Is a Carnivore Diet Safe and Healthy


Carnivorous Diet from Diet Varieties

The Carnivore Diet is a diet that restricts an individual to only eating animal products for nutrition purposes, typically fruits, vegetables, and legumes are outlawed from daily eating habits. People attempting this lifestyle often depend on animal products alone for most or all of their nutritional requirements.

Carnivore Diet has become popular among those trying to lose weight or manage medical conditions like diabetes, while still remaining healthy eating patterns. Although some experts caution about possible negative side effects associated with Carnivore Diet consumption, many consider its benefits.

How to Follow the Carnivore Diet

Although only recently fashionable, scientists have long been intrigued by this very low-carb way of eating known as the Carnivore Diet.

As early as 1797, researchers attempted to replicate the traditional meat-based dietary intake of Arctic or nomadic societies by imitating their traditional meat-rich diets. Dr. John Rollo made history when he successfully treated patients with type 2 diabetes using a diet consisting of predominantly meat and fat after studying indigenous people's very low-carbohydrate diet of St. Lucia; it soon became a widely adopted therapy until insulin was discovered in 1921.

Shawn Baker, M.D. first made the Carnivore Diet widely popular by publishing his 2018 book entitled, The Carnivore Diet. Baker found that following a meat-rich diet helped his health. This version of the Carnivore Diet advocated for eliminating plant foods entirely while solely relying on animal products like meat, eggs, seafood, and full-fat dairy products as sources of nourishment.

Some Carnivore advocates adhere to a diet consisting solely of animal products, while others follow less restrictive versions that allow for small amounts of plant-based foods like low-carb vegetables.

However, most individuals following Carnivore-type diets obtain most of their caloric needs from meat and other animal sources.

Foods You Can Eat 

Although there are various variations of the Carnivore Diet, most individuals adhering to it primarily consume animal-derived products, including meat.

  • Meat: includes steak, pork chops, ground beef, bison, lamb, and venison

  • Organ meats: including liver, heart, and kidneys can be found as well as 

  • Poultry: duck and turkey are often included as well as seafood such as salmon sardines clams mussels and shrimp are commonly served up to their clients.

  • Full-fat dairy: Yogurt, cheese, and butter for instance 

  • Eggs: Whole and egg yolks for consumption on Carnivore Diets, along with seasonings like salt, pepper, herbs, and spices to round out their diets

A 2021 study on the diets of 2,029 Carnivore-style dieters revealed that red meat products like beef, lamb, and venison were by far the most consumed food items, followed by eggs and nonmilk dairy products. Furthermore, over 50% of participants consumed coffee daily!

Foods To Avoid

People who adhere to the Carnivore Diet get the majority of their calories from animal-based products. Although more strict versions of the diet are available, the following foods are generally excluded or strictly prohibited for those who adhere to this diet plan:

  • Fruit: Apples, berries grapes, bananas avocados, and peaches
  • Vegetables: zucchini, potatoes as well as broccoli, asparagus, and greens

  • Grains and grains-based products like bread, quinoa pasta, rice, and noodles
  • The nuts: and seeds include almonds cashews, peanut butter pumpkin seeds
  • Beans: Chickpeas, Black beans kidney beans, lentils
  • Sweets and snacks such as chips: cookies cake, ice cream, and candy


While water should be the beverage of choice for people following a Carnivore Diet, many also include tea and coffee into their daily regimen.


Additionally, some individuals allow for small portions of low-carb veggies like greens and zucchini in their daily intake of low-carb food items.


What Are The Benefits? 

Mes Unfortunately, there has been minimal research exploring the health advantages associated with following a Carnivore Diet.

However, evidence shows that very low-carb diets may offer significant health advantages for some individuals, particularly those living with type 2 diabetes.

Though there is no specific formula to the Carnivore Diet, it can generally be classified as a high-protein and very low-carb diet. Studies indicate that similar approaches such as keto may provide potential relief from certain health conditions; however, keep in mind that this does not correspond with what the Carnivore Diet offers and there's little evidence it improves health specifically.

However, the Carnivore Diet may provide certain advantages.

May Improve Blood Sugar Regulation

Low-carb diets have proven successful at improving health outcomes among those with diabetes. This is due to these diets containing less carbohydrate-rich foods which have the largest impact on blood sugar and insulin levels.

Under a Carnivore Diet, carb intake would likely decrease and blood sugar levels and dependence on diabetes medications would likely decline significantly.

Researchers conducting the 2021 Carnivore-style diet study with 2,029 participants who consumed Carnivore diets for nine to 20 months found that those with type 2 diabetes experienced substantial improvements in both HbA1c (long-term blood sugar control markers) levels and medication use; moreover, among 262 participants diagnosed with T2DM (84% discontinuing oral medications and 92% for insulin).

Though these results are promising, more research into the Carnivore Diet should be conducted. Furthermore, diabetes may be more effectively managed through less restrictive diets such as plant-based or low-carb ones that provide greater overall health benefits and are easier to adhere to long-term.

May Promote Weight Loss

The Carnivore Diet involves eliminating many foods and beverages associated with weight gain, such as ultra-processed food and added sugars. Since protein-rich foods tend to satisfy you more effectively than carb-rich ones, this diet could assist in weight loss over the short term.

As mentioned above, participants in a 2021 study reported significant reductions in their body mass index (BMI), an indicator of body fat based on height and weight, after transitioning to a Carnivore Diet.

While these results are encouraging, the Carnivore Diet remains highly restrictive and likely unsustainable for most. Similar diets such as keto have also proven effective at short-term weight loss; however, diets which cut out various healthy food categories - like keto - are notoriously hard to stick to; most evidence shows their long-term efficacy is comparable with less restrictive weight loss diets.

McGaugh E, Barthel B. A Review of Ketogenic Diet and Lifestyle. Mo Med 2022;119(1):84-88 PMID 36033148.

It follows from this that although a strict diet like Carnivore Diet may promote fast weight loss, more inclusive and easier-to-follow plans may prove just as successful in long-term weight management and healthy weight maintenance.

Risks and Side Effects

While proponents of the Carnivore Diet claim it can assist in weight loss and improve chronic diseases, this way of eating has some significant drawbacks that should be taken into consideration before adopting such an eating pattern.

First and foremost, this diet is highly restrictive, cutting out essential foods that have long been proven to benefit health such as fruits and vegetables. Diets low in products have been linked with an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, as well as overall mortality risk.

Red and processed meat intake has been linked with an increased risk of numerous health conditions, such as colorectal cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and heart disease.

Concerns surrounding the Carnivore Diet relate to its potential environmental repercussions. Research demonstrates that red meat production significantly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, having an adverse impact on global warming and climate change.

An insufficient intake of plant foods may also contribute to unpleasant side effects like constipation, fatigue, low mood, and nutritional deficiencies.

A Quick Review

The Carnivore Diet is an extreme diet trend recently popular among those hoping to lose weight or manage conditions like type 2 diabetes.

Though limited evidence suggests that following this eating pattern may result in weight loss and improved blood sugar levels, there are significant concerns about its long-term health ramifications.

Long-term consumption of the Carnivore diet could put you at greater risk for colorectal cancer and heart disease.

If you want an effective yet safe way to improve your health, try switching up your diet by including foods known to promote overall well-being, such as the Mediterranean Diet or low-carb eating plans.