Got questions? Well, I’ve got answers. This post answers all your common Carnivore questions.
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Does this diet cause nutrient (vitamins & minerals) deficiencies?
In the short run, the diet will unlikely cause nutrient deficiencies. Most nutrient deficiencies can be mitigated on a carnivore diet by consuming organ meats and offal. So to be safe in the long run make sure you consume organ meats, like liver, 2 to 4 times a week or buy a liver supplement.
Should I take supplements?
It depends on your goals and nutritional needs. Supplements such as whey protein are not needed - there is plenty of protein in beef. Other supplements, like vitamins and minerals, can be a helpful addition to make sure you are maximising your health.
What if I want to gain weight?
This is a matter of calories in vs. calories out. If you want to gain weight, then you need to consume more calories than you currently burning. The easiest way is to start adding more fat to your diet and meals.
Will I get Scurvy?
It is very unlikely you will get scurvy. On a carnivore diet, the body's need for vitamin C is reduced; the body's demand for vitamin C intake is greater when consuming carbohydrates, because the glucose and vitamin C compete for absorption. If you are concerned about scurvy, there is no harm in taking a vitamin C supplement.
How do I build muscle on the Carnivore Diet?
Easy: consistency, progressive overload and a calorie surplus.
Is a carnivore diet for children?
I would not recommend limiting your child to only animal foods. The addition of animal foods will likely benefit their health though. Many parents do feed their children predominantly animal foods with great success. See the GAPS Diet for further information.
Will this way of eating cause constipation?
For some in the short run, it does; for others, it doesn’t. As your body adjusts to the new diet and your digestive system starts to heal, constipation will likely stop.
Don't I need fibre for healthy digestion?
One of the many reasons people start a Carnivore diet is to improve their digestion. People on a Carnivore diet soon realise that fibre, despite what they have been told, was actually causing them a lot of digestive. Here is an interesting paper showing a reduction in fibre led to better digestion.
What if I am prone to diarrhoea?
In the short run, these symptoms may continue on a Carnivore Diet, but as your body adjusts, and your gut starts to heal, you will likely see your diarrhoea ease. A lot of diarrhoea can be triggered due to food allergies and intolerances and the elimination diet phase of a Carnivore Diet is designed to help rid your diet of ‘trigger’ foods.
Should I monitor portion sizes?
It is not necessary to monitor portion sizes when starting on a Carnivore Diet. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. If however, you want to lose weight or gain weight, monitoring portion sizes can be advantageous and give you clarity of mind that you are on track.
Will I suffer from Keto flu?
To mitigate Keto flu on a Carnivore Diet I would consume more protein, so about 40% Protein / 60% Fat. The extra protein, through gluconeogenesis, will ease Keto flu symptoms.
Can I eat dairy? Such as butter, cheese, and cream?
When starting on a Carnivore Diet, it is best to remove dairy to maximise health and healing benefits of a Carnivore Diet. As you become accustomed to the diet over time, you can start to add butter, hard and aged cheeses, and heavy cream back into the diet and see how you feel.
How many carbs should I eat per day?
For 90% of people on a strict Carnivore Diet none. If for example, you are an athlete or involved in certain sports, the addition of carbs can be advantageous.
Should I track macros?
However, if something feels off with you, then it is advantageous to track as it will allow for optimal dietary adjustments.
What if my weight loss stalls?
Either increase energy expenditure through more exercise - this can be as simple as going for an extra walk per day. Or reduce calories, by tracking calorie intake daily or adding in some extra intermittent fasting days.
Do I have to do Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not essential on a Carnivore Diet.
Can I drink alcohol?
When starting on a Carnivore Diet, it is best to remove alcohol to maximise health and healing benefits of a Carnivore Diet. But as you become accustomed to the diet, you can add in alcohol. Who can say no to a glass of red wine with steak?
Should I aim to be in ketosis all the time?
I would not get too fixated on always being in ketosis. So long as you are adhering to a Carnivore Diet, 9 out of 10 times you will be in ketosis. For some periods you may come out of ketosis due to gluconeogenesis, but you will soon return.
What’s the difference between a Keto and Carnivore diet?
Two big differences:
1. Keto allows for vegetables and vegetable fats to be consumed. Carnivore on the other hand doesn’t.
2. Fat to Protein ratio. Keto diets often call for 70% 30% protein, whereas, on a Carnivore diet, protein ration can be much higher.
