How Bad Is the Predator Diet Idea?
If you only ate steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner, would you die? Got scurvy? Are they pooping awful? To be honest, the science is not entirely clear about this, but we asked some experts anyway. (Spoiler alert: They think this is a bad idea.)
Do people really follow this diet?
There are definitely people who say they have eaten only meat for years. However, I’m not sure if I truly believe them. There are also people who say that they do not eat food and that they survive on the energy of the universe , but they are kind of like secret snacks when no one is looking. How many supposedly strict predators give way and eat a donut (or, hopefully, a fruit or vegetable?) From time to time, no one knows.
What nutrients are missing in meat?
It all depends on how you define “meat”. Raw ribeye steak with trimmed fat contains virtually no vitamins A, C, E, D and K; very little folic acid, another vitamin; and very little calcium or manganese.
But if you allow yourself other animal products, you will succeed. For example, eggs can make up for deficiencies in vitamins A, E, D and folic acid. However, you are at serious risk of contracting scurvy .
All carnivore diet support groups on Reddit and Facebook encourage the consumption of lean meat and fat. Most also accept eggs and fish. Dairy is controversial: in some groups it is allowed, in others you are advised to stick to butter and avoid milk, and for purists it is not exactly carnivore. Some groups call themselves “zero carbohydrates”, although this name is incorrect if you eat dairy products; milk contains tons of lactose, which is sugar and therefore a carbohydrate.
When people like the Inuit eat a mostly meat-based diet, they don’t just eat steaks and eggs. Traditional animal-based diets typically include organ meats and even the stomach and intestines of herbivores. That is, as you noticed, a way to get nutrients from vegetables, since you are actually eating vegetables. (The Inuit also collected and ate the plants .)
So what’s going on?
We do not have large, thorough studies of what happens to the body when people eat a “predatory diet.” Nutritional science professor Rachel Poednik pointed out this late 1920s tale of two men who ate only meat for a year. Both were explorers of the Arctic and used to eating animal products for months. They lived in a metabolic ward under observation for several weeks in a row; the rest of the time they lived at home, but promised to follow the same diet.
They didn’t die. By the end of the study, “the subjects were mentally alert, physically active, and did not exhibit any specific physical changes in any body system.” Initially, both lost weight for a short time, but by the end of the study, they were not significantly lighter. They excrete ketones in their urine, which is a sign that their bodies are burning fat exactly as you’d expect if you eat a ton of fat and don’t consume carbohydrates. Their blood, when taken, had a visible layer of fat.
However, their diet was very different from Michaela Peterson’s three steaks a day . Each man typically ate 100 to 140 grams of protein, 200 to 300 grams of fat, and almost no carbohydrates. (There are very few carbohydrates in meat. Very little). Here’s what they actually ate:
The meats used included beef, lamb, veal, pork, and chicken. Parts Used: Muscle, Liver, Kidney, Marrow, Bone Marrow, Bacon, and Fat. During the lecture trips, [one subject] sometimes ate eggs and some butter when the meat was not easy.
The researchers wrote that while one of the subjects was in the metabolic unit, “he had a craving for the brain of the calf, which he freely ate.” At one point, the men asked for frozen raw meat to change the pace, but it was days before freezers became standard equipment, so there weren’t any.
What about poop?
This is a major topic of discussion in carnivore diet groups: many people report diarrhea when trying to get used to the diet, and others describe what sounds like constipation. However, these groups are optimistic, and posters usually highlight any obstacles they face. You don’t have a problem with your diet, you just get used to it.
Back in 1930, researchers were happy with the researchers’ results. “The stool was smaller than usual, well-formed and had a harmless, slightly pungent odor,” they write. One man had diarrhea, but they blamed it on too high a protein intake (about 40 percent of his calories).
Ashwin Anantakrishnan of the American Gastroenterological Association explains that a meat-only diet can be bad for the gut in many ways. By avoiding plants, you are missing out on bacterial species that have anti-inflammatory effects, and you are not getting the soluble fiber from fruits and vegetables, which helps keep your gut intact. If you want to keep your gut healthy, you really need to include plants in your diet.
Are there long term risks?
“I honestly think that colon cancer is one of the biggest risks of a carnivore diet,” says Poednik, professor of nutritional science, “but we won’t have data on that in the coming years (and that would also mean someone needs doing something. researching this diet, which I honestly don’t see). ” People who eat a lot of red meat and processed meats are at high risk of developing colorectal cancer .
A high-fat diet has been linked to risk factors for heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases. This is still somewhat controversial because it was difficult to separate the effects of fat from the effects of other foods such as sugar (people who eat a lot of cheeseburgers also eat a lot of donuts), and because there are different types of fat, and when you remove one from the diet , you have to replace it with another one. This is a classic question of whether oil is good or bad for you; the answer is difficult .
The bottom line is that it might not kill you right away , but the internet version of the carnivore diet (which has nothing to do with traditional high-animal diets) lacks essential nutrients and is likely harmful to your health in the long run.