Skip to content
7 Reasons why the Carnivore Diet is Bad for Diabetes.

7 Reasons why the Carnivore Diet is Bad for Diabetes.

In the ever-evolving world of diets, the carnivore diet has been making a splash. 

An honest comment: Diets for weight loss and diabetes management have almost become 'cults'. Popularized by the likes of Paul Saladino and Jordan Peterson, Carnivore diet has gained quite the traction in recent times.

Each diet and its followers blindly advocating for themselves. We should never forget that our top priority and goal should be human health, nothing else.

The carnivore diet is focused solely on meat, fish, and sometimes eggs. It promises:

  1. rapid weight loss, and,
  2. improved health.
carnivore diet for diabetes

The internet is buzzing with an endless stream of new diets, each promising to be the magic bullet to weight loss. With so many dietary trends emerging, it's important to be aware of their potential benefits and drawbacks.

Where is the scientific evidence behind the carnivore diet?

What does the data show?

Is it a good idea for people dealing with diabetes?

The carnivore diet does not include carbohydrates, fiber, or any additional fats, not even vegetables and fruits. Given that vegetable and fruit consumption drives markers of longevity, does giving up on fiber- rich veggies completely have any benefits?

I will let you in on a little secret: the 'carnivore diet' is not a diet. It is merely a temporary fad with no scientific backing. 

In this article, I will share my expertise and experience about the various aspects of the carnivore diet. Having worked with thousands of clients globally and helped them make sustainable lifestyle changes to reverse chronic diseases, I will also help you understand what nutritional changes can really help with reducing chronic disease risk. 

Book A Free Consultation With Our Disease Reversal Expert

7 Reasons Why the Carnivore Diet is Bad for Diabetes.

A carnivore diet would have been the healthiest way of living for humans; only if we were carnivores!

Our bodies need a diversity of nutrients, which a meat-only diet simply cannot fulfil. But before we jump into the carnivore diet, let's understand what causes diabetes in the first place:

Now that you understand Diabetes a little bit better, here are the reasons why carnivore diet becomes an even worse idea for people with diabetes:

1. Risk of Nutritional Deficiency:

The carnivore diet strictly focuses on animal products. Meat and meat products are deprived of minerals and vitamins.

Meat and meat products, while often praised for their high protein content, are actually deprived of many essential nutrients. For instance,

  • a 100-gram serving of beef provides virtually no dietary fiber and contains only about 1 mg of vitamin C, far below the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women.
  • Similarly, chicken and pork are low in essential antioxidants and vitamins such as vitamin E.

In contrast, vegetables and legumes are nutrient powerhouses. For example,

  • a cup of cooked spinach provides 245% of the RDA for vitamin K, 28% for vitamin A, and 16% for iron.
  • Legumes such as lentils deliver around 18 grams of protein per cup, along with 90% of the RDA for folate and 37% for iron.
  • Furthermore, even something as insignificant as a medium-sized bell pepper offers 169% of the RDA for vitamin C, significantly surpassing the negligible vitamin C content in meat.

This stark difference highlights the superiority of plant-based foods in providing a comprehensive array of nutrients necessary for optimal well-being.

    The carnivore diet's near absence of fiber can lead to constipation, blood sugar fluctuations, and an increased risk of heart disease – all concerns that diabetics already face.

    Dr. Michael Greger, in his book "How Not to Die" shares his experience about the major diseases killing people all around the world. He then argues how a plant-based, clean lifestyle can save so many people from dying from these diseases. 

    In his book, he further dwells into the idea that BCAA's, specific chain of amino acids concentrated in animal foods like chicken, is directly linked to an increased risk to diabetes. So much so, that companies are seeking to come up with drugs to blog the absorption of BCAA's in the body. 

    Might I suggest to avoid consumption of animal proteins in the first place? 

    2. Increased Risk of Heart Disease.

    Diabetes already elevates your risk of heart disease. So, why add fuel to the fire with a diet extremely detrimental to cardiovascular health?

    The carnivore diet is typically loaded with saturated fat, found abundantly in red meat and processed meats. Excessive amounts can build up plaque in arteries. This is how all major cardiovascular accidents take their roots!

