What Are the Health Benefits of the Carnivore Diet?

Many health benefits have been attributed to the carnivore diet

Despite being labeled as a fad diet by some health professionals, thousands of people have tried the carnivore diet and found that this so-called fad diet has actually improved their health tremendously and transformed their lives.

In this post, we will look at the potential health benefits of the carnivore diet, but first we will look at why the carnivore diet offers so many health benefits that are not possible to achieve with other diets.

Why does the carnivore diet offer so many health benefits?

The carnivore diet offers many health benefits to thousands of people because it eliminates the root causes of many health problems while its food is the most nutrient-dense and highly bioavailable food that you can eat.

1. Carnivore diet food is the most nutrient-dense food

On the carnivore diet, the only food that you will eat is animal-based food which happens to be the most nutrient-dense food that you can eat.

For example, just beef, beef fat and beef organs can give you all nutrients that your body needs from complete protein, healthy fats (including omega 3 fatty acids) to all essential vitamins and minerals as well as other bioactive compounds such as taurine, carnitine, conjugated linoleic acid, creatine and endogenous antioxidants. [1, 2, 3, 4]

There is no nutrient essential for human health that you can’t find in meat and those nutrients also come in perfect natural proportions.

In addition, some of the nutrients that can be found in abundance in animal-sourced foods such as vitamin B12, vitamin D3, vitamin K2, heme iron, EPA and DHA are not available in plant-based foods.

When your amazing body is provided with an abundance of nutrients that it needs, healing that may be impossible to achieve even with the latest advances in medicines will happen naturally.

Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food.

Hippocrates

2. Carnivore diet food is highly bioavailable

Carnivore diet food is also highly bioavailable because it is free from anti-nutrients such as phytate, oxalate and tannins which bind to nutrients and interfere with absorptions.

For example, spinach is rich in calcium. However, because it is also high in oxalates, its calcium content is of little use because oxalates bind to calcium and prevent calcium from being absorbed in the digestive tract. [5]

Calcium absorption is only around 5% for spinach compared to around 30% for dairy and fortified foods. [6]

Another example is vitamin K. Vitamin K1 can be found in abundance in green leafy vegetables such as kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, collard greens, beet greens, spinach, and broccoli. However, it is poorly absorbed by the human body. [7]

Vitamin K2 is found in only modest amounts in various animal-based and fermented foods like natto, liver, and cheese. However, it has been found to have ten times the absorption rate of vitamin K1. [8910]

Similarly, animal proteins have been found to have overall higher quality rankings than plant proteins with higher efficiency, biological value, utilization, and digestibility. [11]

There is also no fiber in animal-based foods to obstruct the process of digestion as is the case when you consume plant foods high in fiber.

Contrary to the popular belief that a diet lacking in fiber can cause constipation, a study has found that “idiopathic constipation and its associated symptoms can be effectively reduced by stopping or even lowering the intake of dietary fiber”. [12]

Also note that when you eat animal-based foods, your body relies on its own natural enzymes to break them down rather than relying on intestinal bacteria to help digest as is the case with plant foods.

And your body is perfectly capable of digesting meat very efficiently. You would likely have seen some pieces of undigested vegetables or fruits in feces but unlikely to have ever seen pieces of undigested meat.

When assessing whether a food is healthy, you should look not only at what nutrients there are in the food, but also how much of those nutrients your body can actually absorb and how much toxins the food contains.

3. The carnivore diet eliminates anti-nutrients that can wreak havoc on your health

Because plants are stuck to the ground, they produce toxins to deter predators. Toxins are present in every plant part, from leaves, stems, flowers, seeds to roots. Long-term health consequences of plant toxins include damage to gut health, triggering autoimmune conditions, adverse effects on the immune, reproductive and nervous systems, and increased cancer risk. [13, 14, 15]

Animals, on the other hand, mostly rely on non-toxic ways to defend themselves such as wings, beaks, fangs, claws, tails, and hooves. Therefore, animal-based foods generally do not contain anti-nutrients or toxins like plant-based foods that can interfere with digestion or absorption of vitamins and minerals.

