The Carnivore Diet has been moving in and out of popularity over the last handful of years. It seems to grab everyone’s attention, then fade into the background before leaping back into the spotlight again. It manages to attract a lot of attention once it moves its way back into social media circles because everything it stands for flies in the face of conventional nutrition wisdom.
The Carnivore Diet is marketed primarily for men, though there’s nothing that says women can’t do it, too. Men simply seem to be the primary target and are more likely to find it appealing than women. It is designed for people who don’t want to go on a diet and don’t want to have to eat any food groups other than those that come from animals.
What is the Carnivore Diet?
The Carnivore Diet is an eating strategy in which the only foods a person eats are animal-based. It’s the complete opposite of plant based or vegan dieting. Instead, it doesn’t include any fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, or anything else that didn’t originally come from an animal.
Once you see what this diet is about, it’s easy to see why it regularly makes its way back into the spotlight. People have strong reactions to these instructions. They either think it is completely ridiculous, or they think it is the dream diet.
Can Humans Eat Like Carnivores?
There are many animals that can eat only meat. They’re usually animals that have short digestive tracts and large teeth. However, what we would need to know before hopping on the Carnivore Diet bandwagon is whether or not that applies to us.
There are some nutrition experts that say plant foods aren’t necessarily an absolute requirement of human health. We require fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in various amounts in order to live. Arguably, meat products, when chosen carefully, can provide those basic necessities. That said, just because a human can survive off a diet of only meat, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best and most nutritious plan. For short-term health, it likely wouldn’t be terribly damaging – again, if done right – but over the long term, it is not seen as realistic for most people.
Though Carnivore Diet fans have pointed to certain isolated tribal cultures – such as the Arctic’s Inuit people – to show that people can survive on animals alone. However, those typically represent very small groups of people whose health hasn’t been studied throughout these times that are usually animal based only because other sources of food were not available. It was a temporary survival method.
What Does the Carnivore Diet Allow?
Followers of the Carnivore Diet will eat meat, poultry, fish, whole eggs, dairy, bone marrow, animal fats, condiments such as salt and pepper, and most will usually require nutritional supplements to complete their nutritional needs where the animal-based ingredients don’t.
The Bulletproof Diet was created by Dave Asprey. Asprey is the founder of the Bulletproof company, which was launched in 2013. Briefly, his story says that he had been very unhealthy and then started following a diet very different from the traditional weight loss strategy. This included melting butter into his morning coffee, among other changes.
That said, Asprey claims that following his Bulletproof diet helped him to lose 100 pounds of fat, eliminated the signs of six chronic diseases – which were not identified – experienced increased energy and productivity and he even claims that his IQ spiked by 20 points. To be clear, aside from the weight (not necessarily fat) loss, none of the additional claims are verifiable. Therefore, it’s very important for dieters to take a much closer look at this diet and to talk to their doctors before starting this type of dieting.
The Bulletproof Diet Rules
There are ten rules someone is supposed to follow if they are using the Bulletproof Diet to lose weight. They are mainly a matter of eliminating certain foods because they are “toxic” according to Asprey.
- Cut out all sugar – This includes natural sweeteners like maple syrup and honey.
- Replace any sugars with healthy fats – Therefore, where you’d usually eat sugar, honey or maple syrup, you should include grass fed butter or any of the pricy branded Bulletproof fat products.
- Eliminate anything other than “clean” meats – Clean meats are grass fed meats and wild caught seafood. This will likely present a barrier to anyone whose grocery list is made on a budget.
- Eliminate grains and gluten – Asprey believes that gluten has “many negative effects”. That said, most doctors disagree, and some studies show that people who eliminate gluten when they do not have celiac disease or another specific tolerance have an increased risk of heart disease.
- Eliminate all artificial colorings, flavorings and other additives.
- Eliminate all legumes except for sprouted legumes – Sprouted legumes are permitted, but only if you must have them. They’re best cut out as well, according to the Bulletproof Diet.
- Eliminate all processed, pasteurized and homogenized dairy – Only full-fat raw dairy is permitted with the Bulletproof Diet. This will prove difficult for the millions of people living in areas where it is illegal to sell raw dairy to the consumer.
- Switch to organic fruits and veggies.
- Gently cook foods – Ideally, they should not be heated to more than 320ºF, should not be fried and should not be microwaved.
- Eat only 1 to 2 servings of fruit per day – Ideally, fruits should be low-sugar options. The Bulletproof diet recommends berries and lemons.
The Bulletproof Diet is typically considered to be a form of extreme dieting.