Can you have too much meat? – Health Essentials from the Cleveland Clinic


Diet programs come in all shapes and sizes, and one trending diet is the carnivorous diet. While it can boast of being successful in helping you shed a few pounds (maybe gained during your 40s?), You may wonder if it is safe to eat only meat. And how is the carnivorous diet different from other carb-limiting meal plans, such as the ketogenic (keto) diet?

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Dietitian Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD explains what the carnivorous diet is and if it’s possible to eat too much meat.

What is the carnivorous diet?

The carnivorous diet may seem like the perfect fit if you love meat enough to eat it with every meal (hello Ron Swanson). In this diet, that’s exactly what you do: eat meat or animal products with every meal. Unlike keto, which limits carbohydrates to a certain number per day, the carnivorous diet aims to zero carbohydrates per day. You only eat meat, fish, eggs and some animal products; you exclude all other food groups, including vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

The carnivorous diet allows for weight loss, improved mood and blood sugar regulation. It was founded on the belief that high carbohydrate diets are the cause of chronic disease. However, there are downsides to eating only animal protein and zero carbs.

Carbohydrates get a bad rap. When you digest carbohydrates, your body converts them into glucose which will be used for energy. But if you don’t exercise regularly to burn off those carbs, they can quickly turn to fat. Therefore, too many carbohydrates can quickly gain weight.

“Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of energy – what it’s used to using for energy,” says Patton. “But if you don’t eat carbohydrates, your next resort is to burn fat. And that comes from burning fat in the foods you eat or from your own body fat. She says people tend to feel well once they stop consuming carbohydrates because they don’t have sharp swings in blood sugar levels and eating meat isn’t as inflammatory. But she cautions: too much animal fat can, too. cause inflammation.

According to Patton, the lack of carbohydrates is what results in the weight loss associated with the carnivorous diet, but carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of energy. And you can have serious side effects from living on meat alone.

Not all carbohydrates are equal (or bad)

Carbohydrates in their basic form provide fuel for your body. And there are plenty of healthy carbs that are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The best carbohydrates are the ones that most closely resemble how they occur in nature – unprocessed or refined. Some to consider are:

  • Fruits, such as apples, pineapples, strawberries.
  • Vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes and beets.
  • Whole grains, such as quinoa and whole wheat bread.

Simple carbohydrates – desserts, sweet candies, cakes and pies – are the ones to avoid. These are usually full of preservatives, white sugar, and flour, and are known to cause inflammation and weight gain, especially around your tummy. These carbohydrates are also known contributors to many health problems such as type 2 diabetes (hence blood sugar flow), obesity and high blood pressure. So of course, if you remove them from your diet, you will feel better with less weight and fluctuating blood sugar. But you don’t need to omit all carbohydrates for health benefits. In fact, you can do real damage to your body by doing so.

What are the risks of the carnivorous diet?

The diet of carnivores is basically extremely restrictive. And when you omit whole food groups from your diet, there are bound to be consequences.

“The carnivorous diet is very low in fiber, which will cause a lot of constipation,” says Patton. And the risks become far more serious than failure to poop.

“If you have a pre-existing chronic condition, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a history of stroke, or other cardiovascular disease, you definitely shouldn’t try this diet,” says Patton. “Even if you have digestive issues, this diet can make it worse with all of that protein and fat, which takes a lot longer to digest.”

The diet of carnivores is high in saturated fat which can cause high LDL or bad cholesterol and put you at risk for heart disease. Plus, many types of processed meats like bacon and some deli meats are high in sodium and have been linked to certain types of cancer. And a diet high in sodium can cause kidney problems and high blood pressure.

Should we consider the carnivorous diet?

Patton doesn’t mince words when it comes to this issue.

“In my opinion, no. “

If you believe in everything in moderation, this diet is not for you. The best diet is one that is balanced and includes a variety of different foods from several food groups.

“It’s really about finding a balance in what’s right for you. ”

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