The Carnivore Diet: Pros, Cons, and Suggestions

Inline Carnivore Diet.jpegAll-meat diets are growing in popularity. There are the cryptocurrency carnivores. There’s the daughter of the ascendant Jordan B. Peterson, Mikhaila Peterson, who’s using a carnivorous diet to stave off a severe autoimmune disease that almost killed her as a child. The most prominent carnivore these days, Dr. Shawn Baker (who appears to eat only grilled ribeyes (at home) and burger patties (on the go), recently appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience and Robb Wolf’s podcast, and is always breaking world records on the rower. Tons of other folks are eating steak and little else—and loving it. There are Facebook groups and subreddits and Twitter subcultures devoted to carnivorous dieting.

What do I think?

I’m no carnivore. I love my Big Ass Salads, my avocados, my steamed broccoli dipped in butter. My blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. My spoonful of coconut butter.

Yet, I get the appeal.

We’ve been eating meat for three million years. Its caloric-and-nutrient density allowed us to dispense with the large guts needed to digest fibrous plant matter and build massive, energy-hogging brains. There isn’t a traditional culture on Earth that wholly abstains or abstained from animal products. Nearly every human being who ever lived ate meat whenever he or she could get it.

Thus, meat appears to be the “baseline food” for humans. If you look past the cultural conditioning that tries to convince us that meat will give us heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, meat looks pretty damn good as a place to start.

The question is if it’s where we should stay exclusively…. 

All this said, I’m skeptical about the “steak and water” or “ground beef and water” styles of the carnivore diet. Let me explain….

A Few Key Arguments For It (and My Feedback)

“In its natural state, meat is relatively safe as far as toxins go.”

Animals can run and bite and claw and fly to get away from predators; most don’t need to employ any chemical warfare that causes problems when you eat the meat. Sure, allergies and intolerances can arise, like if you get bitten by the Lone Star tick and pick up a red meat allergy, but those are quite rare.

“Whereas plants’ phytonutrients are pesticides.”

This is technically true. They are toxins the plant produces to dissuade consumption by predators—toxins that the plants manufacture to maim, poison, kill, or even just make life uncomfortable for the animals who eat it.

But just as we can do with many other “harmful” inputs, we tend to treat plant phytonutrients as hormetic stressors that make us stronger, healthier, and more robust.

There’s an upper limit, of course. And many of the phytonutrients have been primarily applied either to populations eating normal omnivorous, often downright unhealthy diets or to unhealthy subjects trying to improve a disease marker. As I’ve said before, there aren’t any real studies in healthy human carnivores, so we don’t know one way or the other whether the promising results of the extant studies apply to people eating only animal products.

“Meat nutrients are highly bioavailable.”

The protein has all the amino acids we need to live and thrive. We readily absorb and utilize the vitamins and minerals in meat; they already come in “animal form,” requiring little to no conversion before we can start incorporating them into our physiology. Plant nutrients usually undergo a conversion process before humans can utilize them, and not every human has the same conversion capacity.

Some of those essential and/or helpful nutrients only occur in meat, like creatine, carnosine, vitamin B12. There’s literally no realistic way to obtain them without relying on supplementation, which didn’t exist until the last hundred years.

“Nutrient requirement studies don’t apply to us.”

I could see that. They haven’t tested the requirements for selenium, magnesium, and iodine on a zero-carb carnivorous diet. Do they go down? Can you therefore get by and thrive on lower intakes—the low levels found in muscle meat?

It’s a tough call.

It hasn’t been empirically tested. That’s true. It largely hasn’t undergone a series of RCTs. You can’t pull up a Cochrane meta-analysis of carnivore studies. All we really have are anecdotes.

I’m not disregarding the power or relevance of anecdotes and testimonials. Those are real. They’re not all suffering from a mass delusion. They’re not all lying. Peer-reviewed? No. Admissible in a scientific paper? Not unless you call it a case study. When you’re there in the room with someone pouring their heart out because something you wrote helped them drop 50 pounds and reclaim their lives, you don’t go “Yeah, but where are the clinical trials?” At some point, the weight of anecdotes adds up to something substantial, something suggestive. And hey, if it’s working for you, there’s no arguing that.

But I can’t point to anything solid and totally objective in the research. Not yet anyway.

Still, any time you embark on a historically unprecedented way of eating, whether it’s pure muscle meat carnivore or vegan, you should be a little more careful about what you think you know.

What Do We Know About Carnivory in Human History?

We don’t know if there have been any purely carnivorous human cultures. We haven’t found any yet, and you can’t prove a negative, so I won’t say “there were none.”

In all the best candidates so far, though, plants sneak into the diets. The Inuit actually utilized a wide variety of plant foods including berries, sea vegetables, lichens, and rhizomes. They made tea from pine needles, which are high in vitamin C and polyphenols.  The Sami of Finland, who primarily live off a low-carb, high-fat diet of meat, fish, and reindeer milk (I have to imagine that’s coming to Whole Foods soon), also gather wild plant foods, particularly berries and mushrooms (Finland’s forests produce 500 million kg of berries and over 2 billion kg of mushrooms each year!), sometimes even feeding their reindeer hallucinogenic mushrooms to produce psychoactive urine. The Maasai are known for their meat, milk, and blood diets, but they often traded for plant foods like bananas, yams, and taro, too, and they cooked their meat with anti-parasitic spices, drank bitter (read: tannin- and polyphenol-rich) herb tea on a regular basis, and used dozens of plants as medicines (PDF). Even Neanderthals used plants as food and medicine, we’re learning.

Even if we discover evidence of carnivory in human prehistory or in some extant group, the emerging science of genetic ancestral differences suggests that the habitual diets of our recent ancestors shapes the optimal diet for us today. If your close ancestors weren’t carnivores, you might not have the adaptations necessary to thrive on an all-meat diet.

Still, what about Vilhjamjur Stefansson, an Arctic explorer who came away very impressed with the native Inuit diet and underwent a series of studies on the effect of an all-meat diet in man? He and a colleague did great for over a year eating only meat. But Stefansson wasn’t eating ground beef. In his own words, he ate “steaks, chops, brains fried in bacon fat, boiled short-ribs, chicken, fish, liver, and bacon.” Definitely carnivorous. Definitely not just steak or ground beef, as many modern carnivores seem to be eating. All those “weird” cuts gave him critical micronutrients otherwise difficult to get from just steak.

How To Best Optimize a Carnivore Diet

While you won’t find me switching to the carnivore side, if I were to do a carnivorous diet, here’s how I’d try to optimize it (and why).

Take Magnesium

A recent paper showed that the majority of people following a “paleolithic ketogenic diet” with at least 70% of calories from animal foods and including offal had adequate serum magnesium levels. That’s a great start. But earlier studies show that serum magnesium may not be the definitive marker. A person can have normal serum levels but inadequate tissue levels—and in the tissues is where magnesium does its work. A person can have normal serum levels but still be deficient.

Eat Eggs

They’re not quite animals, but they contain everything you need to build a bird from scratch. That’s cool·—bite-sized whole animal.

Eat Liver

Liver is unabashedly animal flesh. It absolutely qualifies for a carnivorous diet. Loaded with choline, folate, vitamin A, copper, and iron, it’s nature’s most bioavailable multivitamin. There’s no reason not to include it. If you get your hands on some fish livers, you’ll get a ton of vitamin D along for the ride.

  • There’s frozen liver tabs, where people dice up liver into little chunks and swallow them hole.
  • There’s liver smoothies, where absolute savages blend raw liver and drink it. I know a guy who fixed severe iron deficiency by drinking raw chicken liver orange juice smoothies, with the vitamin C in OJ meant to enhance iron absorption.
  • Liver is also great sauteed with fish sauce, citrus, salt, pepper, and sesame oil. Do it quick, don’t overcook.

Eat Seafood

A few oysters, some mussels, a filet of wild sockeye salmon… You’ll get vitamin D, selenium, iodine, copper, iron, manganese, and long-chained omega-3s (which tend to be rare even in pastured ruminant flesh). A high quality fish oil can help with this, of course, but I’d still use the opportunity to diversify with seafood. Not every meal has to—or should—be a New York strip.

Implement Intermittent Fasts On a Regular Basis

A constant influx of muscle meat will keep mTOR topped up. That’s great for muscle growth and general robustness. Just do something to stop the protein intake for a day or two, lest you start fueling unwanted growths.

Treat Spices and Other Low/Non-Calorie Plant Foods As Medicinal Supplements That Don’t “Count”

All the nearly-carnivorous cultures we have good data on did similar things, using bitter herbs and barks and the like as supplements to their diets. You’re not getting calories from this stuff. You’re getting non-caloric compounds that provide health benefits.

Get the Best Quality Meat You Can Find and Afford

While I’m sure a diet of snare-caught hare, Alaskan elk, and choice sockeye salmon you wrest from the grasp of picky grizzlies poised over rivers preparing for a long winter would be ideal, it’s not necessary. Yes, grass-fed and -finished/pastured as well as organic are ideal, but do the best you can with what you have.

Use Bone Broth or Other Collagen Source

It’s a great way to get collagen and the glycine it contains to balance out all the methionine you’re eating, especially if you’re doing the muscle meat-only thing and avoiding most gelatinous cuts of meat. Make it yourself or buy. Collagen supplementation, of course, works here, too. (I happen to know a good one.)

The carnivore diet isn’t for me. I like plants way too much. But I’m cautiously optimistic that it could work for more people than you’d expect, provided they heed as many of my suggestions as possible.

That’s it for me, folks. What about you? Have any experience eating a carnivorous diet? Interested in trying? Let me know what you know!

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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258 thoughts on “The Carnivore Diet: Pros, Cons, and Suggestions”

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  1. What about fiber for the microbiota? Seems to me that the friendly gut bacteria would be drastically affected by a plant-free diet.

    1. The gut bacteria that are present are precisely the ones needed to absorb meat

      1. Meat is all absorbed before hitting the colon where the bacteria ferment undigestibles.

    2. Not just fiber, but elimination. I think some fiber would be good to help one deal with that, otherwise I would worry about constipation.

      1. Actually no. I tried the all-meat diet for a while and had zero issues. The fiber hypothesis is nonsense (as Mark has covered before).

      2. Fiber is the cause of constipation. Pure carnivore creates very little waste that can be “backed up.”

    3. Fiber is a menace – read the book fiber menace. Meat will do more to heal tour gut than eating already fermented foods.

    4. Yes – there are groups covering this on facebook and the interweb. The first few weeks will be really odd as your body becomes fat adapted. After that, it is smooth sailing. My gut is far better than it has been in years.

  2. Hi Mark. I am surprised you did not address the issue of gut bacteria. If you eat only animal protein and fat… what are you feeding your gut bacteria? Do they all die? Do you end up with an overgrowth of only some species? Or maybe we only need gut bacteria if we DO eat plants? Any thoughts?

    1. Listen to Shawn Baker on the Joe Rogan podcast. He talks about this. He also talks about why you don’t need vitamin C on a carnivore diet.

      1. Amber O’Hearn has written about this as well. Vitamin C is essentially only necessary if you are eating carbs.

        She covers the science in more details

    2. @Sander: Georgie Ede and Amber O’Hearn are great resources for this. Amber O’Hearn has been a carnivore for 9 years and has a great mind/background for disseminating all the information out there. Shawn is a strong proponent as well, but I always think of long time carnivores first. Charles Washington is another long timer (11 Years) and is on Facebook.

  3. Excited to see the article. Bitcoin carnivores though, not crypto-currency. Bitcoin carnivores view all altcoins as scams.