    On top of that, the body makes excess cholesterol in response to the saturated and trans fat in the meat. Listen to one of our clients here share his experience of improving heart health by eating whole- foods instead:

    Plaques block the flow of blood in the coronary arteries, which leads to angina and myocardial infarction. 

    In this study, researchers studied middle-aged women without diabetes. They found that consuming red meat increased insulin resistance and fasting glucose in their body cells! If red meat can do so even in a non-diabetic, imagine what havoc it is wreaking in a body dealing with diabetes. 

    This entire picture sets the body up for cardiovascular accidents.

    3. Poor Blood Sugar Control.

    Fiber is abundant in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It helps slow down the absorption of sugar from food into the bloodstream, preventing spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. 

    The carnivore diet has essentially zero fiber. This disrupts the process, potentially leading to unpredictable and potentially dangerous fluctuations in blood sugar. A better approach would be a Mediterranean Style diet for Diabetes Management. Here is more on the same:

    There are so many essential vitamins and minerals present in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, but not in meat. 

    1. Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant important for immune function and collagen production. (Found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, berries)
    2. B Vitamins (e.g., Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate): Essential for energy production, nerve function, and cell metabolism.
    3. Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene): Important for vision, immune function, and cell growth. (Found in orange and yellow vegetables, leafy greens)
    4. Potassium: Essential for regulating blood pressure and muscle function. (Found in bananas, potatoes, leafy greens)
    5. Magnesium: Important for blood sugar control, muscle and nerve function, and bone health. (Found in leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds)

    All these plant-based minerals and vitamins play a holistic role in

    • Reducing inflammation
    • Improving insulin sensitivity
    • Regulating blood sugar levels

    Some research indicates that red meat consumption might stimulate the release of glucagon, a hormone that raises blood sugar levels. This further strains beta cells as they try to counter the rise.

    In his book, 'Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes,' Dr. Neal Bernard discusses his breakthrough research on diabetes. He has given us a thorough and proven program for retrieving insulin function and reversing diabetes type 2. 

    4. Impact on Kidney Function.

    Our kidneys work tirelessly to filter waste products from the blood, including those produced by protein breakdown. The carnivore diet's high protein intake can overload the kidneys, forcing them to work overtime to eliminate excess waste. Over time, this increased workload can contribute to kidney strain and potentially accelerate the decline of kidney function.

    Diabetics are already more susceptible to kidney complications due to chronically high blood sugar levels. The carnivore diet, with its potential to strain the kidneys further, creates a double-edged sword for diabetics, potentially accelerating the progression of kidney disease.

    Research published in 2023 in Nature suggests that digesting large amounts of animal protein might trigger low-grade inflammation in the body. 

    Carnivore diet plan

    This inflammatory environment can stress and damage beta cells. Imagine your kidneys are already struggling to keep up with their regular workload due to diabetes. A high-protein diet throws even more waste their way, making them work even harder. This extra strain can accelerate kidney damage in diabetics.

    That is why doctors recommend a diet with negligible animal protein content to patients with kidney disease

    Dr. Kim Williams Weighs In: Dr. Kim Williams, a renowned cardiologist and former president of the American College of Cardiology, has addressed concerns about high protein intake and its impact on kidney health in various interviews.

    In discussing kidney health, Dr. Williams has pointed to studies showing that plant-based diets help lower rates of kidney problems. He mentioned that populations following vegetarian and vegan diets tend to live longer and have lower rates of diseases, including diabetes and kidney issues. His switch to a vegan diet was inspired by medical literature and observational studies indicating these health benefits

    5. Lack of Antioxidants and Phytochemicals.

    Antioxidants are nature's defense system, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. Chronic inflammation, a hallmark of diabetes, is often fueled by free radical activity. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are abundant sources of antioxidants like vitamins C and E, which can help combat this inflammation and potentially reduce diabetic complications.

    non veg diet for diabetes

    Phytochemicals such as phytosterols found in legumes and allicin in garlic have great anti-inflammatory benefits.

    On a carnivorous diet, you will be missing this whole lot of antioxidants and phytochemicals. 

    Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of "The China Study"presented evidence from one of the most comprehensive studies of health and nutrition ever conducted, which showed strong correlations between animal-based diets and chronic diseases, including diabetes. The study found that populations consuming a plant-based diet had lower rates of type 2 diabetes compared to those with diets high in animal products​.

