Here Are The Real Benefits Of The Carnivore Diet

9 min read

It’s Much More Than A Weight-Loss Tool

Here’s a chance for some introspection, and I can promise you it’s worth the risk of giving yourself a crisis. Do you diet to change your look, or improve the way you feel about yourself?  ‘Wellness’ may be a bit of a buzzword in the fitness-sphere right now, and I for one am pleased with the way the pendulum is shifting. Over recent years I’ve diverted more and more of my bro-research towards the frustrating task of fixing and renovating the brain. Train the outlook, get the lifestyle. It just so happens that the diet is inextricably linked.

The mental upgrade of carnivore is something I have touched on, but yet to dedicate an entire piece towards. And that needs to change, because I’d like to stake a claim that this is the highlight of a red meat-centric diet. Despite the fact that it’s also the ultimate weight loss tool. 

A diet that’s worth the salt, really should be built to last across all seasons, whether the template is feast and famine. This can appear as a negative when considering carnivore for your latest attempt at shedding stubborn pounds. Because this diet is incredibly restrictive. 

Vegetables are out, fruits are out, processed junk, starches, grains, they’re all getting the boot. To make things worse, even tried and trusted meats can be questioned if you’re looking to score maximum points for nutrition.

With restrictive diets, it can just be a matter of when you reach your breaking point. They’re inherently unsustainable. But carnivore may well get a special exemption even with dieters prone to the odd breakdown, and the reasons link back to the mental upgrade. By tackling your neurology, the HPA axis, and the microbiota, this diet actually makes you feel better across all fronts. Which makes it the opposite of restrictive. 

This is why the weight loss aspect of carnivore, despite being marvelously potent, shouldn’t be seen as the main feature. The goal of looking the part, physique change, should be placed second in the priority list. And I can admit this, despite being trained to deliver the latter.

Not that you really have to pick sides. Even if you’re not so into meditation, long forest walks, thai massages, and other forms of self-care, you have to admit that stress management plays a critical role in physique change. Being unable to control stress, whether it comes from the diet, sleep, or external threats, will inevitably delay progress in the gym. Perhaps stop it altogether.

Carnivore As A Stress Destroyer

This brings us to the first friendly feature of the carnivore brain. It disables virtually all dietary stress, by removing triggers of inflammation. Plant toxins, seed oils, sugar, they all get exempted from the diet. That in itself creates a monumental shift for the better. Without the constant barrage of foreign invaders, digestion runs much smoother, and the gut stops sending alarm bells over to the brain across the HPA axis.

Plant Toxins – Irritates the gut, breaks through the stomach lining into your insides, causes immune responses.

Seed Oils – Creates insulin resistance, increases appetite and stores as inflammatory fat depots.

Sugar – Causes blood sugar crashes which are inherently inflammatory, drive up hunger, increase stress in the brain, and worsening insulin resistance.

The optimal, fat burning, energy-boosting diet, isn’t just about finding total sources of nutrition. It also comes down to what you’re removing from the plate.

And the stress arc doesn’t stop there. We have to factor ketones into the equation. As I’ve already run through in an article, they’re much more than an alternative fuel source to sugar. Ketones emit signals that actively reduce inflammation, repair cells, and improve the GABA to Glutamate ratio. In case you’re not familiar, this ratio is a great indicator of stress levels, as GABA functions as a brake, and Glutamate as a gas pedal. Sugar effectively swings the ratio in the opposite reduction.

This feature is key in why I much prefer to hang around in a ketotic state. It feels like a sedative, but without dulling the mind along with it. Things just don’t elicit the emotional response like they used to. Personally I’m more than happy to hop off the daily rollercoaster. 

Carnivore As A Mood Enhancer

Stress management is a cornerstone of wellbeing, but that still doesn’t really touch on the feelings of positivity. While dumbing down the stress meter certainly improves wellbeing, it doesn’t necessarily get you more motivated and happy. It could just make you apathetic, and that’s the unfortunate side effect of opting for anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds.

And here’s where I can’t really speak from case studies, this is more of an n=1 observation, using my experiences on carnivore. But here’s what we do know. Red meat increases levels of tryptophan and tyrosine, neurotransmitters that improve focus.

While that doesn’t make you happy by itself, it does help give you a sustained streak of motivation that drives you through the daily grind. Which in turn brings on a sense of fulfillment. I can tap into the brain fuel, achieve my daily targets, and go to sleep content with the sense that I’ve done everything I could to succeed in the day. Not exactly happy, but this is pretty much the essence of wellbeing.

I’ve also said before that putting all your eggs in one basket is a terrible strategy for a fitness transformation. The diet alone, however miraculous, can’t be expected to be the solution to every problem. That’s why I make the point to include several habits in the daily cycle, that can act as brain training.

To give you a few examples of habits I regularly use.

Meditation – Enhanced focus.

Cold Showers – Stress tolerance, also known as resilience.

Mindful Walks – Stress relief.

Here’s where it links back to the diet. All these habits can benefit your neurology, but this front is downstream of nutrition. The diet itself is where you get to balance out the neurotransmitters and eliminate the largest drivers of inflammation. Other stressors are typically going to be secondary to the food you’re putting on your plate.

Resilience habits are far easier to manage when you use them on a brain with healthy neurotransmitters and low levels of inflammation. You’re already in a state of wellness, and the habits are simply a way of adding to the scoreboard. Doing otherwise, habits without the diet, is much like attempting to put out a raging forest fire with a damp towel. 

Carnivore To Tame The Gut

Here’s the secret to beating cravings once and for all. Because what else could be the reason for abandoning a diet? Even when it works, there’s a catch. The pounds start to shift, but over the course of weeks, hunger climbs, and inhibition begins to waver. Each time you’re tempted with a chocolate brownie, you get a little closer to the breaking point.

As I’ve already touched on, restricting your plate is usually not a good thing. But carnivore is special, and it’s the same case when factoring in the changes in the microbiome. The bacteria nestled away in your gut outnumber your own cells by a large degree. And they play a huge role in dictating cravings and digestive issues. Many people recognise this and attempt to treat it with probiotic supplements or prebiotic foods, but it’s akin to taking a shot in the dark. For all you know, it may just cause an overgrowth of the bacteria you’re looking to expunge.

Carnivore tackles the problem from a different direction, by eliminating prebiotic foods (fiber), and causing a radical change in the gut microbiome. Some bacteria get starved out, others get a big boost, assuming they like steak.

The result will be a switch in cravings, from carbs to fats. It may take a matter of weeks to really set in, but you’ll eventually realise that a decent ribeye tastes much better than it ever had before. Meanwhile processed junk will lose some of its luster. And over this hypothetical, but likely series of changes, carnivore stops being a restrictive diet. At least in a negative sense.

Putting It All Together – A Lifestyle Diet

The best diet is a sustainable one, and the mental benefits of carnivore can keep people reeled in, even once they’ve conquered their body recomposition goals. And that’s not to say you’d have to go strict carnivore in order to grab these benefits for yourself. A carnivore-style mode, where you combine red meat with low-inflammation carbs, could be nearly as good. Just without the miracle ketones.

With that being said, for anyone dealing with chronic stress or digestive issues, I’d highly recommend hopping on the steak train and putting this diet to the test. 

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In case you’re looking to test it out for yourself and get through some mild discomfort, I have just the thing. At DW Wrexham, I provide the whole package of one-to-one training, nutritional support, and habit coaching. 

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