  4. The elephant in this room that did not get mentioned – WHAT ABOUT VITAMIN C?? Wouldn’t these carnivore types all get scurvy? And, like Michelle said, I cannot imagine that they could have a healthy microbiome.
    I love meats of all sorts myself. But I know that a meat binge makes me feel unwell, and leaves me craving vegetables. Maybe I am habituated.
    I vaguely recall reading an article about a scientist that lived with wolves for an extended period of time, eating what the wolves ate. Since the wolves primarily caught and ate mice, he caught and ate mice. However, he skinned, cleaned, and cooked the mice. Eventually he found that in order to stay healthy, he had to eat the mice guts and all, thereby absorbing the vegetable nutrients in their digestive systems.
    Somehow, I cannot see that becoming trendy…

    1. Meat actually has a small amount of Vitamin C and there seems to be valid logic saying that if you are not flooding you body with sugar your cells will absorb more Vitamin C since cellular-level sugar and vitamin C compete for access to the cell. Search for Amber O’hearn’s article on this, and there has been much commentary that better Vitamin C uptake is part of why low-carb diets work well.

      1. I think you also excrete less vitamin C when you don’t eat carbs, so your requirements decrease as well. I know I read this one of Taubes’ books.

        1. I recall polar explorers in the time of Scott and Shakleton believed vitamin C was obtained from meat.

          1. Shakleton believed in fresh meat. Scott did not. (None of Shakelton’s team got scurvy)

    2. Join one of many Carnivore groups on FB… we have addressed this question thoroughly. My gut health is only healthy without eating plants. Fibre being healthy is a myth.

    3. Until I was 25, I literally didn’t eat any fruits or vegetables- My diet consisted of different animal products and some carbs. When I was 14, a Dr. told me I was likely to get very sick and possibly die because of my diet/ lack of certain nutrients. After a thorough physical, I was deemed healthy (could be also due to a good exercise program). Currently I have added athletic greens to my diet and berries.

    4. As in other comments we need less vitamin c the less glucose we process, but we don’t use vit. c straight up, we synthesize it into l-gulonolactone which is available in red meat and offal.

  5. It shocks me when any person eating a cut of meat doesn’t season it. Even some real salt and pepper adds so much, but seriously, people, season your meats! lol

    1. I actually prefer the natural flavor of meat. Any seasoning takes away from these flavors!

    2. As someone obsessed with spices from the east, I can’t imagine not seasoning my food, let alone meat.

    3. Curtis, from what I’ve seen on some of the carnivore FB groups, many people salt their meat, and some also season it with pepper or other spices. A lot of them also still drink coffee.

    4. Yes, a few nice flakes of Maldon sea salt and I’m good to go, but I can’t use pepper just yet. Like Mikhaila and Jordan, my autoimmune issues only started to clear when I eliminated everything plant-based. I’m not complaining though; I actually feel better than I’ve ever felt, physically and emotionally..

    5. Starting to not only not season my meat….but eat bits here and there ….raw!

  6. Great article, Mark.

    I’m glad you posted the magnesium article by the fine folks at Paleomedicina research clinic in Hungary ( They are doing fantastic work with their paleolithic ketogenic diet protocol, addressing a multitude of chronic diseases, ranging from diabetes to cancer to Crohn’s to a sleuth of autoimmune disorders. I have linked to a number of their resources on my website, Just Meat (

    Dr. Csaba Tóth’s ResearchGate page has many of their case studies:

    In particular, I recommend:
    – Their overview of their protocol:
    – Their article on the key differences between the PKD and both standard paleo and standard keto diets:

    I highly recommend you get in touch with them. Their protocol takes many of your optimization concerns into consideration, with an emphasis on maintaining a hight fat:protein ratio for ketosis, removing dairy (a common inflammatory agent and cause of gut permeability), and regularly consuming organ meats.

    It would be really cool to see you work with them for a month-long experiment with a follow-up blog post about your experiences!


  7. I tried a carnivore diet for a few months and didn’t like it. I had constant digestive problems, and I became a HUGE jerk and had a short fuse. I almost got myself fired for starting a big argument with my manager.

    1. My experience is the opposite. I felt that way on Keto moreso.

      Did you try to do restrictive eating windows at first? That sounds like a function of not enough food or not being Keto adapted yet

      1. I was eating plenty of food. I have also done keto and didn’t have any anger problems.

      2. Same here. Never felt more calm in my life and that’s been the experience of everyone I’ve talked to, but as always, we have to acknowledge that others may have a different experience for a variety of reasons, not necessarily the diet, per se..

    2. Total control over my emotional state on both Keto and Carnivore. I no longer feel the urge to hunt and eat vegans 😉

  8. A carnivore diet wouldn’t be for me either. I love my veggies, especially from our garden. I have read that there have been strictly carnivorous human beings who developed bad cases of constipation. I did know one person who ate nothing but meat. His hands always shook badly. I often wondered if there was a connection. My guess is that most people who are strictly carnivorous just don’t like fruit and vegetables. While there’s nothing wrong with not liking them, I would think they are missing out on essential nutrients that are more abundant, if not existing exclusively, in plants. Just a guess, but I’ve wondered if a vulnerability to certain diseases (such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS, etc.) could eventually crop up.

    1. “My guess is that most people who are strictly carnivorous just don’t like fruit and vegetables.”

      A common myth, but exactly that — a myth. In fact, several of the prominent carnivores were once vegetarian or even vegan.

      A great many of the adherents are carnivorous because it’s what solved their health problems, and one of the biggest psychological struggles many have is totally giving up vegetables, *because they enjoy eating them* (but the problem was that they didn’t agree with the person’s body).

      “I have read that there have been strictly carnivorous human beings who developed bad cases of constipation.”

      Without details, it’s hard telling what exactly the issue was, but a couple of possibilities include:

      1. Lack of sodium during adjustment period. While the ultimate goal is typically no additives, depending on where the person is coming from, they may need more sodium as they adjust to the diet.

      2. Eating too lean meat. Many people still fear animal fat (even many branches of Paleo still shun fatty meats). When that happens, the person tries to live almost solely on protein, which never ends well.

      3. Mistaking lower bowel volume/frequency for constipation. The bioavailability of an all-meat diet means there’s not much that goes to waste. As a result, both the volume and frequency of bowel movements decrease. Many people mistake this for constipation even in the absence of discomfort.

      The way of eating certainly isn’t for everyone, and part of the culture within several branches of the community is to be your own “n=1,” so it’s certainly possible it simply doesn’t agree with a subset of the population (just like a heavy plant diet doesn’t agree with a subset of the population). However, it’s a bit disingenuous to make such a statement without any contextual information.

      “I would think they are missing out on essential nutrients that are more abundant, if not existing exclusively, in plants.”

      This is addressed as far back as the Stefansson case study, as well as Dr. Salasbury’s treatments, which is pretty much a resounding “there isn’t” in the research that is available. While plants contain hundreds of percent the RDA for certain nutrients, it’s actually the precursors (e.g. beta carotene vs Vitamin A), so it’s a matter of amount vs bioavailability. To get our vitamins from plant sources, we *need* that 1000% of whatever precursor. We don’t when it’s already in the form our body uses.

      “Just a guess, but I’ve wondered if a vulnerability to certain diseases (such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS, etc.) could eventually crop up.”

      Ketogenic diets in general have been shown to be protective against neurological disorders across the board. While carnivores don’t specifically seek out ketosis, they are generally in the state by nature.

      Additionally, a carnivorous diet is high in B vitamins, the building blocks of the nervous system, making it even less likely to lead to neurodegenerative issues.

      Conversely, there’s at least one known case of carnivory that sent Lyme disease into remission.

      Could there be disorder risks? Maybe. We don’t have enough research on this front to really say either way. Given the other health improvements, though, I’d say current carnivores are willing to take that risk.

      1. Good answer, thanks.

        A lot to ponder.

        Being East African, and trying to eat our unprocessed and traditional fare, having access to good health meat from all parts of the body of the animal is easy here. Shunning carbs is also easier here than it is in the West.

        But we also have coconut, avocado, butter, banana (I eat not many of these when trying to ‘tighten-up’), greens which I am now fermenting like Easterners. All these vegetables and/or fats, when added into my diet, make me feel qualitatively better.

        So, for me, unless I run up against GI or discomfort, Ill keep good protein as a part but not the whole of my food. For now…

        But you’ve given me lots to ponder. Thanks.

        1. I would also like to add that the shaky hands and any other negative effects that are noted from a carnivore diet would likely prove upon deeper inspection to be a result of consuming factory farmed hormone and antibiotic laden meat rather than organic grass fed.

          1. Shalom, can you expand on this and give a citation or two about the “shaky hands and any other negative effects” associated with carnivorous diets? I’ve never heard of any negative effects in serious carnivores and am interested in all sides of this discussion–thanks 🙂

      2. Absolutely!! I love veggies but they don’t love me. I have autoimmune disease as well as hypothyroid. Carnivore has taken away alot of my symptoms and major bloating. I have IBS -C and carnivore has helped that tremendously

    2. Mark explains nutrients. I will add that meat is more nutrient dense than veg. We shouls also be eating nose to tail thiugh and not just ribeye steaks. This is where ground beef may be better. Just musing but you will get everything from a weiner – just don’t aks LOL!

    3. Mark actually covered that a few years ago. I read it again before going carnivore in April. The jury is out. But from what I gather, most vegetables don’t want to be eaten so have massive defenses – anti-nutrients, lecithin – and are not designed for our short digestive tract. Fruit seems to be okay, though. I’m currently staying away just because I want to try 90 days. Here’s his article:

      1. I’m currently carnivore, but I don’t buy the argument that veggies have defenses therefore don’t want to be eaten therefore we shouldn’t eat them. Animals also have defenses, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t eat them.

    4. Nonsense and don’t take offense. I grew up eating more fruits and veggies than most Americans and loved them. I switched to the PB in 2012, not because I was fat or unhealthy – on the contrary (aside from Hashimoto which interestingly developed after living 10+ years in the US), but because I liked the science behind it and it made perfect sense. After many years I made a gradual shift to AIP Keto and this time with an aim to overcome my Hashi’. That meant cutting out many foods that are contradictory. I improved in many ways and still. So I moved on to ZC meat and fat diet (I use herbs such as thyme & oregano). My hands don’t shake, I don’t suffer from constipation and my antibodies are near normal levels. Nor am I deficient in nutrients (per tests), I donate blood 4 times a year and I have plenty of energy. I also have many friends who report the same. Obviously, I don’t hate fruits; I’m just indifferent to them. However, should I stumble onto a fig tree in season, I will indulge myself. Not because it has potassium etc but for the sheer taste of it; and then I will forget about it and won’t seek it at the store.

      If you accept that gluten and carbs (starches) are bad for us, why is it so difficult to accept that fruits and vegetables are not something we need in order to sustain and strive? Because they are so pretty and innocent looking? Yes they contain a host of nutrient but that doesn’t mean that they are bio available to us, the way food from the animal kingdom does. So whose testimony would you trust? That o an unknown commentator on some site, or someone like me, who has been part of PB for so many years?

      1. Unfortunately you can’t reverse Hashimoto or any form of hypothyroidism. It’s just one of those things you have to take meds for. That doen’t mean certain lifestyle choices can’t make it worse or better, but once your thyroid starts checking out, you’re stuck with it. It’s not the answer people like but it’s true.

        1. I said “overcome” and that means putting it into remission (I wrote so in other posts as well). Remission (as you know) means that it goes dormant and as antibodies drop to normal levels, there’s no need to medicate anymore. After all, Hashi does not equal hypothyroidism even thought the symptoms and treatment are similar. I know several people and close friends who through strict AIP protocol (like that of paleomedicina) where able to do just that and no longer need to medicate. And that gives me hope. My levels already dropped to just above the top range. Now that I have made modifications to the nutritional end, I need to work on my stress levels.