What’s the difference between a Carnivore and a Zero-Carb diet?
A Zero-Carb diet still allows for the consumption of vegetables and vegetable fats. Which the Carnivore diet doesn’t.
Can I do this program if I don’t have a gallbladder or if I have gallbladder issues?
Yes, you can. It would advantageous to consume a digestive enzyme supplement that contains Ox bile. This will help with the digestion of fats.
Do I need carbs for hormonal balance?
In general, no your don’t, and the absence of carbs can help with hormonal balance - many Carnivore success stories are stating such. However, this is person-specific and in some cases, carbs may be necessary and beneficial for hormonal balance.
Can I use calorie-free sweeteners?
I would try to avoid these, especially when new to a carnivore diet. They can have some negative effects on gut flora. But later, if you fancy a calorie-free sweetened drink, treat yourself.
How will I feel when starting an all-meat diet?
Very hard to give an individualised answer. You may feel amazing, many do. Or you may feel a bit off for a few days as your body adjusts to the new diet.
How do I deal with carbohydrate withdrawal and sugar cravings?
Here are my top 4 mental hacks to help you overcome carbohydrate withdrawal and sugar cravings:
1. Changing your value system. Say to yourself: ‘YOUR NAME does not eat bread’.
2. Do 10 paused breaths every time you get a craving or negative thoughts. For example, breathe in for 5, hold for 5, breathe out for 5, hold for 5 - repeat 10 times.
3. Find a motivational quote, an image of some shredded person you wish you looked like, or a Jocko Willink video. Get anything that motivates you and save it to your phone, or keep a photo to hand, or write the quote on a piece of paper and keep it in your pocket. Make sure the motivation is readily accessible, so every time you feel like quitting go look at it and tell yourself not to quit it is only 28 days.
4. Consume some bone broth.
5. If all the above options are not working, consume a calorie-free sweetened drink.
Won’t I get sick of just eating meat? What about variety?
The way to bring variety into a Carnivore diet is to eat different meats and try out different cuts of meat. Cooking your meat with different methods, such as slow cook, grill, bbq, smoke, air-fry, etc. all work to bring variety.
As you progress with a Carnivore diet, you start to add different spices to your meat.
Most find within in time their taste buds adjust and they quite like the ‘lack’ of variety. It also removes the stress of thinking and planning for variety.
What if I cheat and eat other foods? What do I do next?
Slap yourself on the wrist and go sit in the naughty corner for 10 minutes. Jokes aside - just jump straight back onto the diet. Afterward, I would ask why did you cheat? How do you feel the next day? Was is it worth it? Do I need to work on my mindset? Turn a negative into a positive by learning from mistakes.
What’s the best fat to protein ratio?
70% Fat: 30% Protein or 60% Fat: 40% Protein.
How to deal with negative influences from family and friends?
This is where mindset comes into it. The easiest thing is to simply not care. But this can be difficult. So instead, I would let people know that you are curious about this diet and you have set yourself a goal for 28 days and you will be accomplishing that goal for the health and mindset benefits as mentioned earlier.
If they keep giving you a hard time or asking annoying questions or tempting you to drink or eat junk food, ask them to please stop. Or ask if you can set them a challenge. Ask them if they can support you (stop bugging you) for 28 days and once that’s over say ‘you are free to bug and tempt me’.
Social pressure is a big issue when it comes to diet adherence or any type of behaviour change. It is a whole topic in itself. But fundamentally, it comes down to YOU to take responsibility, maintain discipline, and own your goals.
Will excess protein cause kidney damage?
Just like the myth ‘meat is bad for you’, kidney damage from protein is another one of these myths. Unless you have serious issues with your kidney, the excess protein will not cause you harm.
Does eating Carnivore cause gout?
No, it doesn’t. Many people on a Carnivore diet would argue the diet cures gout.
How do I explain to my doctor I’m on a Carnivore Diet?
I would be honest and layout a simple argument, explaining the reasons why you want to try the diet and the benefits you expect to see from this diet.
How to transition off a Carnivore Diet and start to reintroduce foods?
To reintroduce foods, choose a single food, such as hard cheese, and consume a small amount. Over the next 24 - 48 hours monitor your symptoms. If free of symptoms, either, add a larger amount of the same food or add a small amount of new food and again monitor 24 - 48 hours for symptoms.