Plenty of diet trends have come and gone, promising a wide range of benefits from weight loss to boosting fertility. One of the most recent fads is the Carnivore Diet, which promises to improve chances of conception after restricting yourself to mainly meat products.
Despite claiming to have fertility benefits, the safety and efficacy of the carnivore diet have been called into question. Below, we review what you need to know about the success rate of this food regimen.
What Is The Carnivore Diet?
As its name implies, The carnivore diet is a restrictive plan in which the person only eats meat and animal products. No plant-based foods are allowed, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. Some versions of the diet also instruct followers to only consume products that are lacking or low in lactose.
According to healthline, The Carnivore Diet is based on the controversial belief that ancient populations mainly consumed meat and fish. They blame today’s commonly high-carb diets for disease and illness.
The goal of the Carnivore Diet is to consume virtually no carbs in hopes of promoting top health.
Are Their Benefits To The Diet?
It’s important to note that the Carnivore Diet is controversial, and while people have strong opinions on its benefits, the research is limited. Healthline notes that no thorough studies have considered the effects (positive or negative) of the eating plan.
One of the biggest supporters of the diet is Shawn Baker, who was formerly a US orthopedic doctor. He had his medical license by the state of New Mexico in 2017 over competency concerns, though it was reinstated a couple of years later.
To this day, Dr. Baker continues to rave about the benefits of the Carnivore Diet on his website. He says that people have seen a decrease in the following while adhering to the meat-based regimen:
- Joint pain
- blood pressure
- Skin problems
- Diabetes symptoms
- Mental health issues
- Hormonal imbalances
He also claims that people can experience weight loss in addition to increasing muscle, strength, agility, and endurance. Dr. Baker goes so far as to claim that the Carnivore Diet can reverse disease symptoms and even eliminate the need for medication.
However, Dr. Baker doesn’t provide citations to studies or other medical sources when making these claims on his website.
How Can It Improve Fertility?
Improving fertility has never been one of the main benefits proponents of the Carnivore Diet have emphasized. That doesn’t mean it can’t be beneficial, but with a lack of research, it’s not possible to say definitely whether it can or not.
Celebrities recently helped the Carnivore Diet achieve mainstream popularity, particularly Heidi Montag. The Hills alum has been on a journey to conceive a second child with her husband Spencer Pratt. She’s tried a variety of ways to boost her fertility, from surgery to crystals. Recently, she announced she’s giving the Carnivore Diet a try (and she likes it).
Photos of the reality star out in public while snacking on raw meat from a plastic bag. Most versions of the Carnivore Diet do not require followers to eat the raw animal products (which can be dangerous).
Speaking to PEOPLE, Heidi said the diet is a “great source of nutrients” and that she’s felt “incredible” since starting it. She says she’s experienced “a lot more energy, clarity, increased libido, and overall improvement on chronic pain” so far with it.
There’s no proof it’s fertility-boosting
However, experts say that there’s no concrete proof the Carnivore Diet can help improve fertility or overall health. The Carnivore Code author Dr. Paul Saladino told Parents that “there is no scientific evidence” that the diet can make conception more likely.
However, he did note that eating a meat-heavy diet can have some benefits, including weight loss, improving hormonal imbalances, and regulating ovulation, all of which can make pregnancy more possible.
Organ meat, in particular, can be high in nutrients that can benefit fertility. Dr. Amanda Baker Lemein told Women’s Health Magazine it’s rich in:
- Vitamin A
These nutrients are also important for fetal development and can help prevent birth defects.
But meat isn’t the only place you’ll find these nutrients. They’re also common in plant-based protein sources, like nuts, seeds, and beans, proving that a strict carnivore diet isn’t necessary.
What Are The Risks Of The Carnivore Diet?
While the Carnivore Diet may carry some benefits (which still need to be further studied), it is known that it can have risky consequences, like the following.
Eating raw meat can be dangerous
As was mentioned, the Carnivore Diet doesn’t always require you to eat raw meat. But there are benefits – it can help preserve the nutrients better, making the meat more nutritious. However, this doesn’t make eating raw meat a safe option to do regularly.
You’re more likely to come into contact with bacteria when eating raw meat. This can result in food poisoning, including salmonella and E. coli. This can be especially dangerous if contracted in early pregnancy.
Preparation is key when eating raw foods, so you need to take every safety caution available.
Eliminating carbs has consequences
Healthline explains that some aspects of the Carnivore Diet can be healthy. For example, it bans high-calorie, sugary foods that are low in nutritional value, like candy, pastry, soda, and bread. This is especially helpful for folks with diabetes.
However, it’s not good to eliminate carbs completely from your diet. They’re the body’s main source of energy, which helps fuel all bodily functions. It also helps support digestion, keeps your cholesterol balanced, and helps make you feel full.
Lacking in nutritional value
Carbs aren’t the only thing you’ll be missing on the Carnivore Diet. There are many ways in which you can be nutritionally deficient on this regimen, which won’t boast well for conceiving or being pregnant.
By eliminating fruits, vegetables, and grains, you’ll be missing out on a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which can lead to uncomfortable side effects, like fatigue. You also won’t get fiber on the Carnivore Diet, which is important for gut health as well as regular bowel movements.
Too high in fat, sodium, and cholesterol
Eating a diet that consists mainly of animal products is high in saturated fats and cholesterol. This can have a negative bearing on your overall health, like putting you at increased risk of heart disease. It can also make you more prone to hypertension and gestational diabetes while pregnant.
Losing weight too quickly
In some cases, losing weight too quickly can help boost fertility. But in others, it can be damaging. It’s also not healthy to lose weight when you’re pregnant.
One of the downsides of the Carnivore Diet can be that you lose weight so quickly it’s unhealthy. Protein makes you feel fuller in addition to increasing your metabolic rate, helping you burn calories quicker. You still need to make sure you’re eating enough (and that it’s well-balanced nutritionally) when on this diet.
Not suitable for everyone
Finally, the Carnivore Diet isn’t an option for everyone. Depending on your overall health and any underlying conditions, it may not be recommended to you. For instance, people who need to limit their protein consumption (like people with chronic liver disease) would not do well on this diet. Neither would folks who are sensitive to cholesterol or have certain nutritional needs.
Additionally, the Carnivore Diet isn’t sustainable when you’re pregnant since it cannot provide all the nutrients you need for a growing fetus.
For more information on fertility, the Carnivore Diet, and everything in between, please speak to your healthcare provider.
Sources: Healthline, Carnivore Diet, Reid Health, PEOPLE Magazine, Parents, Women’s Health Magazine,
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