    5. It’s another myth about the constipation; in fact for the first 2 weeks I had diarrhea. Not sure if my system was cleaning itself out or what, but now I have a normal bm every day or 2. There’s far less waste, so it’s not necessary to go each day. A low residue diet like this feels great in my digestive tract.

    6. You really have to research what has been done to fruits and vegetables over the years. My personal opinion and theory is that scientists of the food industry saw many of these things being eaten by animals and hybridized them until they became palatable for humans. In the process of refining these hybrids they reduced the nutrition levels. Google, “what did corn used to look like” or watermelon. And especially bananas. Everything is being bred to be sweeter and sweeter. That ain’t good!

  9. The lack of data is my biggest concern with increasing the meat/vegetable ratio. I just listened to Baker’s interview on the Joe Rogan podcast and he stated he was not interested in getting a blood panel. If this is the attitude one of the carnivore diet’s leading proponents, it’s a shame, because I’d love to see some numbers to back up the anecdotes. I’m less interested in all the reported benefits of carnivory that you see on Baker’s website if I’m then going to have to deal with high cholesterol, diabetes, etc.

    Also probably worth noting, Baker surrendered his medical license due to questions about his work as an orthopedic surgeon. This may not be relevant to issues regarding nutrition, but it makes you question his judgment if his peers determined that he shouldn’t be practicing medicine. I don’t say this to beat up on the guy—I believe he is doing his best to help people be healthy and I find many of his arguments compelling.

    1. He did blood work. Listen to his interview with Robb Wolf which is fully devoted to it. There has been tons of follow-on discussion of it as well.

      1. Sadly, there were some parts of his bloodwork that were not very good. I’m not making a judgement about carnivore but he was low in vitamin D and testosterone.

    2. @Rob, You may have misinterpreted his comments about blood work, since he gets it all the time. He disagrees with the current methods of interpreting blood panels–that they’re based on Standard American Diets and bad correlations. I saw one of his tests myself which compared his testosterone at 52 to a 20-35 age group. That makes no sense.
      He also explained the problems with his license, which is starting to become a bit of a drag as it’s been fuel for the trolls for the last year. He explained how he lost his license, and it was on account of him discovering that he can cure his orthopedic patients, who were candidates for knee replacement, with a ketogenic diet, thus causing a huge money loss for his partners, who swindled him out of his license via a tribunal, not peers.

        1. You’re publicly slandering someone who you do not know, nor have you read and heard everything he has ever said and done. Therefore, you are not someone who can be trusted to have a balanced or intelligent opinion on this, imo..

    3. Two notes, he did a full panel on the Robb Wolf podcast where they went over all of Dr. Bakers blood work.

      Second note, Dr. Baker was railroaded by a for-profit hospital, he was pursuing legal action and has since had his license reinstated.

      So the Rogan info is already a little outdated.

      I’ve been eating this way since January. My own numbers have improved across the board.

      I was most surprised by my triglycerides, and my inflammatory markers. Triglycerides went from 308mg/dl to 71 mg/dl and my C-Reactive went from 1.8 to .7 !!! almost no inflammation.

      1. Your trigs changed not so much by what you are eating but what you are not eating now – carbs.

    4. Shawn did eventually get his blood work done. Check out a recent podcast he did with Robb Wolf where he shares the results.

    5. Rob, Dr. Baker’s medical license forfeiture was a witch hunt. He’s been invited to reinstate. And he not only had full bloodwork done, he’s produced a number of videos that report the results. Of course, he’s only one person, and there are myriad factors that influence his body chemistry, so even if one or more markers seem out of sorts (and I don’t remember any of them being too far out of what is considered “normal” — whatever that actually means), it doesn’t necessarily mean that eating broccoli or tofu or soy would matter.

      Beyond that, dietary cholesterol has been shown to not be a factor in “high cholesterol.” Just look at all the recent articles that say it’s okay to eat eggs. If you read the results being reported by people adhering to a carnivore diet, they’re reversing symptoms of T2D, not inheriting them. I’ve heard Dr. Baker say in a number of cases that people who can tolerate vegetables should feel free to eat them. He just finds his body operates best on meat.

    6. I listened to a podcast with Shawn Baker where he went over his whole blood panel. Some of the number on there were on the high end, namely LDL cholesterol, which is expected for someone consuming a high fat diet. However, his HDL is very healthy along with his triglycerides and A1C so low it’s nearly negligible. This gives us an idea of what impact it would have in terms of cardiovascular health and risks for diabetes. Interestingly, I had similar results with my blood work after a year following the ketogenic diet.

      That’s as much as i remember from the interview and unfortunately can’t tell whos podcast it was but it was interesting!

      1. The issue with LDL Cholesterol is a myth. Look up any talks from Dave Feldman. He is able to completely manipulate his numbers using the fat intake within the 3 days prior to the blood draw. Several people have used his method to lower their health insurance premiums lol

      2. His A1C is 6.3%, and his fasting blood glucose was also quite high. But, his fasting insulin was very low. So, his labs are unusual, to say the least.

          1. Owsley “Bear” Stanley
            He’s a proof of the long run…shame he died in an auto accident.

    7. I appreciate all the follow up references, thanks. Will do some more reading/listening.

    8. He did do blood work, but Shawn is only one of many carnivores out there and has been doing it for just a year and a half. People like Charles Washington have been carnivore for 11 years( some much longer) and he runs marathons. Check out Amber O’Hearn as well, she’s great and has been doing this for 8-9 years.

  10. I am interested in trying such a diet for a short term…. say a month at a time. Sort of like a “tune up” or to see what happens. However I, like you, would miss veggies too much to consider it for a long term diet. Good suggestions for how to round it out.

    1. Some people see benefits in a month, but others take about 6 months. If your current diet is high carb, most of that trial month will be very unpleasant indeed. I don’t miss vegetables at all.

      1. @Laurie, My diet is not typically high carb, but yes I suppose it could take longer than a month to adapt to a total meat diet. I have always liked and done very well on meat so it does not worry me.

    1. Too many good things that aren’t in vegetables? Like what?

      Cue the Bitstein quote “Bitcoin is a revolt against fiat money, and an all-meat diet is a revolt against fiat food”

      Your statement sounds so logically, but it is just fiat. We have been told that vegetables are necessary, but what do they have that isn’t more bio available in meat? Nothing necessary.

  11. Been eating; organ & muscle-meats, eggs, fish & drinking water + the occasional black coffee, for 2+ weeks, showing positive on KetoStix & feeling great..hoping to do this long-term, got no carb-cravings & am doing 16/8 too, with no hunger during fasting window.
    Thus far i would fully recommend this eating protocol (:

  12. High protein diets activate the mTor metabolic pathway which increases growth hormone. OK for short periods of time, but over the long haul can increase cancer risk. See Dr. Ron Rosedale’s work for more information. Diet variation is the key, so this isn’t something that would promote health if done long term.

    1. Generally a Carnivore diet would be moderate protein and high fat. Opinions differ, but high fat is most beneficial and most sustainable imo.

    2. As long as you’re not living off chicken and turkey breasts, a carnivorous diet isn’t high protein. It *might* be about 5% of calories higher than a pretty standard low carb diet. And adjusting the ratio is pretty simple — get fattier cuts of meat and eat the fat first.

      Or, as one mantra puts it, “eat meat, not too little, mostly fat.”

    3. mTOR might be a problem only if you are not utilizing the protein. What is more important is not overeating.

    4. Respectfully, most who have been doing ketogenic/zero carb diets for years wouldn’t give two cents for any health advise from Rosedale. Ever.

        1. Hi, Joanne; I’m glad you asked because having looked over my remark again, I see that I came off more harshly than I intended. I shouldn’t try to speak for others whose comments I’ve read elsewhere. For me, personally, he comes off better than most mainstream docs, but it irritates me when Dr. Rosedale recommends all kinds of supplements, recommends a lot of testing that can be expensive and unnecessary, outright bans things like peanut butter with claims that it contains a toxin (the word escapes me at the moment) based on the “possibility” that the peanuts were moldy, doesn’t site enough references when he makes certain assertions, etc. In general, I feel he gives those who are heavily into the provable science– and who base their suggestions on that science–a bad name. It’s good that he discusses the role of leptin for example, but his quiz for how to decide if one is leptin resistant is generic, imho.

        2. Hi, Joanne; I just wanted you to know that I fully answered your question yesterday, but I have yet to see it. I got one of those “your comment is awaiting moderation” notices, after I tried to post it. Hopefully, it will show up today, Mark’s Daily Apple?

  13. Thanks Mark for the info. My big question regarding the carnivore diet claims: Shawn Baker and many others claim that fiber is not only not necessary, it’s actually bad for us. If this is true, nobody can then claim “the carnivore diet might be beneficial for SOME people”. It seems like this is black and white.

    Is fiber good for us, or not? I don’t see how there could be a gray area here, but I’m open to being wrong.

    1. Read the book Fiber Menace. Kellogg pushed fiber as a means of curbing sexual appetite!

    2. Fiber can be absolute hell for inflammatory bowel disease. Imagine what it might feel like to take a scouring pad to your intestines. Like all complex traits, one would expect response to fiber to vary across a population, be affected by the environment, and be affected by genetic variants.

      1. I’ve been following Mark’s recommendations (as best I can with a crazy schedule and way too many restaurant meals) for several months now. My version of this doesn’t actually involve very much fiber — at least, I don’t do daily huge salads or tons of crucifers. I eat a lot of eggs, a fair bit of meat, a bit of heavy cream, butter, and a bit of fruit/berries. Yesterday I needed food in a hurry and the only remotely decent choice I could find was a salad involving a lot of shredded kale and Brussels sprouts (and dried cherries and a dressing that probably had sugar in it, unfortunately). It was tasty and filling, but it gave me intestinal trouble at a level I haven’t had in the entire time I’ve been doing this protocol. That leads me to believe that “high fiber” is not especially beneficial for me personally, and it will influence future food choices for sure. As a side note, I have had a few “cheats” where I consumed more sugar at a sitting than was likely to have been in the salad, so the sugar was probably not the culprit.

  14. Very insightful article. Lots of great information to think about.

  15. I’ve been eating this way since January after coming off Keto. Your gut biome adjusts to the lack of fiber. I have no issues.

    It seems people are just so used to eating vegetables I don’t know any way of eating that agitates people more than the carnivore diet.

    When I was overweight, and heading for diabetes; stuffing my face with junk food and drinking 3-4 cans of MT. Dew every day, no one was concerned.

    Now, it’s nonstop concern for my way of eating from friends and family, despite having lost 50lbs so far.

    I do agree with Mark, though, I vary my food sources. I primarily eat steaks, but I also love Salmon, Eggs, Lamb and pulled pork. I eat cheese pretty regularly and drink buttered coffee with MCT oil every day.

    I loved broccoli and asparagus, so eventually, I might re-introduce plants into my diet. But low carb has been amazing for me. Heavy carb diets mess with me. I don’t feel good, don’t have the same energy levels, and can’t keep the weight off.

    The final thing I will say about this way of eating, for someone like me who was trying to lose weight, this is possibly the most satisfying and easy diet ever. Easier than the hassle of macro counting with Keto and easier than all the food prep and meal planning that comes from Primal/Paleo/Wild whatever variants.

    What’s for dinner? Steak. Whats for lunch? Steak.

    You can’t over think it. Eat some meat. Any cut. Just eat meat.

