Should people with diabetes try the Carnivore diet?
by admin | May 7, 2021 | Uncategorized

Important Points:

  • Carnivore diet
  • Meat
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Side effects
  • Weight loss

Should people with diabetes try the Carnivore diet?

The diabetes state of affairs has taken the world by storm. With easy to access processed foods and a sedentary lifestyle, obesity has become all too common, and we would all like a cure. Though many diabetics are often under treatment, it is well understood that conventional medicine only manages the diabetic condition but does not offer any hope for reversal or a cure. Is the carnivore diet the missing piece in this puzzle?  How can adapting the carnivore diet start reversing the effects of this disease? In this article we will look at the possibilities in these questions and shed some light on how the carnivore diet can actually help.

Facets of the Carnivore Diet Making It Ideal for Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

The carnivore diet is very effective in achieving the two common aims of diabetes control: lowering blood glucose levels and reducing weight.

The all meat diet, also known as the carnivore diet, is exactly what its name suggests: a diet that consists 100% of meat. Think of the keto diet without any salads or low carb vegetables.

The carnivore diet has been claimed to have a variety of benefits including:

  • lower blood pressure
  • improved insulin sensitivity
  • reduced dependency on medication
  • reduction in weight
  • improvements in high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, without adding to low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol
  • a drop in insulin

Proponents of the diet tout its ability to aid in weight loss, cure autoimmune diseases, decrease digestive issues, and improve heart health. The total elimination of carbohydrates as part of this diet results in more consistent insulin levels.

The carnivore diet should consist of the following types of food:

  • Meats: Fatty meats are acceptable, but should be eaten in moderation to be mindful of heart health. Also, be mindful of consuming too much protein. Combining a high level of protein with low levels of carbohydrates may cause the liver to convert the protein into glucose. This would raise blood sugar levels.
  • Eggs: Eggs are low in carbohydrates, as well as being an excellent source of protein.
  • Fish: This is a good source of protein.
  • Poultry: Also a good source of protein
  • Organ parts: A good source for nutrients besides protein
  • Cheese: Not everyone on a carnivore diet takes cheese but it can be included.

There has been anecdotal evidence that people with diabetes have been able to stabilize their blood sugar using this diet. From a biochemistry standpoint, if you’re eating only meat, you’re largely not taking in glucose, so your blood glucose levels are likely to be stable.

Effects of Carbohydrates on a Diabetic

Foods containing carbohydrates, such as bread, rice, pasta, milk, and fruit, are the main fuel source for many bodily processes. The body uses insulin to help bring glucose from the blood into the cells for energy. As Type 2 Diabetes is a disease of insulin resistance, people suffering from this condition produce too much insulin because their receptors don’t work. This disrupts the body’s ability to use carbohydrates effectively and, in turn, causes high blood sugar levels. When a person with Type 2 Diabetes eats a high-carb meal, this can lead to a spike in blood glucose.

Because the carnivore diet totally eliminates carbohydrates, glucose spikes are avoided. In fact, the body starts using the stored up fat for energy. This leads to weight loss and stable sugars.

In a nutshell the carnivore diet might:

  • reduce the risk of diabetes in people who do not yet have it
  • improve glycemic control in people with diabetes
  • help people to lose excess weight

Impact of the Carnivore Diet on Diabetics’ Medication

The carnivore diet may help reduce blood sugar levels. As such, some people with type 2 diabetes who start this diet may be able to reduce their need for medication. One should have their blood glucose levels constantly monitored so as to adjust medication accordingly.

Impact of a Carnivore Diet on Weight Loss?

People on a carnivore diet tend to lose weight because:

  • They totally eliminate carbohydrates and sugar, which are readily converted to fat.
  • Their bodies start burning fat for energy. Naturally, this leads to reduced weight.

Diabetes has been linked to obesity and one of the factors that help in the prevention and management of this disease is keeping one’s weight within the recommended guidelines. As such, this aspect of the carnivore diet can go a long way in managing, and even reversing Type 2 Diabetes.

Side Effects of the Carnivore Diet

The Carnivore diet may be a viable glucose management option for some people with type 2 diabetes, however, as the it involves switching to a different source of energy, it’s not right for everyone.

Short-term side effects

The dietary change might cause symptoms that resemble withdrawal from a substance, such as caffeine.

These symptoms may include:

  • keto-flu, a short-term group of symptoms that resemble those of flu
  • noticeable changes in bowel habits, such as a running stomach
  • uncomfortable leg cramps
  • a noticeable loss of energy
  • mental fogginess
  • frequent urination
  • headaches
  • loss of salts

In most instances, the side effects are temporary. People often experience no long-term health problems.

Long term side effects

Measuring blood sugar looks at the short-term, immediate effect of food. But over time, eating a diet of mostly or only meat can have long-term health consequences.

Long-term effects might include the development of kidney stones and an increased risk of bone fractures due to acidosis. Other complications include the risk of dyslipidemia (buildup of fats in the blood) and a possible increase in hypoglycemic (below normal blood sugar level) episodes.

Some animal studies have suggested that, since a low-carb diet often involves additional fat, there might be a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), due to a buildup of fats in the arteries. People with diabetes already have an increased risk of CVD.

There is a lack of evidence about the long-term safety and effectiveness of the carnivore diet, and researchers have called for more primary studies and more evidence before recommending this diet.

Alternatives to the Carnivore Diet

A doctor may recommend a specific meal plan rather than suggesting a diet. The carnivore diet is one of many eating plans that might help people manage their weight. A majority of health professionals do not recommend the carnivore diet for managing diabetes because there are many other nutrient-dense diets available that aim to balance carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake, control body weight, and keep blood sugar within a healthful range.

Criticisms of the Carnivore Diet

Critics of the carnivore diet focus on the adverse effects, including the possibility of kidney damage, CVD, and hypoglycemic episodes while noting that there is no evidence to support the long-term benefits of the carnivore diet.

Maintaining this type of diet can also be difficult on a long-term basis, as it is highly restrictive. This may lead to weight gain later on, particularly if an individual starts to eat unbalanced levels of carbohydrates once they switch back to a regular diet.

So, is it advisable for a diabetic to go on a carnivore diet?

Unlike the other diets, the carnivore diet is easy to track and maintain because it involves eating all kinds of meat in any quantities. It is thus easier to follow and much harder to fall off the wagon than being on diets such as the keto diet and others that need careful monitoring and measuring in some.

Much remains to be discovered about how this way of eating impacts our health, but it’s certainly worth a try if you’re struggling with autoimmune diseases, obesity, diabetes or psychiatric issues. Going on a carnivore diet as a short-term experiment is reasonable and safe, albeit socially challenging.

Therefore, at this point in time, without scientific studies to back the safety of this diet, and without substantial anecdotal evidence about long-term success, there isn’t really any way to say for certain if the all meat diet is good for people with diabetes. One thing it won’t do, however, is raise blood sugar levels. And that’s a good thing!

References:

  1. A sweet life (2018): Is the All Meat Diet Good for People With Diabetes? Retrieved from
https://asweetlife.org/is-the-all-meat-diet-good-for-people-with-diabetes/
  • Nutrita (2019): The ultimate guide to the carnivore diet. Retrieved from

https://nutrita.app/guide-to-the-carnivore-diet/

  • Healthline (2019):All Meat, All the Time: Should People with Diabetes Try the Carnivore Diet? Retrieved from

https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/carnivore-diet-for-diabetes#1

  • NCBI (2017):Effects of Ketogenic Diets on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Evidence from Animal and Human Studies. Retrieved from

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452247/