The question of how long it takes to see results on the carnivore diet is common among people who are considering starting this diet.
The answer is you could see results as soon as after the first carnivore meal, after a few days, or after a few weeks. However, some people going carnivore may take a year or even a lot longer to fully recover from serious health issues.
The speed at which you’ll see results after switching to the carnivore diet depends on various factors, including:
- The strictness of the version of the carnivore diet you’re following
- Your diet and nutritional status before switching to the carnivore diet
- The severity of any pre-existing health conditions you may have.
Let’s take a look at these factors in more detail below.
How strict is the version of your carnivore diet?
Like all other diets, there are also “clean” and “dirty” versions of the carnivore diet. Obviously, the more “clean” the version of your carnivore diet is, the quicker you will see results.
In this case, a 19-year-old male was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and was put on an insulin regime and advised to follow a standard conventional diabetes diet with six meals containing 240 grams of carbohydrates a day. 
The patient followed this regime for 20 days and, during this period, his blood glucose levels fluctuated between 68–267 mg/dL. This is substantially higher than the range that the American Diabetes Association guidelines recommend which is between 80–130 mg/dL (4.4–7.2 mmol/L) when fasting and below <180 mg/dL (10.0 mmol/L) when not fasting. [3, 4]
Because his condition did not improve, he contacted the International Center for Medical Nutritional Intervention (ICMNI) which specializes in using the Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet to treat a number of chronic diseases.
The patient was put on the paleolithic-ketogenic diet and his diet consisted of meat, organ meat, fat and eggs.
Following his first paleolithic-ketogenic meal, his glucose level dropped to 86 mg/dL thus and was able to discontinue insulin immediately. His average blood glucose on the paleolithic-ketogenic diet without insulin was 85 mg/dL compared to 119 mg/dL while following the standard conventional diabetes diet with insulin. 
Your diet and nutritional status before switching to the carnivore diet
If you have been on a standard Western-style diet, a vegan diet or a vegetarian diet that is either high in carbohydrates, low in essential nutrients or high in antinutrients that prevents your body from properly absorbing nutrients in your diet, you are likely to experience dramatic changes in your health and likely to see those changes much quicker when you eliminate plant-based food and eat animal-based food exclusively.
If you have been on a ketogenic diet, a paleo diet or a whole-food diet that includes plenty of good quality animal-based foods in your diet, you are still likely to experience some benefits by cutting out plant-based food and seed oils but the changes are probably more subtle.
I became a carnivore after being vegan for 6 years … my first meal was not an egg, it was 30 chicken wings from buffalo wild wings 🙂 it was like my brain lit up after the first bite and I could not stop!!! I will never go back.@autumnharrison112
I was vegetarian for 3 years in my mid-20s. I broke my meat-fast after I had been having multiple dreams of eating red meat. So finally after 3 years, I ate a steak. I don’t think anything ever tasted so good in my entire life. I had a huge surge of energy and hormones that made me act wild and ridiculously happy, such that my boyfriend at the time called it “beef drunk”. I was rowdy and aggressive but in a fun and excited way. I’ve never felt anything like that. I’ve been eating meat ever since.@beyondbex4276
I ate the standard American diet before switching to vegetarian for a few years and with worsening health and the start of prediabetes from that I went back to a mainly meat-based diet with one to two meals a day. Got my health back! and my blood work is now excellent after going back to a meat-based diet. While I was vegetarian even taking supplements completely ruined my athletic performance and endurance. As soon as I went back to mainly animal protein including eggs and aged cheese, my athletic performance and endurance came back and have been better than ever before.@beardumaw24
I was a vegan for many years. I ate boat loads of veggies, and whole grains. I weighed 220 lbs and was getting heavier. I began to have problems with allergies, sinus infections, sleep apnea, and worst of all I had 2 trips to the ICU with severe pneumonia, the last of which nearly killed me. Out of desperation, 2 years ago, I decided “f**k it”, I needed to try something different.