    1. I laughed at your comment that nobody cared when you were stuffing yourself with junk food, but worried when you changed to a better diet. It’s SO true! Good luck with your new way of life.

    2. And isn’t life so much easier this way? Never fails to shock me now when I have a family dinner just how much of time is wasted preparing veg!!! For the family, not me!

    3. A ketogenic diet is low carbohydrate. Sounds like that is still the case.

  16. High protein diets activate the mTor metabolic pathway which increases growth hormone and is pro-inflammatory. See Dr. Ron Rosedale’s work for more details. OK for the short term, but can increase cancer risk over the long haul. Diet variation is the key to health, so I wouldn’t recommend this as a long term strategy.

    1. We’re talking about a carnivore diet and not a high protein diet so don’t confuse the two.

      1. Not quite sure how a meat diet wouldn’t be high protein unless you were eating seals which are about 50-70% fat. I’m not at all opposed to eating meat by the way, just not convinced the carnivore diet would be safe long term.

        1. So true. An all meat diet is super high in protein no matter how fatty the cuts of meat. I don’t know where the denial comes from.

          1. The trick is eat the fatty parts first till you feel like stopping….then move on to the lean parts until you feel like stopping …boom meal done and your body will have the appropriate ratios of fat to protein most likely through natural selection.

        2. My carnivore meals are 70/30 on avg. 30-40% protein and I am always in ketosis 🙂

  17. Mmm…

    “There isn’t a traditional culture on Earth that wholly abstains or abstained from animal products” vs. “We haven’t found any yet, and you can’t prove a negative”.

    “But just as we can do with many other “harmful” inputs, we tend to treat plant phytonutrients as hormetic stressors that make us stronger, healthier, and more robust” vs. “Grains are terrible for your health.”

    I see a few problems here :/

    1. There are more problems with grains than phytates and lectins. For starters, grains are way higher in carbs than most veggies. Second, they are basically nutritionally devoid. Empty carbs.

  18. I followed you (and continue to) for years and always found your information useful and balanced. I have now been Carnivore for many months and it has turned out to be optimal for me. I get no benefit from plants and fibre destroys my gut health. Our society believes many myths regarding the need of plants for gut health yet anyone who has actually tried this woe for months all report improved gut health. Additionally, Inuit in some areas did eat almost entirely from animal kingdom; my child’s Copper Inuit ancestors for one.

    Thank you for your very respectful and supportive view on this lifestyle. Your advice is excellent as always.

  19. Some people are using carnivore as an intervention diet, the same way that some use Whole30, for a month or so at a time. I am considering it in January when Shawn Baker hosts his N equals Many experiment. I want to try because the one thing that doesn’t cause me to bloat or make my stomach sound like an old ship, is meat.

    1. I am in the same boat with regards to everything causing bloat except meat. So sick of it, but like Mark, I really love vegetables (and fruit) so it is very hard for me to give my children fruit and vegetables and not have any myself. I want to try too, wishing you luck with your experiment!

      1. I dealt with that need for variety and different tastes by taking the tiniest amount possible and it almost always satisfies. Now, I rarely have more than 10g carbs in the forms of veg per day, if that..We all need to find what works for us and I know you’ll find your level, as well.

  20. Let me first say that I am an advocate of the Paleo diet. I have recently been doing some (layman) research into the costs of raising cattle, pigs and other meats. I have to admit that I was astounded on how much it costs to raise cattle, from the land required, the feed, and the astronomical water usage. Animals consumer around 43% of all the food that is grown today and is one of largest contributors to green house gases. This knowledge now puts me in a bit of bind ethically as the human population continues to grow and the environmental effects we are having on it. I am curious as to others thoughts on this matter.

    1. Paul, I share your concerns about this, as well as the deplorable state of factory farming, where the vast majority of our meat supply sources from. I have been eating a paleo, primarily but relatively inexact keto diet for several years now. It works very well for me. I have in the past year or so reduced my meat consumption (portion sizes) and limited it to primarily locally raised muscle meat and offal. I also eat eggs from chickens owned locally. For most people, the steak they are eating comes from cattle fed GMO feed and confined to very small feedlots where they have to be constantly given antibiotics due to the conditions. I would recommend that anyone who depends on this meat for the bulk of their diet visit a CAFO operation and slaughterhouse and then decide if this is what they want to feed their bodies with.

    2. That is a bit misleading. Those figures are not necessarily accurate as they are vegan propaganda. Cattle,sheep, goats are grazers and can live and feed in areas that are unsuited to raising crops. We raised cattle for years and they grazed naturally , drinking water from streams puddles etc. Almost no cost at all.
      We did feed some hay and provide water in winter but at a far lower rate than vegan propaganda would have you believe.
      Yes factory farming and raising cattle in unnatural environments is a different story. For example when people want to distort the numbers they use figures for irrigation of soy crops and claim this in the water used to raise cattle. But soy is primarily raised for oil,vegan burgers etc and cows are fed the biproducts ie waste.
      We have a lot of land perfectly suitable for grassfed animals that we could not grow other crops on.
      Look at the water usage numbers for almond trees and veggies in California.
      The average person uses more processed water in a month when you factor in food production, drinking, showering, waste disposal etc than a grassfed cow requires in year.

      We need more appropriate agriculture suitable for the land and climate and this goes for veggies, nuts, fruits as well as animals.

      1. This is an excellent response to the hype. Not all farming is the same. Understanding and employing closer to natural systems will produce myriad benefits.

    3. In short, seek out better farms and practice nose-to-tail consumption. Also, support hunting.

      Permaculture farms have a net positive ecological impact. Even just animals fed their natural diet (hint: pigs and chickens are omnivores, not vegetarians) are better overall than the ones that aren’t.

      Likewise, native and wild animals will be better for the environment. For example, bison have a better impact in their historical territory than cows do. Deer hunting (particularly in the areas where apex predators have been wiped out) helps control the deer population, which is a benefit to the ecosystem.

    4. This statement “One of largest contributors to green house gases” is equivalently false. Cow farts are not a large contributor. It’s something vegans have latched onto to convince people concerned with the environment to come over to their cause.

      There have been studies that have shown cow farts from industrial farming are no greater than when the original buffalo population was ranging in the US. We wiped out the buffalo almost to extinction but at one point they ranging in numbers of millions.

      What’s never ever discussed, is the massive amount of damage that factory farming causes to land, the amount of deforestation for example in the Amazon and elsewhere around the world, or the amount of endless watering. Pesticide use, runoff into water supplies and nearly wiping out the bee population. Not to mention habitat destruction on mass scale.

      What I really think though, is that meat is associated with death, and thus is demonized easier.

      While plants are associated with growth and life. And so everyone just thinks that no harm is being done.

      On the other hand, in Europe, they are re-introducing wild bovines to the landscape because grazing actually helps maintain the biodiversity of grasslands.

      I do agree though, factory farming is pretty awful. But range farming is pretty humane overall.

      1. And they avoid the big elephant in the room – these so called greenhouse gases have almost ZERO impact on the environemtal climate levels, there is not a single real study perfroms that shows this, becuse it doesnt exists. Al Gore originally talked about “global warming”, falsified his studies, claimed the ice caps were melting. He did an expidition to Antartica, hoping to show this, only to find that the ice on the poles ahs actually gotten thicker, and the Earth is in fat cooling – related to a natural cycle of the Sun. The Sun determines if we cook or freeze at it’s own will. This was abug embarrisment, hence how the phrase “climate change” was invented to replace global warming – no any possble change in the environment can be classed as “climate change”.

        Having said that, we consume way, way more meat than we have to, to be healthy. Vegans are actually just political activists, under the ruse of pretecting the environment, when you dig deep, they ahve actually caused the most destruction to the environment.

        1. Seriously? I concur that we are going through a cooling period but any eminent scientist you talk to has the figures to back up climate change caused by man’s impact. You can stick your fingers in your ears and cover your eyes but it doesn’t make the problem go away.
          Aside from that – what does it hurt to do less damage to the Earth and reduce our footprint?

      2. Methane gas doesn’t hang around in the atmosphere for a long time. Only 10 years apparently whereas for CO2, it’s hundreds of years.

    5. You’ve received some really good responses so far and I’ll add a couple of more random things.

      As people move from SAD to Paleo/Primal to LCHF/Keto and possibly on to ZeroCarb, as their metabolism and overall health improves, food cravings, food ideation, and overall hunger reduces; they think less often about food and eventually just eat less and need less volume of food to be satisfied and healthy. The more people who move to this way of eating, overall the less food needs to be produced.

      And secondly, the sheer obscene amount of food wastage going on in the (mostly) Western world currently – the figures are mind-bendingly huge. The world ALREADY produces enough food to more than feed the world, it’s just that a staggering amount of it goes straight to landfill, wasted. I’m only guessing, but I think the more people move towards a clean, varied, mainly meat and fat diet, the ratio of food produced to food wasted will be drastically improved.

    6. 1 human can live off of 1.5 cows in one year
      Based off eating 2lbs of meat a day and a cow making 500 lbs of meat per carcass.

      We may need to lower the population a few billion though….there are only like around 1.3 or 1.5 billion cows currently …or get them to make more babies faster…average cow has 2-4 calves but take 12-14 months to grow up lol

  21. I’ve been all Meat, eggs, little cheese for almost a year. Just had my annual physical today and my blood work was outstanding. HDL (always been high) up to 120, LDL 98, Triglycerides 46, Glucose 91. I’ve lost 37lbs. Feeling great with tons of energy. I also do some fasting so I agree with Mark that it helps as well.

    1. HDL > LDL? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. And you’re male (females normally have HDL >>> male HDLs).

  22. Eggs:
    …..”That’s cool·—bite-sized whole animal.” I laughed out loud on that one!!! Thanks Mark!!

  23. lol all meat? are there purported health benefits to abstaining from vegetables? nothing about human anatomy tells me this is good.

    1. Human anatomy is designed to let us supplement veggies during times of starvation from lack of meat availability…also depends where or what we’ve evolved from.

      I view veggies as neutral to harmful for some…and basically best used for medicinal purposes rather than a food source.

      Just because we can eat veggies ….doesn’t mean we should… only reason we can is bacteria in our gut poop them out after eating them themselves.

  24. I know a few carnivores! They’re plenty healthy and have thrived on this diet for 6+ years!!! Here is what they eat = chicken legs, chicken liver and heart… or they eat wild sockeye salmon..Oh and they occasionally catch wild prey and eat them live which contains whatever stomach contents the animal was eating which was likely veggies… I love those carnivores! One is Siamese and I named him Bruce Lee and the other carnivore is a grey cat named Lucy. Actually the only healthy carnivores I know are all cats…

  25. I’ve been eating meat all my life, always preferred it to anything else, but I don’t feel like it’s the healthiest option to go all meat all the time. I just finished reading “How Not to Die” its a very interesting read, and will make you seriously reconsider an all meat diet. I am starting to implement some of the recommendations in the book now, and I think I will try a whole food, plant based diet for at least a month to see how I feel. Having done paleo, whole 30, primal, etc etc, I always suffered from digestive issues from these type of diet, I think there is just too much fat, even healthy fats, is something my body can’t handle. If anyone is looking for some excellent dietary information, whether you’re a meat eater, a vegan, or something in between, I’d recommend the book.

    1. Would love to know how a month of whole food, plant based goes for you! I’m particularly interested since you said you’ve done whole 30 and primal already. Good luck!

      1. Based on my former life, it caused me massive mood swings (due to high blood sugar swings), depression, irritable bowel syndrome, GERD, allergies, etc. Eating mainly meat (I’m about 90% meat now) and only vegetables has corrected all of that. Oh, and intermittent fasting has helped a ton, too.

