Carnivore Diet: 19 Things You Need To Know

Carnivore Diet

The carnivore diet is one that excludes plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, as well as processed foods. The goal is to consume only animal-based foods, and while this diet is viewed as restrictive, it has gained massive popularity in recent years. 

If you’re considering the carnivore diet, you undoubtedly have lots of questions. What can you eat? How much can I eat? Can you lose weight? Here are 19 of the top questions about the carnivore diet, all answered in easy-to-understand terminology. 

1. What Can You Eat On The Carnivore Diet

The carnivore diet is a zero-carb diet that is limited to eating only animal foods. This includes most meats, as long as they aren’t processed and filled with sugars, as well as some additional types of animal-based foods. 

People who follow the carnivore diet can eat a variety of animal proteins, including beef (grass-fed beef is best), chicken and other types of poultry, fish & seafood, pork, lamb, wild game, and organ meats. 

In addition to meat, you can also enjoy eggs, butter, and full-fat dairy that’s low in lactose. Some people who follow the carnivore diet enjoy all types of dairy because it fits in with the “animal-foods only” basis of the diet.

1. What Can You Eat On The Carnivore Diet

If your goal is to lose weight on the carnivore diet, greater success seems to come from eliminating all carbs, including those found in dairy products with higher levels of lactose (sugars). 

Likewise, some carnivore dieters also eat honey because it’s not an artificial or plant-based sweetener. Again, whether you choose to consume honey should depend on your overall goals for embracing the carnivore lifestyle. 

2. How To Lose Weight On The Carnivore Diet

How To Lose Weight On Carnivore Diet

The carnivore diet is a zero-carb eating plan. If you’re familiar with keto or other types of low-carb diets, then you know that they work off the idea that is limiting carbs forces your body to burn fat for fuel through a process called ketosis. 

Well, the carnivore diet works exactly the same way, except more extreme. Due to the restrictiveness of the diet, you consume zero carbs. So, you enter ketosis, and you stay there without the need to count carbs or find your “ketosis zone.” 

Many people who follow the carnivore diet do report losing some weight, although making other healthy lifestyle choices is important too. Things like staying physically active, drinking enough water, and taking any necessary supplements to support your health are important. 

While it may not seem like an issue considering the basis of the carnivore diet, people find that the calories they consume are reduced so much that this also contributes to weight loss. As much as a person might love meat and dairy, eating only that tends to naturally decrease a person’s appetite. 

3. How Much Meat To Eat On The Carnivore Diet

How Much Meat To Eat On Carnivore Diet

There aren’t any hard and fast rules to the carnivore diet regarding how much meat you can eat. It’s suggested to aim for about two pounds of meat a day for the average person. This is enough to cover your daily calorie intake and also make sure you’re consuming a decent amount of healthy fats. 

However, that amount can vary depending on your activity level and appetite. Many people find that they end up eating less the longer they’re on the carnivore diet as their appetite decreases. 

4. How Much To Eat On Carnivore Diet

How Much To Eat On Carnivore Diet

On the carnivore diet, you can eat as much as you want – as long as you stick to the food list of only animal meat, eggs, and low-lactose dairy. You don’t have to keep track of calories, macros, or portion sizes. Some suggest eating several meals a day, while others go more for an eat-when-you’re-hungry approach. 

5. What Can You Drink On The Carnivore Diet

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You can drink all the water and bone broth you want on the carnivore diet. Other types of beverages such as juices, sodas, beer, wine, and other types of alcohol are off-limits. The jury is mixed on whether you can consume coffee or tea while following the carnivore diet. 

Some say it’s fine to consume, while others point out that tea and coffee technically come from plants, so they aren’t animal-based food. Whether or not to consume coffee or tea is a decision you’ll want to make for yourself. 

