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Is the Carnivore Diet Bad for Your Heart?

Have you ever heard of the Carnivore Diet? Chances are your dog has and thrives on mostly animal foods.

Before you click off this article and run back to your bean salad, I think you should read on.

2019 saw the rise of Carnivore in search engines. Could the masses be on to something?

People are touting Carnivore as the path to energy, weight loss, pain relief and more.

But is the Carnivore Diet good for you and your heart? Let’s find out.

What is a Carnivore?

A carnivore is a “meat eater” (from the Latin word carnis, meaning “meat” or “flesh” and vorare meaning “to devour”), who derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of animal tissue, obtained by predation or scavenging. Cats are a perfect example of a carnivore as an animal that eats over 70% of its diet from animal sources. In contrast, an herbivore eats mostly plants (and some insects) with very little animal consumption. An omnivore eats animals and plants.

Carnivorous animals can vary from the hyper consumer of over 70% to the hypo consumer of under 30%. Seasonal variation in animal diets is also common.

Humans are the classic example of hypocarnivore/omnivore. This is based on extensive research in the Paleontology literature.

Observations on the Carnivore Diet

In short, the Carnivore Diet is mostly meat with little to ZERO vegetables. Be patient with me here.

My first encounter with information on a meat-based diet was from a book called The Stone Age Diet. Written by Walter Voegtlin MD, a gastroenterologist, this book describes how the diet of our ancestors was meat heavy and we should follow their lead.

Back in the 1930’s there was a publication on the work of Dr. Stefansson and the fact he subsisted on meat for 10 years while living in the Arctic.

What is on the Carnivore Diet?

Carnivore Approved (100% grass-fed and pasture-raised):

  • Animal organs
  • Animal muscle (ground beef, ribeye etc.) with plenty of fat.
  • Seafood- fish and shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Water

Not Carnivore Approved

  • Everything else

Optional:

  • Organic coffee and tea
  • Butter, cream, yogurt, ghee and kefir (100% grass-fed and pasture-raised)
  • Green leafy vegetables and Brassica vegetables
  • Herbs and Spices

Is the Carnivore Diet Heart Healthy?

In short, I think so. Let me explain further.

Cardiovascular disease is not a cholesterol problem and not a genetic problem.

Cardiovascular disease is an immune problem stoked by poor nutrition, an unhealthy lifestyle and a toxic environment.

This “dangerous trio” leads to immune activation that ultimately leads to an attack on the cardiovascular system.

A Lectin Issue

Modern nutrition, according to many authors and most recently Steven Gundry MD in Plant Paradox, is full of lectins. These proteins are part of the defense mechanisms used by plants. The lectins are there to ward off plant predators.

Meat and seafood do not contain lectins, therefore are not immunostimulatory.

Meat and seafood are in many ways’ complete foods, containing all the vitamins and minerals we need, especially when we include the organs. One concern is the lack of significant vitamin C and the risk of scurvy, but researchers on the Inuit Eskimos who subsist on meat and seafood for the majority of their diet found no evidence of scurvy.

Scurvy is likely a disease of grain and sugar consumption with little fruit/vegetable intake.

Like any change in nutrition, you should get laboratory testing before and test 90 days later.

See how you do. If markers such as the Apo B/A ratio, inflammation, homocysteine, uric acid and blood sugar look good, continue with the diet. If you feel good and the labs look good, continue with the Carnivore diet. I also suggest the Vibrant Micronutrient test to assess intracellular vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and glutathione levels. Order your test HERE.

Wait, I thought you were The Paleo Cardiologist.

Please don’t let this blog fool you. I am still the Paleo doctor.

Carnivore is Paleo! At least for a 7 or 30-day trial. Eventually, you will re-introduce veggies, nuts/seeds and a little fruit. See how you feel as you slowly add these foods back in.

How Should I Start a Carnivore Diet?

There are two ways to get on carnivore: Ease into it slowly or jump right in.

The slow intro involves gradually increasing your intake of carnivore foods over the course of a couple weeks while slowly reducing your vegetable/fruit/nut intake. Ideally you would be gluten and grain-free for some time already.

The jump in approach is to wake up one day and just eat meat.

I think version #1 is probably the more prudent and wise approach.

In the beginning, eat meat cooked rare. As time goes on, try to introduce raw meat cuts.

For recipes, check out a book titled Carnivore Diet.

What to watch out for

See how you feel. How is your energy, focus, and mental clarity? How is your exercise and physical activity? How is your libido and sexual function?

Sometimes, when backing of veggies and grains, constipation follows. I have seen this on several occasions. Make sure you are well hydrated. Consider adding in some magnesium orally or taking magnesium baths.

Another common complaint is called the Keto “flu”. There is no actual virus, but it may feel like one. Add some sea salt to your diet and symptoms usually resolve.

Keep in touch and let us know how it works out.

Private Coaching

Sometimes it helps to have a coach in your corner, especially a coach with a cardiology and nutrition background. I suggest you grab a free consult with one of our Carnivore gurus to monitor your progress and provide tips and strategies for success.

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