chicken, or brown ground beef.
What You Can & Can’t Eat
Here’s a list of the food types that you can and cannot eat when following an animal based diet:
|What to Eat
|What to Avoid
|Meat: beef, lamb, pork, venison, goat, and game meats.
|Fruits,Vegetables,Legumes: beans, lentils, etc.
|Poultry: chicken and turkey
|Nuts and seeds
|Seafood: salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, crab, shrimp, scallops, etc.
|Offal: liver, kidneys, heart, etc.
|Other animal products: eggs, bone broth, bone marrow, lard, etc.
|Low-lactose dairy (small amounts): heavy cream, butter, hard cheese, and cottage cheese
|Alcohol and sweetened beverages
Less strict animal based diets occasionally allow limited amounts of “low toxic” plant foods, including avocado, olives, cucumber, zucchini, pumpkin, and squash. These veggies are well-tolerated by most people.
Animal-Based Diets Are Chock Full of Protein
An animal based diet guarantees that you’ll consume plenty of protein.
Protein is a vital part of any diet. In fact, the name is derived from proteos, a Greek word meaning “primary” or “first place.” Proteins consist of building blocks – amino acids – that play an integral part in keeping our muscles, bones, and immune system healthy.
While most veggies are ‘incomplete’ proteins, meat is a ‘complete’ protein source, containing all the essential amino acids we need. In contrast, ‘incomplete’ proteins have some but not all essential amino acids our bodies need to function optimally.
Animal-Based Diets Are Nutritious
Aside from a high protein content, animal foods provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and other meat compounds. Some of these nutrients are only or more bio-available in animal products.
The ratios and nutrients may differ depending on the type of meat product. However, here are some of the abundant health sources found in meat:
- Vitamin B12: Animal-derived foods are the only excellent dietary source of vitamin B12. B12 is vital for blood formation and brain and nervous system health.
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Like plants, meat products contain numerous bioactive substances and antioxidants, contributing to health when consumed appropriately.
These compounds contribute to healthy heart and muscle function, muscle growth, and repair.
Some of the most prominent meat compounds include:
- Creatine: Abundant in red meat and serves as an excellent form of energy for muscles.
- Taurine: Abundant in fish and meat. Taurine is important for healthy heart and muscle function.
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
Those Extra Pounds Will Melt Right Off
The animal based diet falls under low-carb, high-protein eating plans like the Atkins, keto, and paleo diets.
High protein, low carb diets improve satiety – feeling full – and reduce calorie intake. By boosting your protein intake and curbing those carbs, the carnivore diet will help drop fat while maintaining muscle mass.
Protein-rich diets can even help increase your metabolic rate, which allows you to burn even more calories.
An Animal-Based Diet Decreases Inflammation
The animal based diet has gained attention for its potential anti-inflammatory benefits.
Foods rich in omega 3s – salmon, tuna, anchovies, halibut, and mussels – are especially helpful for those dealing with baseline and chronic inflammation.
A study showed that low-carb diets, like the carnivore diet, can help prevent the composition of fatty acids that trigger inflammation.
However, do not add loads of processed and non-organic red meats to your diet, as they may have a counteractive effect and increase inflammation.
Sugar and processed foods are other primary inflammation triggers. The animal based diet requires you to eliminate these foods, which can help reduce markers of systemic inflammation.
An Animal-Based Diet Can Benefit Autoimmune Recovery
A carnivore diet can be regarded as a type of elimination diet. In its strictest form, patients can only eat meat and salt, but it can include small amounts of eggs and dairy if tolerated.
Elimination diets typically strike fear in the hearts of clients due to their restrictions and complicated prescription. However, they help to truly identify the root cause of why a person suffers from autoimmune or other sensitive conditions.
The carnivore diet is highly restrictive yet simplistic, making it an excellent option for an elimination diet for patients who struggle with other commonly recognized elimination diets, like the GAPS Diet, Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), and the Six Food Elimination Diet (SFED).
Elimination diets help identify triggering foods and allow the gut and immune system to heal during removal. The carnivore diet can help people struggling with chronic illnesses. It can promote recovery in conditions like irritable bowel disease (including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis), rheumatoid arthritis, ADHD, autism, psoriasis, and more.
The Diet Is Low In Fiber
Fiber is a notable shortfall of the animal based diet.
Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate only found in plants. It promotes gut health, boosts healthy bowel movements, and is essential for a healthy balance of gut bacteria.