        I wore a Freestyle Libre continuous glucose monitor for a while. If I eat meat (steak, ground beef), I get ZERO blood sugar rise. None. It’s as if I did not eat. I will get a bit if I eat very low fat protein sources such as shrimp and mussels, but I think that’s because of the few carbs in these (the rise is very quick and then goes away and there’s no delayed gluconeogenesis I can see).

    2. Owsley “Bear” Stanley
      Always said 80/20 ratio worked best
      That’s 80% fat calories and 20% protein calories…however you could go 60/40 but no more than that…too many protein calories will make you feel off.

      Some people do not tolerate so much of the rendered fat from cooking meat…also you may have considered smaller meals spread out …maybe you just don’t have the gall bladder capacity to handle lots of fat in one meal.

  26. 23 year old male here. Been eating “zero carb” for 6 months or so now. I have never felt better in my life, and I’ve been experimenting with my diet for 5 years trying to find something that I could stick to. I started with paleo, tried Slow Carb and tried standard keto many times. With all three I had ENDLESS sugar cravings. I’d go a few days eating well and then couldn’t stop from binging on crap. With zero carb (I’m not 100% meat – I’ll use a good quality protein powder, have the odd coke zero (hence zero carb and not carnivory) and can’t not use spice on my meat) I have no cravings for anything. Ever. Unless I forget to eat for over 20 hours, which I occaisionally do because I am never hungry.

    It’s also extremely efficient. I’m an engineering student and have a very involved job which is also my sport/hobby, and do 65hours a week on the light side. I have a protein shake with heavy cream, unsalted butter and coffee grounds for breakfast at 530am and don’t eat again until 5-8pm. Dinner is obviously very big. It took me a few weeks to adjust to “feasting” rather than nibbling all day like previously, but now I really truly enjoy my dinner rather than just eating to eat.

    I don’t hate vegetables amd never have. I was a Brussels sprout eating kid. But I just don’t feel a need for them now.

    I do try to vary things a bit. I eat lots of eggs, some hard cheeses (usually on the eggs), plenty of fish especially fatty types, different animals besides beef (in Australia so lots of lamb, the odd pork, goat or deer when hunting etc.). The only thing I feel I’m missing is offal. I know I should eat it, but I’m still working up the nerve. I’ve cooked sweetbread wrong before. Yuck. Going to try liver a few ways soon. I also sometimes have one cheat MEAL per week. This is usually a social thing. I hate hate hate wasting food, so if my friend’s wife is cooking for me I’ll eat whatever they make. I rarely feel extremely tired or sick afterward like I did on keto if the cheat meal was too far off my norm (potatoes, dessert etc.)

    In terms of activity, my job involves a lot of brain power and I’m also on my feet and lifting/up an down stairs all day. Never come home too tired to study after dinner. I also sprint, lift heavy, hike, hunt and do archery competitively (all day endurance events especially). Never run out of gas in any activity.

    I’m planning to get blood work done very soon out of curiosity.

    I would recommend people just give it a go. I thought it was crazy at first but was sick to death of trying to find a diet that I could stick to and not be constantly thinking about. This is that. 3 weeks in I was convinced I’d eat this way for the rest of my life. Still feel the same.

    1. Don’t stress too much about liver…it’s best for the vitamin A …but look at how many thousands of percent a decent sized amount has…just do it once a week or month…you’ll probably get enough extra vitamins to last a while and extra will be stored in your own liver 😉

  27. Great article. High fat moderate protein and moderate carbs is my diet at present. The problem with too much protein, as I understand it, is pushing the mTOR pathway which is carcinogenic. In my studies of native California indians (an excellent pelothic diet to use because there were European eye witnesses to its constituents), I discovered that: animal protein was abundant but every manner of edible plant food in the environment was discovered and used. The plant food took a lot of effort to gather. I concluded that the indians learned for. the generations how to produce healthy people. Their robust health was commented on by Europeans.

  28. It’s not just the lone star tick that causes an alpha-gal allergy, aka red meat allergy. Other ticks can cause it as well. The info about other ticks is about 3/4ths of the way down, under “Clearing up Misconceptions About Alpha-Gal.”

    And to be precise, it’s an allergy to meat from non-primate mammals. Primates don’t have the alpha-gal carbohydrate, but other mammals do.

  29. Sigh. The Carnivore Diet is the stereotype of what the general public thinks an Ancestral diet is all about. I try to be polite and respectful to folks who propose that a vegan diet is the way to go, I will endeavor to do so with the opposite extremists who advocate eating nothing but animals.

    1. What if it is extremely correct? Extremely awesome?

      The idea that moderation is always right is not logical. Is math wrong because it is extremely consistent and insistent on logic?

      1. Not sure where you are going with this Ethan … but all of this talk about math makes me hungry for a piece of pi … wa wa waaaaaa … badda bing

    2. It may turn out not to be extreme but normal.

      Plants are useful as medicines… but they are not essential. The bioavailability of nutrients in meat seems to counter the amount of nutrients in plants which are harder to digest. It only takes an hour to digest meat in the stomach compared to 3-4 hours for plants and requires far less enzymes (aka effort for the stomach) and deposits a nice smooth liquid into the intestines that doesn’t irritate the gut lining.

      Owsley “Bear” Stanley ate for around 50 years on Carnivore and has some intriguing posts to read about the subject. What I like best is he said what’s truly true….you have to actually try it for yourself …and ultimately it’s your choice….as long as you don’t fall victim to parroting the words of others (who may have gotten things wrong) as your only argument against eating this way.


  30. I’ve been carnivore for over 3 years. Not strictly because I drink coffee and wine. I do use spices and garlic occasionally, but this has naturally got less as time has gone by. To me, carnivore is from the animal kingdom, so I eat a mix of meats, including organs, eggs, fish, cheese and double cream in my coffee. My teeth have not required any further dental work, I had the heaviest of periods with fibroids , to the extent I agreed to blood tests to keep my GP happy, and my feritin / iron levels were great. I frequently live on raw beef, I listen to my body. As a GAPS Practitioner I am still in the habit of making bone broths and again, when I feel like it, I drink them. I go through phases of heavy weight training, and have become stronger since eating this way than did when I was high fat low carb. Bone Stocks go into the omnivore meals I prepare for my family! My granddaughters have been weaned on bone stocks and fatty meats without any issues. My digestion and elimination have never been better in my life! My energy levels are even more consistent than when I was HFLC ( in the past I was vegetarian then pescatarian for many years). I am 54 and go for 40 hours without eating and my energy is still good, which is useful when I am working as a birth doula! On the rare occasion that veg has been smuggled into my food ( by some disrespecting know it all),after decades of guzzling veg,believing that they were healthy and good for me, I really know it. Years ago, I read the Atkins diet, and could not imagine never eating bowls of green stuff, yet now, I can peel a carrot or make a chocolate mousse, and it never even occurs to me to lick my fingers. When I was vegetarian, it was a repugnant idea to eat meat that would make me feel sick to even imagine. Eating this way, it just does not occur to me to put plant life into my mouth, it seems alien!

    1. Hi Caroline,

      I am in my first week on a carnivore diet, so far great experience, energy, and all the above. I did have a gate fibroid that was removed 2 years ago. Can you speak to fibroids and this diet, any benefits. So thing I read when dealing with the fibroids was measured and dairy can lead to growth especially non organic.


  31. I do carnivore a few days/week. I don’t want to totally commit, for now-it just seems too drastic. But I’ll go 3-4 days with meat/eggs only, then add in big salad and veggies for a few days. I feel great, sleep well and have a ton of energy so I guess that’s what matters!

    1. I like this idea – I think I would like to implement it this way. Sort of like IF – carnivore for a portion of the time and then off again. I’m thinking especially for social reasons

  32. Great article Mark, as usual. In my opinion, we can’t appeal to traditional cultures eating mainly animal products to extrapolate their health outcomes to our modern lifestyles and food supply (not to mention our genetics). As you said: if it works for you, go for it. I think we all need to learn how to listen to our bodies and understand that our needs might (will) change over time.

  33. I ate (almost) this way last year, for 3 months, after 12 years of low-carb, keto, paleo and everything in between. I was tired of trying to lose weight and not seeing much result. (As a kid, I craved meat and marrow, not sweets.)
    After 3 months I lost 10lb, the toenail fungus, and any craving for sweets. I was feeling great, energy and all. I ate not only steak and eggs, but also organ meats of all kinds, tendons, broth, fish. Also had coffee, tea, spices, herbs, dairy, and the occasional slice of veg that stuck to the meat. Meals for me were a breeze, no counting/measuring anything, and could be ready in minutes.
    The only heath problem I had was that my stomach was not used with meat only, and once I had to take betaine HCl to digest my food. I was very proud to have figured it out by myself 🙂 and it worked. Also, I was sometimes constipated, but as I realize now, that was the hard cheeses, not the rest of the diet.
    Another problem was the “religious” nature of the FB groups that provided support – their way was the only way to do it and if things were not OK (like my stomach problem) I was not doing it right.
    I quit it because it was really anti-social. I could only eat what I cooked at home, most of the time when I was out I could find nothing to fit my diet and I was becoming a weirdo, to keep saying no to any food and drink. Eating meat only out of my house was also prohibitively expensive.
    However, I will probably do it again. Maybe not like a lifetime sentence, but as a boost of a few months. Pre-menopause is running me down, and even thoughts of carbs make me gain weight – maybe this could help. (The only other thing that helped with my weight was fasting, but fasting raises adrenaline, and I already have plenty of it from pre-menopause, and sleep was becoming so elusive to the point of being constantly sick).

  34. I think Dr. Georgia Ede is more prominent than Shawn Baker who strikes me as just a loud mouth with no scientific data to back uo his claims. She has been on a carbivore diet for over 10 years. Lots of presentations at ketogenic conferences and Youtube videos. I suggest you reference her when talking about a carbivorous diet.

    The ‘no case study’ argument can be made for anything. Got any studies showing the benefit of broccolli? All we will ever have is association and not causation which is subject to bias. There is so much bad science out there. Keto is a case in point, yet it works for millions now.

    My suggestion is to try it. I don’t eat strictly carnivore because I like variety and I don’t eat 3 or 4 pounds of meat a day. I have really dialed back on the plant base though (more like an occassional small ass salad now) and feel so much better for it as I think I was just making my gut work too hard before.

    1. Owsley “Bear” Stanley
      He was on it for 50 years give or take…and he was pretty smart … I’ve read his posts.

  35. Geez Mark, it must be frustrsting to try and brand yourself. First Paleo, then Keto and now Carnivore. Can hardly wait for your next book though and pushing small ass salads!

    1. Don, I state explicitly in the article that I don’t follow or promote the carnivore diet and have no intention of doing so. That said, it’s of interest to my readers, and for that reason I offered this analysis from a Primal perspective.

      1. Mark maybe you should try a carnivore experiment for a couple weeks or a month – that way you could write an article from ‘first-hand’ experience.

        Love your work BTW.

      2. Yeah and Mark also states he doesn’t simply subsist on an apple a day…don’t judge a website by its cover 😉

    2. Sigh. The thing we all love about Mark is that he is willing to have an open mind, look at things objectively, dig around in topics, talk about it, and embrace it if the results and research prove it is helpful.

    3. I’m truly surprised that anyone who can work a computer wouldn’t be able to figure out that we ALL change our views on myriad subjects when presented with new information. We progress in our views and add to our knowledge base constantly, so to come on here and criticize Mark for talking about a new way of eating seems downright mean-spirited and frankly silly, Don.

