A carnivore diet means eating animal source food only and avocados are plant food, so should you eat avocados on the carnivore diet?
In my view, unless a medical condition dictates otherwise, it is perfectly fine to occasionally add avocados to a meat-based diet. This is because the avocado flesh is rich in many essential nutrients, high in good fat, low in sugar, and free from troublesome anti-nutrients like gluten, phytate, lectins, oxalates, tannins, saponins, and trypsin inhibitors. Avocados can also help you meet some nutrient needs easier if you don’t eat organ meat, dairy products or like to eat well-cooked meat.
While you won’t be strictly carnivore if you occasionally add plant food to your diet, the ultimate goal of any diet is your health and well-being and not being a proud purist. Taking into account all known factors, if a particular food is generally good for your health, I don’t see the reason why you should exclude it from your diet.
Read on to find out in detail the reasons why it’s totally fine to add avocados to a mostly meat-based diet, including:
- Avocados are a very nutritious food
- Avocados are low in plant anti-nutrients
- Avocados can help you meet some nutrient needs on the carnivore diet a lot easier, and
- Having some seasonal plant food occasionally is consistent with our ancestors’ way of living.
Avocados are a very nutritious food
As can be seen in the table below, the avocado flesh is highly nutritious. It has a modest amount of proteins, high in good fat and low in carbohydrates, and contains over 20 different nutrients.
Avocado is high in folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6. It also has a small amount of a range of minerals like magnesium, copper, manganese, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and selenium.
There are many benefits associated with the consumption of avocados such as improving cholesterol profile, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, relieving arthritis symptoms and supporting weight loss.[2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] However, some of these claims are based on the results of observational studies only and do not prove any cause and effect relation.
Avocados are low in anti-nutrients
Plants are rich in nutrients but are also full of anti-nutrients.
Plants produce these anti-nutrients or natural pesticides to defend themselves from predators. These anti-nutrients can cause serious symptoms in humans like nausea, bloating, headaches, rashes, nutrient absorption, and nutritional deficiencies if consumed in sufficient quantities.
I have looked for researches on the anti-nutrient content of the avocado flesh, the commonly eaten part of the avocado, but found very limited information.
This website which publishes polyphenol contents in foods shows that avocado contains flavonoids and lignans. Some studies find that sufficient doses of polyphenols can have carcinogenic effects, interfere with thyroid hormone biosynthesis, inhibits nonheme iron absorption, and interact with certain medications.
Further, according to Dr Jaci Barrett and Lyndal McNamara, avocados are very high in polyol sorbitols which are naturally occurring sugar alcohols. Polyols can cause gut issues like bloating, pain, and altered bowel habit.
There is no information on whether the avocado flesh contains common troublesome anti-nutrients like gluten, phytate, lectins, oxalates, tannins, saponins, and trypsin inhibitors. I have assumed these to be non-existent in avocado.
I have found some articles stating potential side effects of eating avocados like skin reaction (hives, itching, redness in skin or eczema), vomiting, nausea, gastrointestinal disorder, migraine, fever, drowsiness, asthma, blood thinning, and mouth swelling. However, there was absolutely no evidence cited to back up these claims.
In summary, it is not surprising that you will find some anti-nutrients in a fruit like avocado. Fruits are plants’ babies and of course they don’t want their babies to become harmless and nutritious food for any other species.
However, a small amount of anti-nutrients can be beneficial because it can act as an acute stressor and helps make your body more resilient and stronger.
Avocados can help you meet some nutrient needs on the carnivore diet a lot easier
Some essential nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and folate can be found in organ meats but are low or non-existent in muscle meats.
Although you can get all essential nutrients for your body’s need from animal source foods by eating whole food, eating nose to tail, eating a wide variety of foods, and eating a mix of cooked, lightly cooked and raw meat (find out why in this post), not everyone can or would like to do that.
By incorporating a small amount of seasonal plant food in your diet, it will be a lot easier to better meet your body’s nutritional needs.
For example, as seen in the table above, beef is low in vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. However, avocado is relatively high in these nutrients. Adding it to your diet will help you meet the recommended intake of these nutrients a lot easier.
Vitamin C is also present in muscle meat in a small quantity (but shown as zero in the above table because the USDA does not measure and assumes it to be zero). If you can eat lightly cooked meat, raw meat and include organ meats, you will get sufficient vitamin C from your diet.
But if you like to eat well-cooked meat and don’t eat organ meats, your vitamin C intake is likely to be negligible. Again, by having a small serving of avocado or other plant food rich in vitamin C, you won’t have to worry about the risk of getting scurvy at all.
Adding a small amount of seasonal plant food is consistent with our ancestors’ way of living
Evidence from human physiology and genetics, archeology, paleontology, and zoology altogether indicates that our ancestors were carnivorous super predators that ate mostly meat from large animals for millions of years. 
However, having descended from plant-eating apes, our ancestors were unlikely to have been pure carnivores. They instinctively knew that calorie-dense and nutrient-rich meat were way better than plant food but they wouldn’t have hesitated to eat plant food to survive.
One thing for certain is that for most of the evolutionary history, they only ate what they could pick in the wild and only ate what was in season. Therefore, if tolerated, adding a small amount of seasonal plant food such as avocado is consistent with our ancestors’ way of living.
How much avocado should you eat?
Like many things in life, too much of a good thing is probably bad for you. Though it’s okay to incorporate avocado into your diet, it doesn’t mean you should eat it as much as you want, days in days out, all year round. The dose makes the poison. Too much avocado means higher calorie intake, higher fiber intake, and higher anti-nutrient load.
As mentioned above, agriculture is relatively new in human history and, for most of the evolutionary process, our ancestors only ate what they could gather and that means eating what was in season.
The general guiding principle, therefore, for avocado or any other plant food you want to add to your meat-based diet, is to eat what is in season in your local area.
For example, in the US, the Californian avocado season begins in late March and ends in early to mid-September. The peak season is from May to August. So this would be the best time for your avocado indulgence. Have a quarter to a half of an avocado a day if you really like it. When the season is over, move on to the next fruit or fruits that you like that are in season.
One way to make sure you always eat with seasons is to print out a chart of local fruits by season and stick to them. Also, read the labels, try to buy only locally grown produces, and stay away from imported fruits as much as you can.
You don’t have to be a purist to get the full benefits from the carnivore diet.
It is perfectly fine to add a small amount of seasonal plant food to your diet if your health condition allows and avocado, a nutrition-rich, tasty, and easy-to-eat fruit can help make your ‘ancestral’ carnivore diet a lot easier.
However, if even a little bit of plant food like spices or seasonings can trigger a reaction, you have a perfect reason to stay away from plant food and nobody has the right to judge you. It’ll be a little bit harder but certainly you still can get all nutrients you need from animal source foods.
Disclaimer: The information in this post is for reference purposes only and not intended to constitute or replace professional medical advice. Please consult a qualified medical professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.