The Effects of Following the Carnivore Diet on Weight

by Ella

The carnivore diet, championed by doctor, author, and athlete Shawn Baker, has sparked controversy for its extreme approach to nutrition. Advocates of the diet promote the complete elimination of foods like vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, focusing solely on meat and some animal products. This radical dietary shift has raised concerns regarding potential health risks associated with increased red meat consumption, as well as ethical and religious considerations related to consuming animal protein sources.

Despite the skepticism surrounding the carnivore diet, proponents such as podcaster Joe Rogan and psychologist Jordan Peterson tout its numerous benefits. Baker himself claims that adhering to the carnivore diet helped him reverse autoimmune disease. Moreover, a 2021 study published in Current Developments in Nutrition surveyed 2,029 participants practicing the carnivore diet for at least six months, with the majority reporting improvements in overall health, food cravings, hunger, mental clarity, strength, endurance, sleep, chronic disease, and memory.


Among the most widely publicized benefits of the carnivore diet is its potential for weight loss. Participants in the aforementioned 2021 study reported a significant decrease in median body mass index (BMI), dropping from 27.2 to 24.3. While rapid initial weight loss may be attributed to shedding water weight, the long-term effects of the carnivore diet on weight management are noteworthy.


By eliminating carbohydrates, processed foods, and sugary treats, the carnivore diet restricts calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods that contribute to weight gain. Carbohydrates, although a primary source of energy for the body, can lead to weight gain when consumed in excess, especially when coupled with highly processed foods and sugary treats.


Additionally, the carnivore diet induces a state of ketosis, wherein the body shifts from utilizing carbohydrates as its main source of energy to burning fat. During ketosis, the body breaks down fat and produces ketones, which serve as an alternative fuel source. This metabolic state may result in reduced hunger and cravings, attributed to increased consumption of satiating protein and fat, as well as changes in hunger hormones.


Furthermore, protein-rich diets have a higher thermic effect, meaning they boost metabolism and increase calorie expenditure. Combined with physical activity, a diet rich in protein can promote muscle growth, further enhancing fat burning. However, sustainable weight loss on the carnivore diet necessitates a balanced intake of protein and fat, alongside regular physical activity.

Despite the potential for weight loss, concerns persist regarding the long-term sustainability and health implications of the carnivore diet. Eliminating food groups such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may lead to vitamin deficiencies, while the absence of fiber can cause digestive issues like constipation. Moreover, the high saturated fat content of meat raises concerns for individuals with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions.

Ultimately, the decision to adopt the carnivore diet hinges on individual preferences and health considerations. While it may offer rapid weight loss, it also presents risks and challenges that should be carefully weighed. Consulting with a dietitian can provide personalized guidance and ensure a balanced approach to achieving weight loss and overall health goals.



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