  36. I’ve been experimenting with a carnivorous diet for a few months, and I haven’t experienced any negative issues with it, quite the opposite. Many veggies do not agree with me (FODMAPS for sure and nightshades to an extent). Since eating this way I have a much easier time in the bathroom (no diarrhea!) I mostly eat beef because I love the taste of it and it satisfies me the most, but I’ll also eat pork, lamb, chicken, shrimp, fish, and canned sardines. I eat eggs most days, along with some dairy (heavy cream if I have coffee, grass fed butter, and some cheese). I absolutely LOVE the simplicity of this way of eating. I’ve obsessed about food my whole life and eating “simply” like this allows me to not be thinking about food all the time. Along with this way of eating I also do intermittent fasting most days of the week eating in an 8 hour window. I’ve lost 15 pounds and feel great. Now having said all that, I’m also trying to really listen to my body, and if my body tells me to it wants something I’m allowing myself to eat it. For example, I was at the farmer’s market last week and the fresh blackberries practically jumped into my cart lol! I brought them home, ate them, thoroughly enjoyed them, and felt no ill effects at all. I listened to a podcast recently where they were talking about eating seasonally and locally (also the idea of eating foods your ancestors would have had access to), and that really resonated with me. I feel very comfortable with the idea of incorporating a fruit or veggie onto my plate if my body seems to be craving it.

  37. One problem: Human populations are increasing at an uncontrolled level, which means food supplies will be depleated.

    The Rat population studies showed this, as population increases beyond an optimal level, it faces a self destructive decline.

  38. You should really talk to those who have eaten a strictly meat only diet from 10- 20 years to better understand how it’s so beneficial.
    My husband and I have been eating meat only since Feb 2015. My diabetes is in remission, my blood pressure is normal and I no longer have inflammation and pain from arthritis in my knees, hips and fingers.
    Plants cause all that. This is a lifestyle for us.

  39. The best diets in the world will not help if you lead an inactive lifestyle.

    Look at the diets in the provinces of South East Asia and China (not the fat cat cities) – they are very Healthy and Live long lives (putting aside casality factors such as higher accident rates), you will not see one overweight person anywhere, period.

    Also the case in Okinawa.

    These people do not eat meat exclusivly, in fact, they actually eat only small portions of meat relative to their diets of rice and vegatables, plus they do a lot of manual labour – they are proof that we dont need to eat ridulcuous amounts of meat to be healthy.

    I think us Fat cat western are over the top in eating loads of meat, you just don’t need to eat as much meat as we do, and we need to exercise much more.

    These all meat diets are wrong in my opinion, chew up resources that we dont have, and give complete disregard to the environment, and are simply not nessessary.

    1. I don’t think they’re wrong, as some people claim the diet healed them dramatically, and I won’t say it’s wrong for them to eat a diet that makes them healthy. But I totally agree with you about them being not necessary for most and definitely bad on the environment. No matter how pastured your meat is, 4-5 pounds a day is a little ridiculous.

      1. Tiffany….. How is animals eating grass, “bad for the environment”? Exactly what do you think happened before we domesticated livestock?

        90% of what cattle and sheep eat is not human-edible, even in the US. Let alone countries like mine, where less than 10% of these classes of livestock are in feedlots.

        The fields in which my stock graze have a far higher level of biodiversity – including some quite rare native species. The fields in which I grow crops have been reduced to a monoculture.

        1. I was saying 4-5lbs of meat every day isn’t good on the environment regardless of grass-fed or not, that’d obviously be the better option though.

      2. I’m pretty sure nobody can eat 4-5 lb of meat a day, even on a carnivorous diet. It’s just impossible, meat is self-limiting. Me, I was eating maybe one, and it was mostly stuff that others won’t eat anyways – organs, tendons, fatty meat, and such.

        1. The guy mentioned in this article Dr. Shawn Baker said himself that he eats around 4-5lbs of steaks a day… I’m going off of memory there so correct me if I’m wrong but I listened to the Joe Rogan podcast he was on & I’m pretty sure that’s what he said. 1lb sounds much more reasonable.

      3. When I was reading all the success stories on zerocarbzen, and there were a lot of them, pretty much all of them, male and female, once they had settled into the lifestyle and healed most of their medical problems, were eating in the range of 1lb to 3lb of animal protein per day. Most of them say it’s close to 2lb a day.

    2. Okinawans eat heaps of meat. Pork in particular. You’d know this if you actually took the time to visit, instead of parroting vegan nonsense.

  40. This is a great post! I had switched from the SAD to mostly paleo some years ago and have read Primal Blueprint, as well as the Keto Reset Diet. In spite of all that, I still had frequent headaches and was hungry most of the time. I kept wanting more meat but was always afraid of falling out of Keto. Finally,in March, I researched all carnivore diets and decided to give it 90 days. So far, at 53, I’m down 20 lbs, almost never hungry, have not had my daily headache, have normal blood pressure for the first time in five years, never have stomach issues (like when I’d eat too much salad), and feel 20 years younger.

    I agree there needs to be more clinical studies on this not just epidemiological and anecdotal evidence. Thank you, Mark!

    1. Never gonna be studies…eating meat makes people healthy…and it costs less…so big food companies and pharma loose money cause they can’t profit off these people.

      So satisfying eating a steak knowing I’ll never need a doctor…except a surgeon for trauma accidents lol

  41. The omnivore versus vegan debate. The problem with this debate is that most people assume the omnivore is eating meat at every meal. A person who consumes a small amount of fish once every month is also an omnivore.

  42. Wow! It is fascinating to hear from so many people who seem to be as enthusiastic about the carnivore diet as I am about primal. And I know plenty of vegans and vegetarians that are just as excited about the way they eat. To me this symbolizes the importance of personalized nutrition. We each have to find a lifestyle that makes us feel like our best self. How cool that people are finding success in so many different ways!

  43. I tried the carnivore diet for 3 months, bloodwork just before and bloodwork after. Let’s get the bad out of the way first. 2 solid weeks of diarrhea! I’m guessing that was my gut biome adjusting. After that I was totally regular. Only needed to eat once a day 2-3 lbs of various cuts, steak, ground beef, venison… I did lose 15 lbs and my A1C dropped 4 points. Great energy levels and clear headed, would have loved to continue the diet but my bloodwork for 3 month follow had other plans. My triglycerides (contribute to arterial plaque) skyrocketed to almost 900! To put that into perspective, 200 is on high side, over 400 and they can’t get an LDL count. 3 months removed from the diet and my triglycerides are down to 240.

    1. It is recommended NOT to have blood work done before at least 6 months on ZC for this precise reason. Your body is still adapting after 3 months. Your blood results are likely be wonky and scare you and your doctor for no reason. If you had waited to get the blood work as recommended by those who have 10+ years of ZC experience, your numbers would’ve been different.

    2. Blood work, especially cholesterol numbers, is overrated.

      If your mind and body are feeling great, don’t stress the numbers.

      There’s so much we don’t even understand about cholesterol/lipids. We THINK we do.

      Triglycerides play a part in energy metabolism. The body works as a system
      The system is not inherently broken. Diet/lifestyle does that.

      High triglycerides doesn’t mean heart disease/plaque formation. Not necessarily.
      Genetics and other factors.

      Don’t worry about numbers if your body is responding so positively. That’s absurd.

  44. Eleven years ago, I lost 62 lbs. in five months on a zero carb diet, which was carnivorous, although I did not make the connection until recently as I’ve been reading so much about the diet as of late. I’ve kept most of the weight off all these years. I never had a an elimination problem. Ironically, when I embarked on a raw vegan diet last year, I gained 10 lbs. in 8 months and was always bloated. I needed to eliminate 3 to 4 times a day and never really felt empty in my bowels. As a carnivore, I eliminate once or twice a day very, very easily with no strain whatsoever and feel totally empty and wonderful. Also, I never get sick. I turn 60 in June and have no health issues whatsoever. My take about all this is, everyone is different. What works for some may not work for others so we all need to be respectful of other people’s way of eating. It’s what makes them feel their best.

  45. “A constant influx of muscle meat will keep mTOR topped up.”
    Is the concern about mTOR the quantity (the 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 pounds of meat being consumed in a day) or is it the frequency? Many carnivores tend to eat only one or two big meals a day rather than three meals plus snacks. Thus, is their mTOR is only being activated once or twice a day rather than more frequently for others?

  46. Switched to carnivore after ripping handily on keto. About 2 months ago. It works. All I eat is beef steaks, ground beef, or roasts.
    I track nothing. I just eat til I’m full.
    Not afraid of organ meats or bone broth and tend to use broth with added gelatin to make super thick pan sauces to reheat meat. No real care of whether it’s grassfed or grain. Generally do not eat chicken or fish but it’s preference. I would at times. Eggs I could eat a dozen in a sitting but tend to just stick with beef. Main reason being I’m incredibly active and beef doesn’t upset my stomach during intense exercise. I have experienced ZERO negative side effects but many other additional benefits over and above keto. Mainly digestion and sleep. Need less sleep and fall asleep more easily. Digestion is literally like clockwork.
    All my lifts got stronger even with variable frequency and weeks at a time off. HIIT workouts don’t suffer, tho sometimes I’ll get lax and enjoy some ice cream and the next day is like someone shoved a rocket up you know where. You think you’re insulin sensitive on keto? Try carnivore.
    Nothing against vegetables. I ate them regularly on keto but I don’t really miss them. Don’t miss the bloating or digestion issues.
    I do still eat the occasional berries n cream or coconut butter snack. At times I can be described as a very high protein keto dieter rather than strict carnivore but this is only bc of a few fruits.
    Now what to do with all the saurkraut and kimchi I made before I started this….

    You may see me eat a vegetable here or there but by and large I have no compelling reason to stop eating carnivore based on how I feel.

    1. Great stuff Aaron, that sounds like exactly where I’m heading diet wise (with maybe vodka replacing my nightly wine).

    2. Lol…don’t remind me….still have half a jar of sauerkraut and 10 frozen Keto meals from a delivery service I have to stop now that meat is so much better lol.

  47. Great article Mark. Something I have been implementing already to my paleoethic ketogenic diet is more seafood and eggs. The results of cutting out most plants have actually been amazing for me.

  48. 1. Our anatomy and physiology clearly tell us that plants should be our main food. Our saliva, jaws, and digestive tract are not suited for digesting large quantities of meat
    2. Dozens of studies fond a positive correlation between high meat consumption and heart disease, cancer, and diabetes rates
    3. Growing animals for food is destroying our planet. It is the main cause of water shortage, water pollution, deforestation, GHG emission…

    Please do your research before considering this destructive diet…

    1. Alex…
      You are in no position to lecture others about “doing research”, when you parrot such nonsense.

      I grow the crops that you eat, and I see – first-hand – the processes that go into doing that. Reading vegan propaganda is not “research”.

    2. Alex, Just to clarify: 1) our anatomy and physiology and particularly our digestive tracts vary in populations but are definitely omnivore. It’s a neat evolutionary trick that gives us an advantage over most other mammals. to survive while we expanded across the continents. Expanding caused the kinds of genetic stress changes that also changed our skin color in order to adapt to northern climates. Our guts actually shrunk due to high animal food diets during the paleolithic stage.
      2) Correlation is the same kind of problem that got us into going low fat, not realizing our brains need omegas balances, etc., and not taking into consideration genetic, sex and age factors. Too many confounders in these studies – were they eating highly processed foods? Moving their bodies? Getting enough sunshine? These all matter far more than our macronutrient counts.
      3) Growing grains for animal food and for refined grain products does destroy the planet. Big Ag in general destroys the planet. Have you ever driven past the large fields of a grain crops and wondered about all the insects, birds and diverse plant species that would be there if we hadn’t destroyed the natural habitats of all this land to grow modified wheat, corn and soy crops, etc to (not only) feed CAFO animals but keep us in highly processed, low nutrient-dense foods? If we had natural grazing lands where the hooves of the animals kicked up the soil to move the nitrogen and create hermetic stress on plants, which become even more nutrient-dense naturally, therefore feeding the rest of the food chain (insects, birds and mammals), maybe we wouldn’t have to worry about water shortages, pollution, GMOs, or deforestation. Maybe trying to live in harmony with Evolution and Mother Nature and honoring the undeniable fact that life means consuming other life would be a viable option. Plants need insects, birds and mammals to become stronger and thrive. Plants are life too, and subject to the same evolutionary necessities, like natural predators, as animals. We are too removed from our food supply as it is, and demonizing meat eating doesn’t help.

