Carnivore Diet: How Dangerous Is It To Eat Only Meat?

The carnivore diet is becoming increasingly popular in this country, but nutrition experts warn that it could be dangerous. What happens if you only eat meat? And what consequences can this have?

No grain, no fruit, no vegetables – only meat: Can such a diet help you lose weight and above all be good for the body, or is the so-called carnivore diet dangerous? In the USA it has long since become a real trend. And in Germany, too, it is becoming more and more popular. Nutrition experts are observing this development with concern – because the meat diet can sometimes have serious consequences.

The carnivore diet is intended to cover the nutrient supply

The principle of the carnivore diet is not new: a lot of one food or one food group – in this case, meat – is eaten, others only a little or not at all. Followers of the meat diet believe that meat has all the nutrients the body needs. Protein, iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, and zinc are at the top of the nutrient table. The remaining vitamins and minerals are not covered by the diet.

Carnivore diet – eating only meat is so dangerous

One-sided forms of nutrition such as the carnivore diet promise rapid weight loss. The health effects are often neglected, according to the motto: Lose weight at any price. But while diets like the potato diet or the cabbage soup diet provide a lot of nutrients and aren’t bad for your health, eating only meat for an extended period can have serious consequences. This is what makes the diet so dangerous:

Vitamin C deficiency due to meat diet

While different types of meat do provide most of the vitamins we need to live, some are missing – including vitamin C, which we can only get from fruits and vegetables. If the nutrient is completely missing from the menu, a vitamin C deficiency develops with symptoms such as tiredness, exhaustion, muscle weakness, and joint and limb pain.

If the body’s need for vitamin C is not met for weeks or months, scurvy, a disease previously feared by seafarers, can occur. Due to a pronounced vitamin C deficiency (sailors had little access to vitamin C sources and ate mainly fish), the skin turns yellowish-grey, wounds heal less well, and the gums become inflamed and bleed, even to the point of tooth loss. There are also symptoms such as high fever, diarrhea, joint inflammation, dizziness, and heart failure.

Eating only meat causes digestion to falter

Fruits and vegetables are also rich in fiber, which aids in digestion and keeps us full longer after a meal. Those who consume too little fiber often have to struggle with digestive problems and constipation. The intestinal flora also suffers from high meat consumption. Aggressive bacteria can multiply and there are always small inflammations in the intestines that can trigger colon cancer.

High meat consumption increases the risk of cancer

But high meat consumption can not only lead to a nutrient deficiency, but it also promotes the development of cancer. There is plenty of scientific evidence for this. Eating more than 35 grams of red meat per day has been linked to a 20 to 30 percent increased risk of colon cancer in several studies. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – an organization of the World Health Organization (WHO) – therefore classifies red meat as “probably carcinogenic”.

Processed meat such as salami, ham, or sausages is even worse: According to cancer experts, they are carcinogenic. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) therefore recommends consuming no more than 600 grams of meat (goods) per week. However, with the carnivore diet, you eat that much meat in one day alone.

All-meat diet – the great unknown

What else happens to the body if the diet consists only of meat? Nobody knows. Because there are still no studies on the carnivore diet. Doctors, therefore, advise against a diet consisting only of meat.

The positive effects of diet have not yet been proven either. According to experts, the accounts of followers like Mikhaila Peterson are personal experiences and do not have to be related to diet. In addition, no details are known about her diet – whether she takes vitamin C supplements to prevent a deficiency. General conclusions about a health-promoting effect cannot be drawn from such individual reports from the point of view of medical professionals. The carnivore diet must therefore continue to be classified as dangerous.

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