During the last years, people of all kinds have risked the extreme carnivorous diet. Whether you want to gain muscle, lose weight or simply have more energy, this meat-only diet promises all that and more.
Those who postulate this type of diet, are based on a basic premise: eating the meat of other animals provides all the benefits we need. The rest (vegetables, fruits, grains and spices) are only carbohydrate and hindrance, hindrance that also causes us to accumulate sugar and get fat. They are right?
Like all restrictive diets, the diet of meat is attractive, easy to understand and promises too much. This only means one thing: there is something that is not what his apostles tell us. It is necessary to understand what this diet consists of, and what its real risks and benefits are before making a decision.
What is the carnivorous diet?
As the name suggests, the carnivorous diet consists of a diet based on animal foods. Its main postulate is that consuming derivatives of animal products we do not need to eat anything else and, in fact, our health benefits.
As we know, animal products consist mainly of protein and fat. This means that those who follow a carnivorous diet leave aside the third major macronutrient, the carbohydrate. All this means nothing of fruits or vegetables, oils of vegetable origin, spices, sugar, tea or juices of any kind. Only animal products, salt and water.
Those who follow a carnivorous diet, then, do not follow a truly structured food routine. It is enough to vary the animal sources that are consumed and not to exceed a daily limit of approximately 1 kg of meat for a physically active adult. This makes this diet attractive and easy to follow.
Likewise, the reasons that believers argue for this type of diet are many. However, we can synthesize them in a few:
- Have more percentage of muscle mass.
- Retain less fluids and fats by consuming carbohydrates.
- Prevent allergies and intolerances to certain foods.
- Have more energy
Foods allowed in the carnivorous diet
When we say that a carnivorous diet consists of only animal products, we mean it. If you want to make a fried egg, for example, you cannot use oil (not even olive oil), but animal fats.
In fact, the most extreme do not even consume milk and cheese, to avoid absorbing their natural carbohydrates. Nothing but salt, water and food of animal origin, especially beef from cattle fed only with grass.
This being the case, this would be an accepted menu in an extreme carnivorous diet:
- Fillet of beef.
- Ground beef.
- Pork chops and lamb.
- Pork fat.
- Bone marrow.
Benefits and real risks of the carnivorous diet
Limit the variety of foods consumed, eat more protein, reduce sugars and oils, and eat foods that are slowly digested … all these are basic principles to lose weight, tested by science, which are met in the carnivorous diet. Therefore, this diet should be good to help us lose weight.
However, although the carnivorous diet is capable of making us lose weight, a study in this regard has shown that this does not mean that similar results cannot be achieved with carbohydrate-only diets
This may be due to the fact that by restricting our diet to a single macronutrient we rule out the possibility of eating too much, and we instinctively tend to avoid foods that would make us fat. And since a protein calorie makes us fatten just like a calorie of carbohydrates, whichever is cut we will lose weight simply because of the calorie deficit.
2.Control of insulin levels
The insulin is a kind of villain for those who want to lose weight. This is because if your levels are very high, we tend to accumulate more fat. Thus, the goal of many is to use the carnivorous diet to lower the insulin in their blood.
On the one hand, we must clarify that although insulin tends to make us accumulate more fat, this does not necessarily mean that it makes us gain weight automatically. In fact, insulin serves to reduce appetite, and accompanied with exercise and good nutrition can help us build muscle, due to its anticatabolic properties.
On the other hand, consuming more protein is no guarantee that our insulin levels will decline. For example, a study showed that whey protein can raise insulin levels, above the levels obtained when consuming rice.
Not many years ago, it was estimated that the consumption of animal products meant a safe risk of cardiovascular problems. Eggs and processed meats, for example, with their ability to increase our cholesterol and our consumption of saturated fats, have been largely avoided.
Nowadays, however, we know that cholesterol and saturated fats are not a direct guarantee of a heart attack. Based on this truth and the proven risks of sugar, many people defend the carnivorous diet as a safe method of maintaining cardiovascular health.
Although there is no convincing evidence of how good or how harmful cholesterol and fat really are in the long term, there is evidence that suppressing fruits and vegetables from our diet can harm the health of our cardiovascular system and put us at risk of heart attack
Many people get on the carnivorous diet train to raise their testosterone levels. This is because animal fat is one of the main natural drivers for the development of this hormone. And the more testosterone, more energy, the easier to create muscle and burn body fat.
Although in theory testosterone is capable of causing all these benefits, we must clarify that in practice the results are usually not so impressive. One study tried to measure the action of testosterone when it is elevated to extreme levels, through the use of steroids in people without previous training. Within 6 weeks, participants who gained more muscle gained around 7 kg.
Although the previous result may sound impressive, it is worth remembering that this is an extreme case, and that similar results could be obtained naturally. The results in a carnivorous diet would be much more modest if they are not accompanied by good sleep and sufficient fat consumption.
Is it healthy to eat only meat?
As we have seen, the carnivorous diet can achieve some of the objectives that it sets, albeit in a very modest way. However, the real question is whether it is possible to live by eating only meat. What do we miss by leaving fruit and vegetables on our side?
Although meat is a very nutritious food, it also lacks some essential micronutrients. For example, meat does not really provide vitamin C , which is essential to regulate iron absorption, heal wounds, protect our cells from oxidative damage and maintain our immune system
.Even animal organs (the largest animal source of vitamin C) cannot be considered sufficient sources.
Likewise, the meat of animals does not provide us with fiber either, which helps regulate our digestive function. While it is true that we can survive without consuming fiber, the evidence has shown that leaving it aside puts us at risk of suffering from various types of cancer and other diseases.
In summary, consuming only meat can put our cardiovascular health at risk, makes us lose weight restrictively and prevents us from consuming important nutrients. Like any restrictive diet, it can help us achieve some goals in a moderate way, but it is not a healthy option in the medium or long term.
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