The carnivore diet has been praised to achieve stunning results in a very short period. What about it causes such change? It is said that the people who could benefit the most from an all-meat carnivore diet are those with some already existing autoimmune disorders, allergies, severe inflammatory diseases like arthritis, depression, or IBS. Going carnivore can be a very effective way of going through a short phase of healing the gut and regaining intestinal lining, which will help to deal with future exposures. In this article, we discuss why this diet has such big wins.
- The Carnivore Diet Mimics Fasting
Protein is known to be very satiating, which fills you up and sends signals to your brain that you’ve consumed enough food. It follows that people report not feeling very hungry and start eating less frequently when they get onto an all-meat diet.
The monotony of eating the same thing every day may lead to a decrease in the amount of food you eat. This may result in unintentional caloric restriction. Caloric restriction sets off a number of processes. When caloric intake drops, the concentration of insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and growth hormone are significantly reduced. This condition triggers autophagy, which literally means “self-eating”—an internal process of cleaning up old cells and repairing damaged ones. Autophagy is also induced during fasting.
This may be why caloric restrictions so effective at reducing inflammation and alleviating symptoms of autoimmune disease. Naturally, the caloric restriction also results in weight loss. These are arguably the main reasons that people seem to be drawn to the carnivore diet. It is important to note that these effects can also be achieved through simple caloric restriction.
- The Carnivore Diet is the Best Way to Reverse Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance is an energy overload problem, whereby your cells become unresponsive to insulin’s action. They refuse to convert more energy into the cells and thus insulin levels remain persistently high. Insulin resistance is related to almost every chronic disease.
The carnivore diet is the most effective way to reverse insulin resistance because:
- It cuts out the highly glycemic carbohydrates which power your body off of ketones and increases insulin sensitivity.
- Cutting off of fructose also increases insulin sensitivity.
- Certain plant antinutrients like lectins can bind to insulin receptors and make you more insulin resistant. Eliminating plants from your diet eradicates this issue.
- The intermittent fasting that often accompanies the carnivore diet also increases insulin sensitivity.
- It Is a Low-Residue Diet
Residue can be defined as the undigested food that makes up stool. A low-residue diet is one that limits high-fiber foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. It is often prescribed for people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to alleviate symptoms like diarrhea, bloating gas, and abdominal pain.
Meat is made primarily of protein and fat, which are absorbed high up in the GI tract, leaving little residue leftover to irritate or inflame the gut. In other words, an all-meat diet is effectively a very low-residue diet and gives the gut a rest.
- It is an elimination diet
The carnivore diet works like an intense elimination diet – you eliminate all the potential foods and allergens from your diet that may potentially be causing some gastrointestinal stress, weight gain, brain fog, autoimmune disorders or bloating.
By removing all the “danger foods”, you allow your body to take a break from the chronic bouts of nutritional inflammation and that allows you to function more optimally. If you’re not putting in inflammatory stuff into your gut, then your body has the opportunity to start healing itself.
Constantly consuming processed foods, trans fats, allergens, and environmental toxins damage the intestinal lining of your gut wall, which eventually leads to intestinal permeability or leaky gut. This may lead to undigested food particles entering the bloodstream. This condition promotes brain fog, GI disorders, and more inflammation.
According to the father of modern medicine Hippocrates “All disease begins in the gut”. Your gut can be referred to as the second brain as it connects the nervous system and brain with the rest of the body. As the majority of your immune system is located in the gut, keeping it gut health is essential for overall longevity.
The elimination diet reduces some foods and environmental stressors that could potentially damage the gut and cause inflammatory responses. We will look at the most common ones:
- Gluten and grains are responsible most for leaky gut, arthritis, bloating, IBS, brain fog, diabetes, and weight gain. Avoid bread, pasta, cereal, pastries, oatmeal, cookies, etc.
- Legumes and beans can lead to intestinal permeability by promoting digestive issues and bloating. Peanuts and soybeans are also categorized as legumes.
- Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, potatoes, and peppers have a lot of lectins which are compounds that attach sugar molecules to proteins and damage the gut walls again…
- Eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts, and seeds aren’t unhealthy foods quite the opposite but they may cause some allergic reactions in some people
- Dairy is a potential allergen and it’s also pro-inflammatory that tends to promote skin disorders, weight gain, and inflammation. Avoid commercial pasteurized milk and limit your cheese consumption.
- The Carnivore Diet can get you into ketosis
If you’re eating large amounts of meat but are only eating once or twice a day and adding extra fat to the meat, your diet is likely ketogenic. A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein diet.
While the carnivore diet does not have strict ratios, it’s likely that some of the benefits that come with eating meat alone are due to the body being in a state of ketosis.
Ketosis has been known to be helpful in conditions including multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
- The Carnivore Diet Changes the Gut Microbiota
Changing to an all-meat diet can also swiftly alter the gut microbiota. A 2014 study found that putting healthy human volunteers on an animal-based diet resulted in significant changes to the gut microbiota in less than 48 hours. The animal-based diet increased the abundance of bile-tolerant organisms and decreased the levels of microbes known to metabolize different plant fibers.
The gut microbiota has been linked to virtually every chronic inflammatory disease that has been studied, so it’s no surprise that an intervention that drastically changes the gut microbiota could have significant implications for health.
- Happy tummy, happy life
Once you get your digestion in order, your entire life will change as you’ll be able to liberate yourself from the chronic inflammation most people are suffering from.
All disease does begin in the gut and to get better you need to allow your body to self-repair and self-renovate itself.
An all meat carnivore diet can work as a short-term fix for promoting intestinal rebuilding but you’d be much better off by still eating at least some plants, vegetables, and different hormetic foods. The best remedy would be a fasting-focused lifestyle that revolves around periods of eating and fasting. This is sure to promote general health, longevity, and keep inflammation in check.
Much remains to be discovered about how eating meat only impacts our health. However, if you’re struggling with autoimmune diseases, obesity, diabetes or psychiatric issues, it is definitely worth a try. Going on a carnivore diet as a short-term experiment is sensible and safe.
- Simland (2018): Why Does the Carnivore Diet Work. Retrieved from http://siimland.com/why-does-the-carnivore-diet-work/
- Carnivore Aurelius(2019): Carnivore Diet | 16 Reasons It Works. Retrieved from https://carnivoreaurelius.com/carnivore-diet/
- Chris Kessler (2019): The Carnivore Diet: Is It Really Healthy? Retrieved from https://chriskresser.com/the-carnivore-diet-is-it-really-healthy/
- Nutrita (2019): The Ultimate Guide to the Carnivore Diet. Retrieved from https://nutrita.app/guide-to-the-carnivore-diet/