It’s now been 2 years of eating nose to tail carnivore. I have lost 40lbs, my allergies have disappeared, no more sinus infections, no more sleep apnea/terrible snoring, better skin, better dental health, libido is through the roof, and no pneumonia! Haven’t had a cold or sniffle either. I wish I had known about Carnivore eating years ago. My life has turned around.Jack Labonte
The severity of your existing health problems
The last factor that could affect how soon you are able to see results on the carnivore diet is the severity of your existing health issues.
People are likely to notice more immediate improvements in weight loss, skin health, mood change, sleep quality, and blood sugar levels than more serious health issues like leaky guts or cancer.
For example, in another case reported by the ICMNI, a 60-year-old patient diagnosed with soft plate cancer was put on the most strict form of the paleolithic-ketogenic diet which included only meat, animal fat, and organ and no plant food. 
There was no change in the brain tumor size after the first 4 months on this diet but there was a decrease in tumor size shown in a subsequent MRI six months later as well as an absence of enlarged lymph nodes. At the time of reporting the case, the patient had been on the diet for 20 months without side effects or symptoms. 
Results on the carnivore diet
Below are a few testimonials from individuals who have tried the carnivore diet and have seen results at different time frames.
After my first nonvegan meal of wild-caught fish, my mood changed drastically, and my depression lifted almost immediately.Sylvia
I had a nearly immediate reversal in my allergiesCharlene Anderson
Within 72 hours of beginning a Zero Carb diet, I quickly noticed my bloating was gone.Isabel
Within a few days
Not even one week into my challenge, I began to lose inches. However, I also began to notice that I was experiencing many overall positive health changes as well. I was sleeping better, any anxiety that I had was gone, my cognitive function was improving, my vision was improving, and my energy was through the roof! I had zero carbohydrate cravings. All I desired was my animal kingdom foods. WOW! I was sold and there was no turning back now.Lynn Marie Miller
My ten-year bout with missing periods cleared up as soon as I used animal fat as my only fat source. I ovulated within days and had a period two weeks later. Since changing my diet, I’ve been perfectly regular, and I’ve had two healthy pregnancies and deliveries.Charlene Anderson
During the first few days on Zero Carb, my energy increased, my stomach calmed down and stopped aching, I was no longer bloated all the time, and the chronic brain fog disappeared. Basically, I just felt good. My body and mind were both much more calm and content.Lena Kristiansen
Less than a couple of weeks
I had dealt with constipation and hemorrhoids for many years, and I believed that eating foods with massive amounts of fiber was the only way to have a healthy digestive system. However, I gave eating only meat a try for a week, and I had my first pain-free bowel movement in years…Laura
Before I changed my diet, I suffered from relentless darkness and suicidal thoughts. I didn’t know how I’d get through the next hour, let alone another day. Fortunately, the depression lifted rather quickly – probably in less than a couple of weeks.Charlene Anderson
Within a month
Though I initially gained a few pounds, I ended up losing a total of 11.2 pounds over these first 30 days. I didn’t take measurements when I started, but I’ve gone down one or two notches on my belt.Nkem Alozie
On July 16, 2018, I began living carnivorously. I have only consumed meat and water from that day. Ten days into the experience, all my joint pain was gone. Beginning on day 23, I felt the depression vanish. I am 100 percent free of depression now! No more mood crashes! No more ranting and raging! I was free.Brett
I developed trichotillomania (pulling out eyelashes and eyebrows) when I was 8, and it lasted through adulthood. It ended about a month after I started my meat-only diet.Charlene Anderson
I’m fortunate that I haven’t had any major health issues in my life. One that that has troubled me was irritable bowel syndrome. I also frequently got up to urinate in the night… Once I switched to the carnivore diet, the symptoms disappeared within a week…
The other issue I’d experienced was allergies and the second major benefit to the carnivore lifestyle was that they went away! I’d always had a problem with an itchy throat, and I was able to breathe only through one nostril at a time. Within three weeks, my allergies were gone, and I could breathe normally.Erik
Now, after only one month of eating this way, the magic of meat and water is becoming more apparent to me every day…
My stomach no longer feels bloated and crampy.