    Dr. Campbell often discusses the historical context of our society's obsession with animal protein, which he argues has been a major driver of food production and choice, leading to negative health outcomes. This is not uncommon, very often I will have clients ask me "but what about protein", but not once have I had a client ask me "but what about fiber, or vitamin C or minerals". 

    We are somehow brain washed into believing that we do not consume enough proteins in our diet. Driving people to eat more meat.

    He points out that this obsession has led to widespread misconceptions about the necessity of animal protein, contributing to the prevalence of diabetes and other chronic diseases

    6. Adverse Gut Health Effects.

    Our gut is home to trillions of bacteria, playing a vital role in digestion, nutrient absorption, immune function, and even blood sugar control. A diverse and healthy gut microbiome is essential for overall health.

    Fiber, found abundantly in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, acts as a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in your gut and promoting their growth. The carnivore diet's near absence of fiber starves these beneficial microbes. The gut microbiota gets disturbed and this leads to indigestion, inadequate absorption of nutrients, and blood sugar spikes.

    carnivore diet and constipation

    No wonder people on a carnivore diet experience constipation, bloating, gastric and even acidity symptoms. Bad body odor is another side effect of a carnivore diet. 

    When you rely on meat for protein, there is little room for fiber. Besides this, meat itself is a cause for the growth of abundant inflammatory gut microbiome, that which makes you sicker. 

    So, focus on filling your plate with colorful veggies and whole grains like brown rice or millets. And don't forget those beans and lentils. 

    They're protein powerhouses with tons of fiber too!

    Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, author of "Fiber Fueled", emphasizes the importance of a fiber-rich diet for nurturing a healthy gut microbiome. He emphasizes consuming upto a 100 varieties of plants per week! This includes whole grains, lentils, pulses, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. On a carnivore diet, you would be consuming near to none of these. 

    7. Ethical and Sustainability Concerns.

    All that meat takes a lot of resources to produce. Cows burp methane, a greenhouse gas that heats up our planet, leading to global warming.

    Clearing forests for grazing land? Not cool for all the cool creatures who live there. Maybe there's a way to ditch the meat mountain and still have yummy, filling food that's kinder to our Earth?

    Factory farms that raise all this meat aren't exactly known for treating animals like royalty, and all that meat production takes a toll on the environment. Have a look at this video I was featured in:

    But there's good news here too! Companies like Beyond Meat are creating plant-based options that taste amazing, so you can ditch the meat mountain and still have delicious food.

    Beyond Meat, led by CEO Ethan Brown, isn't just about saying no to meat. They're all about saying YES to flavor and innovation. Their plant-based superstars are designed to mimic the taste and texture of meat you know and love, minus the animal products.

    Book A Free Consultation With Our Disease Reversal Expert

    Conclusion:

    While protein is crucial, the source, quality, and nature of protein will make all the difference. Foods high in animal protein can stress insulin-producing cells.

    The good news? Reversing diabetes is truly easier than you would think. Simple switch to making the right lifestyle and nutritional changes. Eat more whole- foods!

    Ready to explore a plant-based approach? Sign up for a free consultation with our team! We can help you craft a personalized plan for managing your diabetes.

    Share this knowledge on social media or with someone who might benefit. Let's empower everyone to take charge of their health!

    Let's Just Talk. No Obligations.

    I do free consultations every Tuesday's and Thursday's. Either way you will get some actionable tips to reach your fitness goals faster.

    Next article 5 Reasons Why Statins Aren't the Answer for Cholesterol Management.

    Leave a comment

    Comments must be approved before appearing

    * Required fields

    About Roshni Sanghvi

    Roshni Sanghvi is an Indian plant-based sports nutritionist and body transformation specialist. She is the first Indian to represent on a national bodybuilding stage being on a 100% plant-based diet. Roshni is a holistic nutritionist, graduated from the prestigious NutraPhoria college of nutrition in Canada.

    She is also an ACE-certified personal trainer, certified PlantFed gut coach, certified Bodyshred, and Animal flow instructor with a specialisation in disease reversal through food and lifestyle modification.

    Her approach is more focused on helping you in adopting a healthy lifestyle. With her result-oriented holistic methods, she has managed to transform and reverse lifestyle diseases such as PCOS, Thyroid, Diabetes etc for 12k+ clients worldwide.