    3. Please do your research…our bodies are closer to carnivores than herbivores…we are adaptivores…we can handle veggies but we digest meat far more efficiently.

      Also take a closer look at your teeth.

      What’s really destroying the planet is our abuse of it by going down the food pyramid and eating like ruminants which we are not …we are multiplying like a disease over the planet ….billions of greedy no good for nothing’s most of us.

      Those so called studies were flawed and looked as meat eaten by people who engage in a less healthy life style and ate the SAD diet which everyone with a brain knows is bad for our health.

      You sound like someone either blindly following other people’s word or you are part of the corporate greed structure.


  49. This looks interesting but I can’t eat eggs or black pudding without some fruit/veg on the side – they completely stop up my digestive system for a few days if I eat them by themselves. Does anybody else experience this?? Anything that helps?

  50. Meat is the only food I can consume without side effects. Every plant I eat makes me sick.

  51. What about the effect on the planet? A steak or any beef, lamb etc. takes more water, land etc. to produce then pork or chicken or fish. Insects are even better sources of protein and require little resources to grow e.g. crickets!
    We’ve got to start considering the planet in what we eat too if we want our kids, kids to have a nice place to live.

  52. The healthiest, longest lived people, now live in Loma Linda, CA. What is it that is unique about Loma Linda? They have a bunch of 7 day adventists that live there. Also, they have the highest density on earth of pure ‘vegans’ in their population.

    Coincidence? Possibly, but highly unlikely.

    By the way, if animal products is the only way to get vitamin B12 in the diet, where do
    cows, deer, zebras, great apes, ect……. get their vitamin B12? They get it from where ALL B12 really comes from……..bacteria in the soil and water. It’s just that we humans wash it off our produce and treat our drinking water.

    1. Vegan propaganda, every single statement.

      There is no B12 in water and very little in soil. Gorillas get their B12 by eating their own shit. You see, (real science alert) our colon bacteria makes B12, but it can’t be absorbed there.

  53. I am at the point of complete exasperation with the question of how the human species should be eating for optimal health and wellness. I have read more academic studies than I care to count, and frankly all of them seem to be pointing in different directions. I have found the vegan referenced studies rather convincing, and yet, struggle with the fact that we as humans have been eating meat for centuries, and there seems to be a political agenda behind those who advocate for the vegan diet. In all my conversations with vegans the conversation will inevitably turn to them saying something like “well even if this isnt the best diet for humans its good enough and you need to do this for the planet.” I am all for saving the planet but my quest is for the diet that leads to optimum health for humans. I have found the lack of research on the Paleo/low carb/carnivorous side rather troubling as well, though I have seen positive anecdotal evidence in many people who have embraced these various plans and had wonderful results. I am a very intelligent person with a PhD in Finance, and yet the diet for optimal health seems to be elusive. Marks blog is the beginning of me finding some semblance of what I would call clear answers, but I am still confronted with the question, how are we, as humans to eat for optimal performance, well being, and disease prevention? Any and all answers welcome, please provide evidence, after all I am an academic 🙂

      1. I have. I generally feel about the same with every diet, with the exception of vegan which makes me feel weak. Not sure why there is not an objective answer to this question. I know we are all different so adjustments need to be made, but there should be one right answer that operates as an axis that we then adjust off of based on our individual circumstances. Just not sure what it is.

    1. As Coleen says. There is no optimal diet or way of life that works for absolutely everybody. You won’t know what works best for you until you try it.

  54. I think the main question here is where do mushrooms fall?

    I’ve always found them to be a pretty

    Fun guy.

  55. Great article, and so balanced. My doctor agrees totaly. Thank you.

  56. Wow! So many comments here! It’s really interesting to read about everyone experience with this diet but I get the feeling that it’s a really expensive diet unfortunately.

    1. It actually isn’t expensive. When you don’t need to buy the supplements (no, you don’t need supplements unless you have a diagnosed deficiency, Mark isn’t well informed on this) you would on keto, all the keto strips, special foods, veggies that will spoil before you use them, less meds because you get healthier etc. you will save money. It does sound like an expensive diet but you can do it on a budget and most people find they end up spending less money than on other diets. I don’t live in the US, meat is expensive here and even I end up using less money now.

    2. I actually spend less on food now than previously on paleo/ancestral/keto/omnivore diet. Think about it, grocery list: meat. Nothing else

      1. Well yes I got the idea, but meat is the most expensive thing on my grocery list. If I don’t eat all the other things, I need to eat more meat, no?

    3. If you want to eat steak only, yes, it is expensive, and not environmentally friendly, I agree. However, if you’re open about eating anything edible from the animal, organs and all, it is less expensive than SAD, paleo, keto, whatever else. Also much less time-consuming, since you don’t peel veggies etc

      1. I currently only eat pork liver and it is really cheap but I don’t have access to a whole lot of other offal.

        1. Offal isn’t needed on the diet and it absolutely should not make up a large portion of it. You don’t need to buy steak, you can buy all other meat as well. Chicken thighs, pork chops, rump roast, brisket, ribs, eggs, bacon, shrimp etc etc. It’s fun to eat only steak if that’s what you can afford but you’ll do just as well eating any meat you enjoy.

          1. Oh sorry I was not clear, I meant the only offal I eat is pork liver.

  57. Wow, very interesting to see this post. I am actually eating the carnivore diet right now. I have a history of chronic & sometimes severe intestinal issues, including surgery, and including SIBO. I am using the carnivore diet as my experiment to knock down all those flora that are living in the wrong intestine. It’s been about 2.5 weeks with one detour, and I have to say my gut is vastly improved. My daily pain and bloating has almost completely disappeared.

    I also feel amazing. Very surprising to me, but I am calmer, more motivated and have been walking/hiking every day because it feels great. (I am usually very unmotivated and often find it hard to leave the house).

    I’ve been primal for long periods, keto for long periods, and even AIP for long periods. I get some of the great effects on these 3 WOE, but still have lots of gut issues. Another major factor that I would get some relief from on primal, keto, AIP was cravings, but not completely. As a person with serious food cravings/addictions, discovering that I get basically 100% relief is such a soul felt release it is hard to describe. Most people will not understand how mind-bending this is, but I forget to eat or I often don’t feel like eating.

    Even with the fantastic results I am getting, I am skeptical about how realistic it is to stay 100% carnivore for eternity. I think that we, as a species, are opportunistic omnivores with a preference and need for a great percentage of meat & fat. I actually think it’s good for us to cycle through different ways of eating. That is much more natural to our history. Primal, keto, carnivore, fasting, etc.

    I’m excited to continue the experiment.

  58. “A recent paper showed that the majority of people following a “paleolithic ketogenic diet” with at least 70% of calories from animal foods and including offal had adequate serum magnesium levels. That’s a great start. But earlier studies show that serum magnesium may not be the definitive marker. A person can have normal serum levels but inadequate tissue levels—and in the tissues is where magnesium does its work. A person can have normal serum levels but still be deficient.”
    Dear Mark. First: “majority people”, in fact 99.9%
    Second. What you write, is not real. The magnesium function depends only on the degree of glycolysis. Tissue and intracellular magnesium also depend on glycolysis. If is ketosis, very little magnesium is required. Any magnesium supplement can make a cardiac complication, sinus tachycardia, extrasystole etc. But it can cause diarrhea, warmth, sweating. Also made increased intestinal permeability and changed membrane functions. Magnesium dosage is not a game.
    To talk about past investigations are a professional mistake because these study made not during healthy diet.
    Animal fat is important in nutrition. So it is better to say a meat / animal fat-based diet, a paleo-ketogenic diet as a carnivore. The only meat is not as healthy as meat and animal fat.
    Anyway, the real paleolithic diet is actually paleolithic ketogenic diet or carnivorous diet.
    This is important for magnesium.I apologize for the bad English, I hope you understand what I wrote.

  59. Well, It depends on how we view things. If I was to assume the role of the devil advocate, I can say that we can’t point to a single group that just ate meat because hunting is arduous and danger, while in this day and age we can get meat 24/7, due to domestication. By the same token, I can say that the Inuits ate some plants and fruits not because they are packed with nutritional values but out of necessity due to scarcity in animal foods (many things can affect that).

    Vitamin C RDA is also highly overrated and the literature and animal food supply the amount needed which is 10 gram; it’s only when we consume fruits and carbs the the need arises. And as far as Magnesium is concern, it is lacking also in Keto and primal – one just have to view that daily posts that pop up daily on FB (PB & Keto reset, ZC group etc’).

    I understand if one decides that carnivore Diet isn’t for him/her. The question that one need to ask himself, is if it’s due to not wanting to give up on what is perceived as a tasty food. Like the endless of “Kosher” Keto dessert recipes that stream daily. Personally, I don’t see the attraction in them anymore.

  60. Interesting discussion. I’ve been researching the Carnivore Diet for a while now, and may ease into it at some point. I’ve already eliminated many foods, so going carnivore might not be that tough for me. Thanks to all who gave their testimonies on this. And thanks to Mark for the article.

    I’ve been pondering: In addition to the anti-nutrients and irritating fiber in plants, what about pesticides? Most plants and their growing soil have been saturated with glyphosate for many years now. Perhaps that’s why so many people can’t process the toxic cocktail combination of pesticides, anti-nutrients and fiber? Dr Zach Bush has a lot to say about how glyphosate and Roundup is destroying our gut.

  61. I’ve been doing Carnivore for over a month – I agree that you need to vary the meat you are eating. I don’t think most carnivores are suggesting you only eat Ribeyes and ground beef. What I’ve seen affects that I have never seen on keto or primal, its’ been a real change for me in a good way. I can say that I’d add Vitamin C to the mix, already take magnesium as well, though may tone that back. I’m not blindly doing this, I’m tracking blood and biome markers. My biggest complain is palette fatigue and occasionally making sure I eat enough.

  62. “…also gather wild plant foods, particularly berries and mushrooms…”

    Sorry to be a stickler, but mushrooms aren’t a plant food! Love the article, love your site but since this is a frequently discussed topic among the carnivores I associate with, I wanted to point it out. Thanks for the article!

  63. What would be a good reason to try this diet? I have been curious about it for a while. I have been keto for just under a year. I do not struggle with overdoing my carb count at all- but I have been known to overdo my protein. If I am not careful and do not count and measure, I will eat over my daily allowance.

  64. My stomach churned when I read “liver smoothie”. Several years ago, my wife decided to make homemade dog food out of liver, hearts and some greens. A food processor was involved but she finally got tired of hearing me retching and gagging and trying not to throw up while she made it, so she stopped.

  65. Now that I got the time to digest everything here, I get the feeling that it’s a great diet to heal your gut but I wonder if it is a great diet to eat for a lifetime.