My bowels have calmed down considerably. I have gone from 4-6 loose bowel movements per day to only 1-2 per day. And when I do feel the need for a bathroom, it is no longer an urgent emergency.
My skin is clear and my acne is gone.
My hair and eyelashes have grown noticeably longer.
My mood and energy have both improved. I feel less stressed out and more optimistic about life in general.
My libido has increased.
My weight has decreased from 132.8 lbs to 126.0 lbs.
And -most importantly – my psoriasis has greatly diminished …
All this in just 30 days!Candi Leftwich
Within a few months
I lost almost 8 lbs. of fat in the first 30 days of Zero Carb. I had a DEXA, so I know exactly that it was in fact fat that I lost and not just water.Anne Engel
When I started my journey in December, I weighed in 380 pounds. Today, 3 months later, I weighed in at 311 pounds. That is a loss of 70 pounds in a little over 3 months!
I went from a size 55 pants waist size down to a 46. I went from a size 3X – 4X shirt down to a size 1X – 2X.Adam Valls
In may 2018, I began the carnivore diet eating only beef, lamb, fish, chicken, eggs and some bacon. My symptoms were reduced greatly and within about four months, every symptom I had was gone. Even the problems I’d had that were seperate from colitis had been resolved. I no longer had insomnia. I no longer had thyroid issues. My hair stopped falling out and few thick and long. My sex drive was stronger than ever, and my cycles involved almost no PMS. I felt calmer, happier, and less stressed than at any time in may years. I finally got relief from years of struggling once I had eliminated all plant food from my diet. I was a miraculous change that even I was shocked to see.Nicole
One of the effects of Lyme disease is a personality change. I experienced episodes of rage, which became shorter and less intense until they vanished after a few months on the carnivore diet…Charlene Anderson
After just 3 weeks, I was no longer experiencing any abdominal cramping and pain. By week 5, I was having regular bowel movements without bleeding. I had formerly suffered from severe constipation. I have now been on a Zero Carb diet for 12 weeks, and I have been totally off any IBS medications for a full 3 weeks. I also have lost an additional 27 lbs!Isabel
My starting weight was 188 lbs and today – five weeks into zero carb – it is 168 lbs. I still have about 30 more lbs to go, but I see myself getting there with no problem. Additionally, my moods are much more stable, and I am almost always in a good mood now. After being on sleeping medication for years, I am finally off of them. I discontinue them by the end of the second week, and it is possible that many of the negative symptoms I experienced in weeks 3-4 were due to me stopping this drug. I now wake up at 5:30 AM every morning ready to go, no more dragging. Also, my hands and feet are rarely swollen anymore.Teresa Dutton
Within a year
In March 2018… I weighed 263 pounds. I was considered prediabetic. I weighed more that day than I weighed the day I went into labor with my son… By October 2018, I had lost 100 pounds… and by the end of January 2019, I had lost 120 pounds in total.Laura
In early 2018, I weighed 294 pounds. I had type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, daily headaches, and bouts with anxiety and depression. I was taking many medications several times a day, and I slept with a CPAP machine…
After eight months of the carnivore diet, my weight was 178 pounds, a 116 pound loss…
I saw my doctor in April 2018. At that time, my HbA1C was 11.6 and my blood pressure was 140/90 (although I was on medication). When I went back in December 2018, the doctor hadn’t seen me in eight months.
In the intervening months, I had stopped all medications within a few weeks of being on the carnivore diet. My blood sugar was good, so I stopped the metformin and glyburide. My blood pressure dropped dangerously low so I stopped taking Lisinopril. I did some research on statin medication, and then I dropped it. I no longer needed my CPAP machine. I had no more headaches or pain, so I didn’t take NSAIDS. I was medication-free for the first time in my adult life.