A combination of the absence of plant toxins and an abundance of nutrients provides your body with an optimal condition for healing which results in so many health benefits of the carnivore diet.

4. The carnivore diet has a negligible amount of carbohydrates

Apart from milk, animal-based foods have a negligible amount of carbohydrates.

This condition forces your body to burn fat for fuel, normalizes blood sugar, keeps insulin levels low, promotes fat burning, and improves overall metabolic health.

In fact, the carnivore diet is an animal-based version of the ketogenic diet and it offers many health benefits associated with being in ketosis such as: [1516]

  • Weight loss
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Skin condition
  • Cancer
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Neurological diseases
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Brain trauma
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Our ancestors might have eaten a bit of carbohydrate but nowhere nearly as much as per typical diets today.

By simply removing the excessive carbohydrates, you are removing the root causes of many metabolic health problems and health improvements, therefore, are expected. [17, 18]

5. The carnivore diet is a diet that the human body is designed to eat

Multiple avenues of evidence from human physiology and genetics, archeology, paleontology, and zoology point to the fact that, for millions of years, our ancestors had dined almost exclusively on the meat of large animals. [19]

The extinction of large mammals forced them to rely more on plant foods to survive and this ultimately led to the advent of agriculture around 10,000 years ago.

However, despite the enormous change in living conditions and available food choices from the dawn of agriculture until now, our genetic make-up remains largely the same as at the end of the Paleolithic period.

The human body today is still suited to a meat-based diet.

Our stomach acid is about 1000 times more acidic than those of chimpanzees. It is even higher than in carnivores, equaling that of scavengers indicating that our physiology is suitable for a meat-based diet. [2021]

Other primates have large cecum and colon to ferment and digest plant foods, whereas our digestive tract with its small cecum, small colon and larger small intestines are more suitable for digesting meat than handling plant matters. [22]

Due to our meat-based diet, our facial and dental features have also changed and aren’t typical of herbivorous primates.

It is not surprising that when we eat a diet that our Stone-Age body is meant to eat, modern-day diseases disappear.

Health benefits of the carnivore diet

1. Effective for weight loss

The carnivore diet is effective for weight loss because:

  • Carnivore diet food has a high satiety level which results in less craving, lower food intake and lower calorie intake overall
  • Carnivore diet food is high in proteins which support muscle synthesis and boost metabolism (i.e. your body will burn more calories when at rest)
  • Carnivore diet food is low in carbohydrates which inhibit fat storage and encourage fat burning
  • The carnivore diet can improve mental health and further support weight loss.

2. Reversing intestinal permeability

Leaky gut syndrome or increased intestinal permeability is a condition where your intestinal lining is compromised allowing the passage of toxins, antigens, and bacteria in the lumen to enter the bloodstream. [23]

The carnivore diet can potentially improve gut health and heal leaky gut because it removes the underlying causes of leaky gut syndromes. Plant anti-nutrients like gluten, lectins, and phytates are known to interfere with nutrient absorption and cause damage to the gut lining.

As mentioned above, carnivore diet foods are the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. By eliminating plant toxins and providing your body with necessary nutrients, you are creating the best condition possible so that healing can happen from the inside out.

3. Treating autoimmune conditions

An autoimmune disease is a condition where your immune system produces antibodies that attack the body’s own cells. [24]

Autoimmune diseases can affect multiple organs, a specific organ, or tissue. There are over 100 different autoimmune diseases, the most common ones are Grave’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, vitiligo, type 1 diabetes, pernicious anemia, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren’s syndrome, glomerulonephritis. [25262728]

The current view of the general medical profession is that there is no effective cure for autoimmune diseases, only treatments to help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for patients.

The so-called “gold standard” of care for autoimmune patients at the moment is giving patients immune-suppressing drugs.

As a good immune system is your best defense against viruses, bacteria, and other outside invaders, suppressing it means weakening your self-defense and can bring in a whole host of other health problems.

However, clinical evidence and anecdotal evidence indicate that the carnivore diet can potentially help treat and even cure autoimmune because this diet removes an important environmental factor that triggers autoimmune conditions: troublesome food from your diets such as processed food, additives, and plant toxins.