  66. Mark, thank you for your thoughtful analysis as always. Strangely, three times in the past week I have read articles or listened to podcasts featuring people, including Jordan Peterson’s daughter, who all described developing painful boils on their underarms and private parts, and who found relief only after going carnivore or mostly carnivore. I believe one of them said it’s an autoimmune disease called Hidradenitis suppurativa.

    Personally, I am not tempted by the carnivore diet because I really only like ground beef and chicken. The thought of offal is…well, awful. But this post has me thinking two things:

    First, even if I don’t want to go carnivore, it’s such a relief to be told that veggies are maybe not the cornerstone of a “healthy” diet. I constantly beat myself up for not eating enough veggies, even though I eat more veggies than a lot of folks eating SAD. There’s really a lot of veggie-shaming in the mainstream health community! (Or I guess it would be meat-shaming?)

    Second, some people here have noted that you really can’t overeat meat. The one thing that frustrates me about Whole30 and keto is the advice to not worry about portion size because you’ll eventually “get in touch with your body’s hunger signals” and “nutrient-dense whole foods are more filling.” For a lot of people with a dysfunctional relationship to food this is simply untrue. Even on paleo, Whole30 or keto, I can still eat an entire pound of cheese or bacon in one sitting. Whereas, I could definitely see how I would not want to overeat meat (except bacon…). If I were going to give it a go, this would be the reason why.

  67. One thing I noticed, as a hunter, is that predators eat the intestines, and organs of a kill first; and the meat after and that is where they get their plant material at least partially digested for them.

  68. No carbs, no need for fiber. Everything works perfectly down here.

  69. Totally with Mark…I like plants too. But I’ve also been cutting back on them…not eating them in the same quantities I used to. Because sometimes they just make me too full and bloated. Especially the cruciferous ones which are my faves. I have done the frozen liver thing off and on for years now. When I stick with it I feel amazing. When I’m not in the mood I feed the liver to my dog and my turtle (who both love it)

    1. Totally get you there. Eating too many vegetables makes me feel bloated too even if they’re cooked well. I’ve been cutting down from the recommended half my plate to a normal portion size and I definitely feel lighter for it.

  70. I enjoy eating plants and have no plans on totally avoiding them but usually I prefer a more carnivorous or animal based diet. Essentially meat (includes fish) with veggies, rather than veggies with meat. I also like to include dairy and eggs, some of my favourite (please excuse me, spellcheck and Americans, I grew up with British spelling) foods, and munch on nuts,seeds,peanuts,trail mix etc. and sometimes fruit. I find I generally feel better, suffer less hunger, build/maintain muscle easier, and stay leaner on such a diet. I also tend to seem to digest meat better than anything else.
    I’ve been thinking of trying pine needle tea for a while but haven’t gotten around to it. I tried an iced tea made from various trees including pine and maybe other plants that someone gave me at a farmer’s market (I showed up living out of a shopping cart so I used to opportunity to avail myself of some charity) and it was enjoyable, though it tasted sweetened and I’m not sure how much that affected the overall taste. I figure I’d enjoy plain pine tea. Sometimes I eat some cedar leaf, usually just a few pieces or so until I don’t feel like eating anymore or get concerned that too much will disturb my digestive system. It’s a bit pungent/astringent but still tastes good. As is fairly well-known, cedar tea was a Native American cure for scurvy as it is also high in vitamin C.
    Cedar smells nice too, whether it’s fresh or burnt – a friend brought some cedar + other stuff (sandalwood and one more, I think) incense over recently as he loves incense and smudges and though it was slightly irritating to my eyes and respiratory passages it was still enjoyable to use. I like incense and really like some essential oils. For example recently I salvaged a bit of tea tree oil in a broken bottle in a store dumpster and applied it under my nose and on my temples and also some frankincense oleoresin in a bottle on the ground and now that I’ve used it all I’m keeping the bottle so that I can smell it sometimes.
    Now that dandelions are growing rampant I’ve been eating some of them sometimes. I prefer the flowers, especially if I don’t have anything else to eat them with because they actually have a sweet nectar taste that does a good job of balancing the bitterness. In my experience, the bitter leaves and even more bitter root tend to taste better with carrots. I can’t remember if I’ve had them with oranges but I think that would be pretty good, as I often find that oranges go great with bitter greens. I’ve read that the root is a good hangover cure if you eat it or make tea, apparently resulting from increased bile production.
    Reminds me, there’s garlic mustard all over around here too, so I better take advantage of that even if I don’t feel like eating.
    (weeds?! Emergency, break out the poisonous, polluting herbicides to kill the highly nutritious, medicinal, and pretty flowers why dontcha!, and the other edible plants like plantain and plain old innocent, benign squatters that make a lawn better by making it an easy to care for veggie garden and giving it, in my opinion, aesthetic value via variety. My attitude to popular property “care” practices is not one of approval.)

  71. Mark: “I love eating plants too much to try Carnivore”
    People: “I love pastries and candy too much to try Paleo”

    Mark, you should really give it a try, at least 3 months.

  72. According to the home medical guidebook Take Care of Yourself, lamb and rice virtually never cause allergic reactions and a person with hives from a dietary allergic reaction can usually stick to those foods until the hives go away.

  73. I’m not a Carnivore. If I wanted my body to thrive on all meat what would I need to buy from Thrive Market?
    Supplements as you suggested. Just say’in.

  74. I think it is easy for people just glancing at the internet to get the idea that all carnivores are eating is steak and burgers. Yes there are a few vocal proponents of this but there are also a lot of average folks doing everything Mark suggests (minus the Mg supplementation). People like me. I eat eggs, liver and other offal, seafood, bone broth, marrow, etc. I also eat a variety of species and I include things like teas. I am also very picky about sourcing only high quality grass fed/finished animals.
    Among the carnivorous community, there is the feeling that nobody wants to judge or look down on their fellow carnivore who perhaps doesn’t have access to all these good things due to living in a “food desert” area and/or not being able to afford them financially. No, eating nothing but burger from Walmart is not optimal but it is still miles better than the SAD.

    1. Paleobird! My old forum friend…

      Happy to see you here. I went Carnivore in 2015 and have never felt better.


      1. Hi Sondra Rose…I’m truly fascinated with this way of eating, but have concerns due to my history of Hashimoto’s. Also, is eating Carnivore safe longterm? What about peri-menopausal women? Thanks for any insight you may wish to share!

  75. I am with you. Love your combination of foods than just one that may lead to boring meals

  76. Being a carnivore is just that, they eat the whole animal, which would include a range of nutrients from everywhere, the other thing to remember is all animals have a preference for food, carnivores sometimes eat things other than meat, and herbivores sometimes eat meat, so are all animals truly ominvore really! Only humans choose one or the other to an extreme perhaps! Logic would dictate thou that if you where hungry to the point of starving to death you would eat whatever is available!

  77. Its known to everyone that all meat diets are rapidly growing in popularity. So it’s important to know the pros and cons of carnivore diet. Thanks for sharing your useful suggestions.

  78. Collagen supplements seems pretty controversial to me. They say it doesn’t work. But it was suggested supplementation, if I understand. That’s it?

  79. Sorry Mark, I lived with the Inuit for 2 years on Baffin Island in the early 70s. Pine needles come from pine trees, and there were no trees of ANY kind 20 miles south of the Arctic Circle. There was nothing but barren tundra. Any plants were covered in several feet of hard-packed snow for 10 months of the year. I never saw an Eskimo eat a carb that wasn’t flown or shipped in. And look into why you don’t need vitamin C when you’re not eating carbs. Find out why prisoners of war who were starved for years not only never got scurvy but had healthier teeth and gums than when they were fed. Just sayin’ 🙂

  80. But you must remember that ancient berries were much smaller, very tart, and very little sugar – edible roots had very little starch. Take a walk in the woods, any woods, and “gather”. What you would accumulate would be a very different picture then the man-made produce we ” gather” from farmers markets and grocery stores today.

  81. Hi Mark!
    Aren’t the Inuits sufficient evidence of successful thriving on a carnivore diet?
    What´s your take on this?
    Cheers from Uruguay!

  82. Unfortunately no beef in the Philippines nothing you can chew anyway.Same anywhere in South East Asia

  83. I don’t understand how a diet that makes most people sick with flu-like symptoms for a month can possibly be healthy. This is what most carnivores report when switching to meat only.

    1. I don’t confess to be an expert on the carnivore diet, but this seems be painting with broad brush stroke. Not everyone experiences this, and I’ve never heard of it lasting a month, though I suppose it’s possible. I think in cases where it may be the worst, it’s because that person is switching from SAD to carnivore, and they have a lot more “detoxing” to do, hence the flu-like symptoms.

  84. Are you a carnivore?
    keep a newborn lamb as a pet in your home for one year then try to slaughter and eat it!

  85. Ever since I found out about the carnivore diet I stopped worrying about eating enough vegetables and more on eating less starchy foods. My diet is pretty much the same as the diet Mark sugests here. Before that it was similar except for way more veggies. I feel better if not the same. I noticed too many vegetables would make it harder on my digestion.

  86. Great post Mark! I’ve been doing the carnivore diet now for 2 years. Before it I was on Keto, which made me feel SO much better.

    But until I eliminated vegetables entirely, I still had lingering IBS, Rheumatoid arthritis and acne.

    It may not be right for everybody. But if you have gut or immune issues, it’s worth a try. The phytochemicals and fiber in vegetables seem to irritate both.

    If you’re interested in getting started, check out my guide here to mastering the carnivore diet!

  87. I’ve been feeling way better than when I was on a low-carb/paleo diet

  88. I’ve been carnivore since August 1st, so almost a year now. The longer I’m on it, the better I feel. I’m 42 years old and am the healthiest I’ve ever been and I’m in the best shape of my life. I don’t think it is necessary but I highly recommend organ meats, especially liver. I eat heart and liver regularly. Heart is the best cut of beef there is. I slow cook it in the crock pot with butter and salt, and it’s delicious. As far as liver goes, I just eat it frozen and raw, cut up in little pieces. Plants are not food. They will make you sick and weak.

  89. Anyone have problems with heart rate spiking after a carnivore meal or at night. I have had it happen about 3 times now and it is scary. Don’t know wether to back to Keto diet or what might be causing this???

  90. I dont think it matters if you eat carnivore or not, you still need to buy meat from good sources. If you eat poor quality meat, you cant replace whats missing with plants anyway.

  91. When I was pre-diabetic, I knew I couldn’t follow the ADA recommnedations for diet because it was what I had been eating for 40 years. I tried vegetarian but didn’t feel good over 30 days. I switched to a keto diet based on real clinical trials with sizable population. As well, real science backed by the militaries and NASA. 8 years now and counting. Today, I do keto 5 days a week then low carb on weekend. I looked into Carnivore but don’t want to be someone’s else experiment.

  92. Hi Doc!
    Your take on Carnivore is refreshing…as I was tantalized by this diet for hopefully healing a damaged nervous system, and stopping bloat that I have been fighting for 8+ years…I lost a great deal of unneeded are weight, and the bloat and gas are completely gone…but it hascompletely messed up my nervous system. I am 6 weeks into carnivore…having being rotating seafood, ribeye, eggs, and taking organ meat supplements. Would you have any suggestions how to come off of this diet without causing the bloating and gas again? I was reactive to almost every vegetable I ate…thank you so much…as I have gotten no help from Dr. Saladino now that the diet proves worse for me than desired…

  93. Hi
    Thank you for your informative article.
    I have suffered from intentional shaking all my life. This has normally only been obvious during occasions when I have become upset but since eating carnivore (for a year now) the intentional shaking has become very pronounced. I’m not sure what to do about this and am afraid that it will grow worse still over time. I’m really hoping you can give me some advise with this.

    Kindest regards