My blood work came back in December 2018, and I had an HbA1C of 4.9. My fasted insulin was 4 and my C-peptide was 1.8. I was no longer insulin resistant and my fatty liver had cleared up.Chris S.
Paralysis… was one of my worst symptoms by far. An attack would include numbness, starting with my hands and feet, that worked slowly toward my torso until was in overall body shutdown. These attacks would last for hours or days. It took about a year to reverse completely…Delibitating fatigue: I was exhausted to the point of falling asleep while I was at work or driving a car. This symptom also took about one year to reverse.Charlene Anderson
I began to notice the changes in my body within a few weeks. I started losing weight after about two weeks, which I expected. What I did not expect was the noticeable reduction in joint pain and an overall increase in my energy level. I decided the improvement was enough that I would continue for another 30 days… by the second month, I had fewer joint dislocations and subluxations. My shoulders, hip and ankle stopped dislocating. By the end of the second month, I no longer woke up with multiple joint dislocations and pain was no longer the first sensation I experienced…
After nearly a year on the carnivore diet, I continue to improve. I’ve lost about thirty pounds of fat and I’ve gained a considerable amount of muscle. I haven’t had a full joint dislocation in about ten months, which is a lifetime record for me. My arthritic joints are less painful and I have improved range of motion in those joints. I sleep better than I have in many years. The low-level depression I experienced is gone. I have better mental focus and clarity. Activities of daily living are much easier for me. I can brush my hair or reach over my head without pain or joint dislocation. I kneel or squat without pain and get up without help. My pain level is perhaps 5 to 10% of what it was. I no longer take any pain medication. These developments are nothing less than remarkable…. My only regret is that I didn’t discover the carnivore diet about thirty years ago. I very likely could have avoided much of the pain and suffering I’ve endured.Dawn
at the age of 50, I became sick. When I say sick, I mean I developed a chronic burning, stabbing pain in most of my joints. I never got a firm diagnosis, could have been Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lyme Disease, or Rheumatoid Arthritis. Whatever it was, it was most probably auto-immune in nature. I was in extreme pain virtually all the time. I would rate the pain level at a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10…
After three months of eating only meat and drinking only water, I had some bloodwork done. I had lost weight and all my tests came back great. Now, after 6 months on Zero Carb, I am still losing weight by combining Zero Carb with intermittent fasting. I do not force myself to fast; rather, I fast naturally because I have no appetite. I let my hunger guide me.
My life is amazing once again…
- I am off all medications except for an occasional guaifenesin after a long day.
- The pain level has been significantly reduced. (3 on a scale of 1 to 10.)
- I have no more brain fog and better mental clarity.
- The quality of my sleep has improved substantially.
- I am much more mentally balanced and even tempered.
- I feel light-hearted and happy most of the time.
- My energy has returned and I am actively keeping up with folks half my age.
- I have lost 65 lbs since starting Zero Carb (from 228 lbs down to 162 lbs).
- I have finally been able to start running again, too, which I love.
Zero Carb has literally saved my life!Mimi Brandt Anderson
If you haven’t seen the results you expect soon enough…
11 week meat and egg water only carnivore diet and gain of 8 pounds and 1 inch on waist. Don’t have great energy or any of the other results touted by the proponents of this diet. Feel duped by all the hype.Ray
If you haven’t seen the results that other people have experienced on the carnivore diet, remember that everyone is different and your body may just take a bit longer to adapt. Also please check out this post covering some common carnivore diet mistakes which may prevent you from seeing the changes that you are looking for.
Other posts you might be interested in
Disclaimer: The information in this post is for reference purposes only and is not intended to constitute or replace professional medical advice. Please consult a qualified medical professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle. Please check out our disclaimer for more detail.