The International Center for Medical Nutritional Intervention (ICMNI), formerly known as Paleomedicina, based in Budapest, Hungary, has used a high-fat animal-based diet called the Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet to successfully treat many chronic diseases including autoimmune conditions since 2012.

Many people have also reported that they reversed their autoimmune conditions and get off medications with the carnivore diet.

4. Treating cancer

Cancer has been generally categorized as a genetic disease. The current standard of care for cancer usually involves surgery to remove as much tumor as possible, followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

However, the theory that cancer is a genetic disease has long been challenged. [29

An alternative theory is that cancer can be best defined as a metabolic disease.

Available evidence indicates that a common defining characteristic of nearly all cancers is impaired mitochondrial function. While normal cells can survive on both glucose and ketones, cancer cells can rely on only glucose and glutamine as energy sources. [30]

This theory is more consistent with the fact that while our genetics haven’t changed much in the last hundred years or so, the cancer rate has constantly been on the rise.

If we accept the theory that cancer is a metabolic disease, instead of chemo and radiation therapies, an alternative treatment for cancer would be to prescribe a high-fat low-carb diet that starves cancer cells of their energy sources. [31]

And this is what the ICMNI has been using to successfully treat their cancer patients as well.

Using a simple high-fat animal-based diet, they have reported successful treatments of lung cancer, soft palate cancer, and brain cancer.

A British man, Andrew Scarborough, was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor but managed to put his brain cancer into remission with a high-fat animal-based diet.

Nine years later, he’s not only beaten cancer but has gone on to live almost a normal life while every patient who received his initial treatment had passed away.

Similarly, Pablo Kelly was told to have 6 months to live after he was diagnosed with an inoperable form of brain cancer in 2014. [32]

Pablo refused standard cancer treatment and opted for a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet consisting mostly of saturated fats, minimal vegetables, and a variety of meats. He remains alive today with a good quality of life, except for occasional tonic-clonic seizures. [33]

5. Other health benefits of the carnivore diet

People have reported many other benefits of the carnivore diet such as:

  • Improving mental health (depression, anxiety, mood swing)
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Improving reproductive health
  • Improving skin, hair and nail health
  • Improving energy levels
  • Eliminating or controlling epileptic seizures
  • Reducing or getting off medications
  • Eliminating gout
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Improving metabolic health.

6. Other benefits of the carnivore diet

In addition to the above health benefits, the carnivore diet is also cost-effective, saves time thanks to its simplicity, and is easy to follow.

The carnivore diet is cost-effective

While meat is indeed more expensive than many plant-based food options, many people have found that they save a lot of money on the carnivore diet by cutting out on drinks (alcohol, coffee, tea, fruit juice, soft drinks, etc.) and snacks.

Some genuine superfoods like liver, heart, brain, and bone marrow on the carnivore diet are much more affordable than plant-based superfoods like chia seeds, goji berries, almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.

When their health improves, they also save money on medications, supplements, and medical check-ups which can be significant.

The carnivore diet saves time

The carnivore diet can save you a lot of time.

Shopping is quick and easy.

Cooking is quick and easy too. Most carnivore recipes have just two ingredients: meat and salt.

The carnivore diet is easy to follow

People who are not on the carnivore diet naturally think that this diet is very restrictive.

I personally think being able to eat the most nutrient-dense food ever is a privilege, not a restriction.

If you don’t have a lot of food intolerance issues, there are many food choices on the carnivore diet.

In addition, this diet is also very easy to follow. Eat meat and drink water. No macro-counting or calorie-counting is needed.

The solution to better health is simple and much more affordable than many drug-laden alternatives.


If you find this post helpful, please consider sharing this post and my site with your family, friends, and followers. That would be much appreciated. Please also check out my library of articles on the carnivore diet here which is updated regularly.

DisclaimerThe 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.

Photo creditSammy Williams on Unsplash

Sophia Le, PhD

I'm Sophia Le. A few years ago, I came across the carnivore diet by accident. I was intrigued and tried to find out as much as I can about this way of eating. On this site, I write about what I know so people who are interested can learn about it and make decisions that are best for their health.

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