6. How To Make Bone Broth Carnivore Diet

How To Make Bone Broth Carnivore Diet

Bone broth is a wonderful addition to the carnivore diet. It can be enjoyed as a beverage, snack, or light meal. Often, bone broth is made using extra vegetables and herbs for seasoning, but you’ll want to avoid those while on the carnivore diet. 

You can use any type of animal bones to make a carnivore bone broth, but those that are a little meaty, contain bone marrow, and have some connective tissue attached work best. 

For a richer taste of your bone broth, you’ll want to roast the bones first (although this isn’t necessary). Then, throw the bones in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer for about 24 hours or longer.

Occasionally, you’ll want to go in and skim off any skin that has formed. After you have a nice broth, strain and enjoy. 

7. What Snacks Can I Eat On The Carnivore Diet

7. What Snacks Can I Eat On Carnivore Diet

Snacks on the carnivore diet include smaller portions of meat, beef jerky that doesn’t include any added sugars or restricted ingredients, hard-boiled eggs, and low-lactose cheese. 

Because snack options are limited, it’s best to have some smaller portions of meat or egg prepared, so that all you have to do is grab them and enjoy them when the urge to snack strikes. 

8. How Much Liver Per Week Carnivore Diet

8. How Much Liver Per Week Carnivore Diet

Liver is absolutely packed with nutrients, many of which are hard to get from other sources on the carnivore diet. It’s great to enjoy liver as part of your carnivore lifestyle, but you also want to be careful due to the high amount of vitamin A, and the risk of consuming too much of it. 

A healthy amount of liver to consume each day is anywhere from ½ ounce to 2 ounces. Keep in mind that this is if you’re eating liver daily. If you enjoy it occasionally or a couple of times a week, you can have larger portions. 

9. How Much Organ Meat Should I Eat On Carnivore Diet

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Along with the liver, it’s encouraged that you enjoy a variety of organ meat while on the carnivore diet. Organ meats have a different nutritional profile than other types of meats and help to round out your diet from a nutritional perspective. 

It’s recommended that you enjoy up to two ounces of organ meats per day while following the carnivore diet. 

10. What Supplements Should I Take On The Carnivore Diet

10. What Supplements Should I Take On The Carnivore Diet

There’s some debate among carnivore diet experts and other medical and nutritional professionals about whether you need supplements for the carnivore diet. Most carnivore diet experts say they really aren’t necessary, except for possibly a supplement for electrolytes and possibly magnesium. 

Nutritional experts are more likely to argue that carnivore dieters are missing out on many vitamins and nutrients found in a range of plant-based foods. If you’re concerned about this, a good quality multivitamin won’t hurt. It’s also sometimes suggested that you consume a fiber supplement since animal-based foods lack dietary fiber. 

11. Why Does Carnivore Diet Cause Diarrhea

Why Does Carnivore Diet Cause Diarrhea

Diarrhea is common on the carnivore diet, especially in the early stages as your body is adjusting. Each person is different in how they respond to eating the carnivore way, but there are a few different reasons you might experience diarrhea when embracing the carnivore lifestyle. 

The first is simply that your body is adjusting to an entirely new way of eating. Contrary to the keto diet, which can cause constipation because of a combination of more animal products plus high fiber, low-carb plant foods, the carnivore diet seems to have the opposite effect. The increase in fat consumption alone can cause diarrhea. 

Other reasons might include a change in water or bile absorption in the intestines, an off-balance ratio of protein to fat, and a change in gut microbiota. 

12. How Much Fat To Eat On Carnivore Diet

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How much fat you consume on the carnivore diet should depend partially on what your goals are. The general rule of thumb is to consume a 1:1 ratio of fat to protein. Since you’re not consuming any carbs, this means that half your calories should come from protein and half should come from fat. 

If your goal is to lose weight, then you’ll want to decrease the ratio of fat slightly. If you want to gain weight, then consuming more fat than protein is ideal. 

