The Carnivore Diet – Is It Realistic Or Applicable In The World We Live In?
The Carnivore Diet allows us to eat as our earliest ancestors might have done. It allows you to only eat animal products, meat and fish. Whilst ancestral, how does the Carnivore Diet fit in with modern society, and the current food knowledge and culture we have?
Well, the short answer is, it doesn’t – mostly. This is particularly true when you consider the environmental and ethical impacts and the state of the world we currently live in. Also from a dietary perspective, it doesn’t provide a balanced diet. It’s high in salt, fat and low in fibre, so not so great for your digestion.
Our ancestors, when hunting and gathering, might have found use for the Carnivore Diet. We would have hunted animals but we, as a species, were still a part of the natural food chain. Our ancestors would still have eaten small amounts of fruit, vegetables, berries and seeds. Any and all diets need to be balanced to keep our bodies working in an optimum fashion.
However, with a high protein diet, you will feel hungry less, allowing weight loss to be more plausible due to less snacking. Your protein intake will allow you to build more muscle, and recover more efficiently from subsequent training. With the Carnivore Diet you are also cutting out high sugar items, so you can cut down on your highly refined snacks. But this is not good for diabetics, or anyone with any dietary conditions, as blood sugar regulation is almost impossible.
A high, and virtually exclusive, protein diet is not a good way of maintaining your macronutrient balance, and can be bad for your overall health. This can cause mood swings, hormone imbalances and a fair few other things that are not so great physically. With an increase in protein, you can make your diet when training more efficient and effective, but I don’t think you have to go to these extreme diets to get to that point.
The micronutrient balance also isn’t particularly good with the carnivore diet, as a lot of vitamins, fibre and minerals come from plant based foods, whole food sources, fruits, vegetables and grains.
I think, with the carnivore diet, you can take elements of it and combine it with healthy amounts of fruit and veg to create a more balanced diet that is protein heavy. As a coach, I will always promote an all-round balanced diet, with a protein increase in many cases. Extreme diets, and dieting, like this one are often sought after without considering the long term impacts.
You can also use plant protein, as an alternative protein source. This is a lot easier now given our plant protein research and products, as well as a popular rise in veganism. But always seek professional dietary advice before taking on any extreme or exclusionary diets, including this one.
In summary, a high protein diet can help you with your training, recovery and muscle building, but you don’t need to eat exclusively via the Carnivore Diet to get there. A high protein diet can also help you lose weight and snack less. A protein exclusive diet is not sustainable long term and can lead to unhealthy food behaviour and physical ailments. You can, and should balance your macronutrients (Protein, Carbs and Fats) and then look to your Micronutrients and Fibre. Always consult a professional dietician before implementing any dietary changes. This way you can make sure your doing what is right for you and your body, and a dietary professional can take your current dieting habits into context as well.