Carnivore Diet Pros And Cons: Is This Animal Meat Diet Worth Trying?

Carnivore diet has been getting more attention amid the rise of other vegetable-focused diets. This approach, also called a zero-carb diet or animal-sourced food diet, requires only animal products, including meat, fish, eggs, high-fat dairy products and animal fats. 

Some people turn to carnivore eating due to fast results to lose weight and to treat some health conditions. 

“By and large, most people doing the carnivore diet have some persistent health issue that the keto diet did not completely fix, such as not enough weight loss, a mental health condition, an autoimmune condition or uncontrolled cravings,” Paul Mabry, a zero-carb doctor who blogs at Born to Eat Meat, told Diet Doctor.

Mabry himself is following a carnivore diet after being a “sugar addict.” Since 2015, he has been eating almost 80 percent fat and 20 percent protein, which he said helped him balance his weight and reduce his cravings with no issues.

“I don’t think everyone needs to eat a zero-carb diet. But if you are like me, someone who is severely metabolically damaged from a lifetime of sugar addiction, I think it can help,” Mabry said.

Jane Jordan, a former nurse from Australia, also finds such diet as effective to treat her glaucoma. In 2018, she was diagnosed with the eye condition but seven months after committing to carnivore diet, Jordan reported being clinically cleared of the disease.

One study suggested that that Vitamin B3, also known as nicotinamide, which is found naturally in animal-sourced food, could help prevent or treat glaucoma. 

Carnivore Diet: The Bad Side

Despite some experts supporting the approach, the carnivore diet remains controversial. Low-carb neuroscientist Rhonda Patrick said that the zero-carb diet could cause negative changes to the gut microbiome and increase the risk of micronutrient deficiencies.

Other health experts raised concerns that the diet, when done in the long term, could be more concerning, potentially causing deficiencies in sodium, magnesium and potassium. Health institutions like the World Health Organization and the World Cancer Research Fund also warned that high consumption of red meat causes colorectal cancer.

However, it is difficult to determine if a carnivore diet actually helps most people or could cause more harm. Little studies exist to show how many achieve health improvements and how many experience negative symptoms or no improvements.