13. Why No Vegetables On A Carnivore Diet

13. Why No Vegetables On A Carnivore Diet

The simplest reason why you don’t consume vegetables on the carnivore diet is that all vegetables have carbohydrates, even in small amounts. The carnivore diet is a strict, zero-carb eating plan, so veggies don’t really fit into the picture. 

There’s also a more complex reason behind the ideology of not eating plants like veggies. Many people who adopt the carnivore lifestyle do so because they experience digestive distress when eating plant-based foods. Eliminating those foods eliminates the symptoms. The theory goes that plants have developed defense systems to be toxic against predators -like you. Those toxins are what are believed to have negative effects on the body. 

14. How To Get Magnesium On Carnivore Diet

14. How To Get Magnesium On Carnivore Diet

Many foods on the carnivore diet are low in magnesium. You can either get magnesium through a quality supplement, or you can choose to incorporate more carnivore-friendly foods that contain higher amounts of magnesium. Shellfish, salmon, halibut, cod, mackerel, and fish eggs are a few good carnivore sources of magnesium. 

15. How Long To Adapt To A Carnivore Diet

15. How Long To Adapt To A Carnivore Diet

Most people find that it takes about two weeks to adapt to the carnivore diet. These first two weeks are when you might experience some unpleasant side effects, including headache, fatigue, and a general feeling of unwell. These side effects are temporary and pass for most people within 10-15 days. 

16. How Many Calories On Carnivore Diet

16. How Many Calories On Carnivore Diet

Calorie counting isn’t part of the carnivore diet. The idea is that you eat until you’re satisfied, as long as you stay away from off-limit foods. Many people find that after they are on the carnivore diet for several weeks that they naturally consume fewer calories as their appetite decreases. 

If you’re having difficulty consuming enough calories on the carnivore diet, make sure to add some fatty cuts of meat to your daily diet. If you find you’re gaining weight, and that isn’t one of your goals, try cutting back on fattier cuts of meat and consuming more lean protein. 

17. How Much Water Should You Drink On Carnivore Diet

17. How Much Water Should You Drink On Carnivore Diet

The old rule of thumb is to drink 8 glasses of water per day, but that may be more or less than what you need on the carnivore diet. Instead, you should focus on drinking when you’re thirsty and drink water until that thirst is quenched. 

The more active you are, the more water you’ll need to drink on the carnivore diet. Also remember that except for bone broth, water is the only liquid you’re consuming. So, water will take the place of other beverages that you may be accustomed to drinking throughout the day. 

18. How Does The Carnivore Diet Affect Cholesterol

18. How Does The Carnivore Diet Affect Cholesterol

Conventional science tells us that consuming large amounts of meat, especially red meat and fattier cuts of meat, is a sure way to spike cholesterol levels. Carnivore diet devotees are often quick to share that their levels are fine. The issue here is that we’re currently lacking long-term studies on the effects of the carnivore diet on cholesterol and cardiac health. 

Certainly, the potential is there for the carnivore diet to raise cholesterol levels. If this is a concern for you, it’s always wise to speak with a healthcare professional, and also choose meats that are leaner and lower in saturated fats. If you have a history of heart disease or cardiac issues, you may want to refrain from the carnivore diet until you have a chance to discuss it with your doctor. 

19. How Long Should You Do The Carnivore Diet

19. How Long Should You Do The Carnivore Diet

There’s no set time frame for how long to follow the carnivore diet. Some people follow it for years, while others only do so until they reach a goal, such as weight loss. The general advice on this subject is to follow the carnivore diet for 60-90 days, or up to six months at the max. 

Is The Carnivore Diet Right For You?

So, this could count as question #20, but we didn’t because it’s one that only you can answer. The carnivore diet is restrictive but offers benefits such as weight loss, improved energy, and greater mental clarity. It might also not be the best diet for some people or the best diet to follow long term. If you do decide to try the carnivore diet, remember that carnivore diet meal delivery can be a lifesaver and offer more variety than what you can find at your local grocery store or butcher’s counter. 

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