A nutritionist explains why the Carnivore Diet should be avoided
With famous names such as Jordan Peterson putting their name behind it, the Carnivore Diet is growing in popularity
Essentially a meat-only nutrition plan, the Carnivore Diet is the complete opposite of veganism. You're supposed to disregard all plant foods when following this diet.
Is it a good idea - or are you jeopardising your health? To find out, JOE spoke to Spoon Guru's registered nutritionist Amine Ould-Laib.
JOE: What are the risks involved with the Carnivore Diet?
Amine: "Animal products are highly nutritious, delivering protein, fats, with some vitamins and minerals thrown in. But you need more.
"You could be missing out on most of your vitamins and minerals, leading to vitamin and electrolyte deficiencies. Vitamis C and E, folate, antioxidants and phytonutrients [all renowned for decreasing inflammation in the body] are not found in meat."
What do plants provide that we desperately need?
"Consuming no fibre in the form of plant foods means the good guys (your gut bacteria) are not being fed, which could lead to problems down the line.
"Consuming meat alone is likely to decrease your HDL (good cholesterol) and increase LDL (bad cholesterol). This is due to an increase in the amount of saturated fat consumed. It's not a good idea for anyone with a family history of high blood pressure or other heart conditions."
Are there any populations that can survive on meat alone?
"There are some documented cases where certain populations have survived on diets similar to the Carnivore Diet.
"An example is the Inuit population, who reside in arctic conditions near the North Pole. They survive on a variety of very fatty meats.
"Their location means they need greater calories to sustain body temperature. Eating calorie dense meats goes hand-in-hand with this.
"However, many often overlook the fact these groups supplement their diet with berries and other edible plants during the summer months. They also consume a wide variety of meats, such as vitamin C-rich whale skin. This will be missing from most Carnivore diets."
How does the Carnivore Diet impact your gym performance?
"It's not ideal if you're hitting the gym and serious about putting on size or strength.
"Carbohydrates are broken down and stored as glycogen fuel in the muscle. If your muscles have no fuel to work with, hitting PBs in the gym is likely to be a distant fantasy."
What are the best non-meat foods for your general health?
"The government's Eatwell Guide recommends the following:
- Getting your five-a-day
- Starchy carbohydrates (whole-grain where possible such as rice or pasta)
- Beans, pulses and eggs, as well as dairy and non-dairy fortified drinks.
"You could also use unsaturated oils and spreads, such as rapeseed and olive oil."
Are there any positives to the Carnivore Diet?
"Those who follow the Carnivore Diet often claim many positive effects - including weight loss, mental clarity, better digestion and better skin.
"These effects owe more to the amount of calories are drastically reduced, leading to weight loss.
"The benefits are also likely to be due to the removal of high sugar, high carbohydrate, low nutrient processed foods, as well as any unidentified food intolerances that may be causing digestive or skin problems.
"What works for one person may not work for another. If you’re looking for personalised eating advice, it's best to consult a Registered Nutritionist or Dietitian."
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