Obesity has become rampant in recent times. It is said to affect almost 50% of the American population, and it has been credited with being a leading cause of chronic illness and ill health. The carnivore diet has become very popular as the new way to lose weight, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and ward off these diseases. A major proponent of this diet is its ability to melt away the fat, but just how effective is it in the management of obesity? Do its effects last? Let’s consider these questions here.
Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It is a medical problem that increases your risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers. There are many reasons why some people have difficulty avoiding obesity including inherited factors, environmental factors, and personal diet and exercise choices.
The Carnivore Diet is a restrictive diet that only includes meat, fish, and other animal foods like eggs and certain dairy products. It excludes all other foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. Its proponents also recommend limiting dairy intake to foods that are low in lactose — a sugar found in milk and dairy products — such as butter and hard cheeses.
Many people who have adopted the carnivore diet report faster weight loss, improved mental clarity, healthier digestion, and even improved athletic performance. Some have also reported remarkable relief from debilitating chronic health problems where conventional methods failed.
Promoted (Green List) Foods, with emphasis on the fattier cuts of meat to take in enough calories:
What effect might the carnivore diet have on obesity?
When on a carnivore diet, you consume primarily meat… Occasionally you could have some eggs and cheese and maybe a cup of coffee. At a glance, what about this diet could help in combating obesity?
How does the carnivore diet work?
The absence of sugar and carbohydrates cause rapid and sustained fat loss without the need to count calories. Carbohydrates are hard to store and actually harmful if left to circulate in your system too long, so your body always wants to use them up first. Your body releases insulin to shuttle blood sugar into muscles. To make sure the sugar gets used up first, insulin also tells your fat cells to store any fat you consume and to not release stored body fat for hours afterwards. If you eat a lot of easily-absorbed carbohydrates, your body releases a ton of insulin in response. Excess insulin can remove too much sugar from your blood stream, resulting in hypoglycemia, and the quickest way to restore blood sugar levels is to eat more carbs. The fat stored never gets used up, and people live on the carb roller coaster resulting in weight gain.
The carnivore diet does away with all this by totally eliminating sugar and carbohydrates from your diet.
One way that protein controls appetite is through the amino acid phenylalanine. Consumed protein is broken down into amino acids so it can be absorbed by the body. Multiple studies have shown how phenylalanine suppresses appetite and even improves mood while helping you burn stored fat. One study found that phenylalanine increases the release of an intestinal hormone called cholecystokinin which signals the brain to feel satiated after eating and causes a reduction in subsequent food intake. A mouse study found that a single dose of phenylalanine caused an increase in another satiety hormone called GLP-1 and reduced levels of the hunger-hormone ghrelin.
Protein foods are made from the building blocks of amino acids (including tyrosine) which are essential to the production of dopamine. It has therefore been suggested that upping protein intake may also boost dopamine production without increasing appetite. Dopamine is considered the reward hormone, and increasing its levels in your brain is helpful for making your weight loss diet less unpleasant.
The carnivore diet tends to make people naturally adopt time-restricted eating patterns. Studies show that eating at night is a common cause of obesity. Junk food actually causes you to prefer late-night eating. Sugar and fat together act as a trigger that cements the unhealthy habit of late-night eating. Worse yet, your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) determines your digestion and energy usage times along with your sleep and wake times. We’re meant to eat during the day and sleep at night. When you eat at night, your body doesn’t want to process those calories leaving them to sit and cause metabolic dysfunction.
Protein does not seem to trigger a desire for late-night eating, so the carnivore diet also helps curb that unhealthy practice. With late-night eating eliminated, the quality of your sleep will improve producing a better mood the next day and making you less apt to make poor food choices out of hunger or being cranky. Better sleep will decrease stress and anxiety too.
There is a link between the Carnivore diet and sustained weight loss. In the absence of carbohydrates, fat can be kept off for long periods of time. The question becomes how safe it is to do the carnivore diet long term. More studies on this need to be carried out, but in the meantime, this diet is one of the best in keeping obesity and its associated diseases at bay.