Veganism and vegetarianism has been on the rise since the past few years, thanks to a number of celebrities who have sworn to the health benefits of going meat-free. However, there's another end of the spectrum where people are embracing 'meat-only' diets, claiming to experience wide ranging benefits from shunning fruits and vegetables from their meals. The carnivore diet for weight loss has been gaining traction among meat lovers, who say that eating only red meats, and occasionally white meats and eggs, is healthy for the body. The diet reportedly also does not allow the consumption of milk and other dairy products. It is instead heavily dependent on just three types of foods- meat, eggs and coffee! Sounds bizarre, doesn't it? Well that's because bizarre is exactly what this diet is. Moreover, it is also attracting the disapproval of dietitians and health experts, who are saying that eating just these three foods can deprive the body of many essential nutrients.
Regardless of the flak that the diet has been attracting, meat fanatics continue to believe in the supposed 'benefits' of the diet. A number of people have been posting pictures of their meat-heavy meals on Instagram or Facebook, claiming to have experienced reduced inflammation, low blood pressure and even better libido!
What Is The Carnivore Diet And Where Did It Start From?
The carnivore diet seems to be a variant of the ketogenic and paleo diets, wherein carbs are shunned in the favour of protein and fat-rich foods. This is why some people who follow the carnivore diet also include fish and eggs in their diets, besides red meats. Most people eat only red meats and eschew leaner meats like chicken, turkey and tuna, and even if these are eaten, these are usually slathered with a generous amount of butter. One of the biggest evidence of the dubious credibility of this diet is the fact that there aren't any set guidelines to follow it or even any substantial scientific backing to support the claims made by the advocates of this diet.
One of the most well-known proponents of the carnivore diet is an orthopaedic surgeon named Shawn Baker, who had his licence revoked in 2017. Baker had even started charging a certain fee from people wanting to lose weight through carnivore diet, to train them to eat red meat and nothing else. Baker has over 40,000 followers on Instagram and is reportedly even planning to release a book about the diet in February 2019. According to him, processed grains, vegetable oils and even fruits and vegetables are the culprits for weight gain and inflammation.
Does Carnivore Diet Work?
As stated earlier, the carnivore diet has been shunned by all mainstream dietitians and nutritionists and its followers are merely dependent on anecdotal evidence from a few isolated cases. In fact, another well-known voice in field of nutrition, Rhiannon Lambert, who is a practicing nutritionist and weight management expert, has openly denounced the diet. "One thing you can't ignore is there are some nutrients you just can't get from meat!", Lambert said in an Instagram post, adding, "Folate, vitamins C and E, all pretty much only come from veggies - that's why sailors used to get scurvy with not enough vitamin C in their largely fish diets." She further pointed out the dangers of following a meat-only diet saying that meats don't provide the body with fibre, and also disturb the balance of good and bad cholesterol in the body.
Lambert further warned people against believing outlandish claims of treatment of certain 'diseases' by following any particular diet, saying, "There's no one way of eating but be wary of any claims of "curing" conditions thought of as treatable only with medicine. Please never ignore medical recommendations in favour of food-based treatments." All in all, following the carnivore diet may just result in a number of deficiencies in the body, which are detrimental for your overall well-being in the long run.