What Is the Carnivore Diet (and Should You Try It)?

The last time you whipped up a steak dinner, it was so damn good that you wanted to eat it every day of the week. Well, with the carnivore diet, you can do exactly that. Here’s what you need to know about this bonkers eating craze. 

What is it? The carnivore diet consists of eating only animal foods (including eggs and some dairy, although the latter is limited). And um, that’s about it. 

Wait, so not even a handful of leafy greens? Nope. Just meat, seafood, eggs and a little bit of butter (grass-fed, natch) and cheese. You can also consume some zero-calorie foods like coffee and spices.

People aren’t actually doing this, are they? Apparently, yes. It’s said to be popular with the cryptocurrency crew (dubbed “bitcoin carnivores”), and the diet’s most famous follower, Dr. Shawn Baker, has a cult following on social media, where he proudly shows off his four-pounds-of-steak-per-day habit. So, there’s that. 

And why are they doing this? Well, on the plus side, this diet is very easy to follow in the sense that you don’t need to count calories, weigh your food or time your meals. And like with the ketogenic diet, you probably will lose some weight since you’re eating a lot of protein and fat but very few carbohydrates. (Although keto still lets you eat plant foods and non-animal fats like nuts and coconut oil.) 

But what about the health risks? Proponents say that the diet reduces inflammation, lowers blood pressure and increases mental clarity. But Christopher Gardner, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, told The Guardian that the diet is probably not such a great idea. “The lack of dietary fiber in an all-meat diet is likely to wreak havoc on the bacteria in our colons, known as the microbiome,” he said. “Growing evidence suggests that in the absence of adequate fiber, the bacteria in the colon consume and thin the protective mucus lining, which then leads to impaired immune function and inflammation.” And honestly, who wants to tuck into a rib-eye steak for breakfast, anyway? We’ll stick to our usual yogurt and granola, thank you very much.

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