Therefore, the fiber shortage in the carnivore diet can lead to severe constipation. It can also set you up for unwanted health issues like gut inflammation when followed long-term.
Poor gut health can cause issues like heart disease and type II diabetes and may even contribute to colon cancer.
It Lacks Beneficial Plant Compounds
An animal based diet eliminates highly nutritious food sources like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes, all of which contain beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Rigorously following a carnivore diet long-term can cause nutrient deficiencies and excessive amounts of others.
Many diets rich in plant-based foods are associated with a lower risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, type II diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. The plants are chock full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds.
The carnivore diet lacks many of these compounds and hasn’t been associated with long-term health benefits.
The Diet Is High In Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, & Sodium
The meat-based diet consists solely of meat and animal products and can therefore be high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
Saturated fat can raise LDL (bad) cholesterol. Researchers are still teasing apart the connections between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. However, the American Heart Association recommends keeping your saturated fat intake to a low 5 to 6% of your daily calories – a meat-based diet will most likely far exceed this recommendation.
Sodium is also a factor of concern when following an animal based diet. Processed meats like bacon, cured sausage, and deli meats contain high amounts of sodium.
Over-consuming cured meats can lead to an excessive sodium intake, increasing the risk of high blood pressure, kidney disease, and certain types of cancer.
You Will Miss Out On Nutrients Specific To Plant Foods
Many nutrients are specific to either plant or animal foods. While you can survive on an animal based diet, here are the nutrients that are difficult (or impossible) to consume when only eating animal foods.
- Vitamin C: It is the only essential vitamin that isn’t present in sufficient amounts in cooked animal foods. Low doses can be found in raw liver and eggs.
- Flavonoids: Flavonoids – including quercetin, catechins, hesperidin, and cyanidin –are present in virtually all plant foods and offer health benefits like reducing heart disease, improving colon health, and improving brain function.
- Dietary fiber: A high fiber intake is responsible for health benefits, including decreased constipation, lower cholesterol, and better heart health. Fibers like beta-gluten, pectin, inulin, and lignan act as prebiotics that promote beneficial bacteria in the gut and improve colon health.
A Carnivore Diet Can Harm Your Liver & Kidneys
Protein is an essential component of a healthy diet. However, overeating high-protein foods – red meat, poultry, and fish – for an extended period may burden your kidneys and liver.
These foods are high in purines, chemical compounds which can increase uric acid levels in your blood. This can cause gout or kidney stones.
Processed meats contain high levels of sodium. By now, most of you are familiar with the concept that excessive sodium is linked to high blood pressure. But are you aware that excess sodium is also connected to liver damage?
Too much sodium and fats can cause impaired liver function and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Lastly, cholesterol hyper-responders must be cautious about consuming too many fatty and high-cholesterol foods.
Animal-Based Diets Are Pricey
The animal based diet can be pretty damaging to your pocket, especially if you’re opting for organic, grass-fed meats (which you should be).
Eating high-quality meat is vital to this style of eating. After all, it’s the only thing you’ll be consuming. You will need to stock up on grass-fed meats, organ meats, pasture-raised chickens, heritage pork, and wild fish varieties.
Consider how a carnivore diet will affect your budget before joining the trend.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Animal-Based Diet?
An animal based diet is pretty self-explanatory – you are only allowed to eat meat and animal based products.
Animal based meats include beef, lamb, pork, venison, goat, poultry, seafood, and offal.
Other animal based products include eggs, bone broth, bone marrow, lard, and small quantities of low-lactose dairy like heavy cream, butter, hard cheese, and cottage cheese.
Is The Animal-Based Diet Safe?
The animal based diet is generally safe and offers various amazing health benefits. However, it is unsafe for individuals with kidney disease, impaired liver function, or cardiovascular disease.
Why Do People Eat An Animal-Based Diet?
Most people eat an animal based diet to lose weight or to treat chronic inflammation or an autoimmune condition.
Is An Animal-Based Diet Good For Weight Loss?
Despite not being a restricted calorie diet, the animal based diet promotes weight loss. It will leave you satisfied and satiated for longer while reducing the desire to overeat or snack.
In addition, it helps you get rid of “bad weight” while promoting healthy muscle growth.
We firmly believe there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to following a healthy diet. Although many people brag about experiencing life-changing benefits, this way of eating also poses some serious red flags with noting.
Contemplate whether an animal based diet is right for you, and be sure to discuss it with your healthcare provider if you have a health condition.