Should you try an all-meat diet? Here’s what it actually does for your health

In school, we learn about carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants; Omnivores eat both. Humans are omnivores. Our bodies use a wide variety of amino acids, vitamins and minerals from many sources.

But over the past few years, interest in an all-meat or carnivore diet has skyrocketed, perhaps influenced by Joe Rogan’s January 2020 stunt where he ate only meat for a month or carnivore. Australian bodybuilder Brian Johnson’s raw meat diet, both achieved success. significant perspective. Since then, the carnivore diet has gained attention on many social media platforms, especially as a weight loss tool. However, experts inverse It is said that meat-only diets are associated with several risks to human health, lack essential nutrients, and may not even be a good tool for weight loss.

What does an all-meat diet do for your health?

Because you’re eliminating carbohydrates, you’ll probably lose weight quite quickly, according to Marie-Pierre St-Onge, a professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University’s Institute of Human Nutrition. That’s because foods high in protein will fill you up quickly, leaving no room for much else. Furthermore, because carbohydrates are often the main source of calories, eliminating them completely will likely lead to a calorie deficit, typically a large one.

On top of that, while meat and animal byproducts are full of protein and fat, they lack the vitamins and minerals that only plants provide. They also lack fiber, which helps keep the intestines healthy and moving regularly. Christopher Labos, a cardiologist at Kirkland Cardiology and a science communications associate at McGill’s Office of Science and Society, said: inverse that the first thing someone who starts eating only meat may feel is severe constipation. While this may not be an immediate medical emergency, it is still uncomfortable and uncomfortable.

Red meat will also affect heart health. Labos says red meat provides most of the dietary cholesterol, which is key in increasing the risk of heart disease. Red meat also increases triglycerides, another type of fat in your blood. According to the American Heart Association, high triglycerides combined with lots of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and not much high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol increase the risk of diseases like heart attack and stroke. . LDL contributes to the buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries. Regardless of your cardiovascular benefits, eating red meat regularly increases your risk of colorectal cancer, he adds. Many studies over the past several decades have concluded that red meat increases a person’s lifetime risk of colorectal cancer.

What meat do plants lack?

Of course, there are many other types of meat besides red meat. Labos calls chicken a healthier choice than red meat and fish even healthier. But St-Onge emphasizes that whether you eat fish, chicken or beef, you’re still not getting vitamins and minerals from plants. Water-soluble vitamins, which are absorbed into the blood, help brain and immune function. Some vitamins such as vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B5 can be found in both plants and animals. But others, like vitamin C, come only from fruits and vegetables.

The long-term consequence of skipping those nutrients is scurvy, says Labos, something you probably don’t have to worry about unless you’re a 19th-century British sailor who ate nothing but sea ​​for many months in a row. But without fruits and vegetables, you can become deficient in vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts antioxidants, lowers blood pressure and improves immunity.

Even if you’re following a carnivore diet and taking plenty of supplements to keep scurvy at bay, St-Onge reckons with many things that supplements won’t fix: too much protein, too much fat, high cholesterol not to mention the environmental impact and social consequences for predators. possible diet. She says a lot of our social interactions revolve around food. If you only eat meat, that’s a bit limiting.

Labos also mentioned the disease of kings: gout.

Gout is a type of arthritis that causes swelling and pain in the joints, starting with the big toe. This condition is caused by excess uric acid in the blood, which can create painful crystals around the joints. Animal proteins are high in purines, which are chemical compounds that are broken down into uric acid when metabolized. During the Middle Ages, only royalty could afford meat, but they ate so much that they sometimes suffered from gout. Now that meat isn’t just for kings, anyone who eats too much or is at high risk can eat it.

Labos and St-Onge do not recommend a carnivore diet whoever. If you must try it, don’t continue for more than a few days, St-Onge says. She considered this diet a genuine but misguided attempt to improve her health. I think someone who wants to do this is thinking about their health but doing it the wrong way. She added that considering environmental and monetary costs is also important. Raising animals for food, especially cows, contributes significantly to emissions. Meat products are also generally more expensive than plants.

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