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Top Carnivore Diet Beverages and Others To Avoid
The Carnivore diet is an ancestral approach to eating that dramatically reduces inflammation, resolves autoimmune disorders, improves mental health, and boosts overall well-being.
While what to eat on a Carnivore Diet, is pretty obvious–only animal products, what to drink on a carnivore diet can be a bit tricky, especially when considering that 62% of Americans rely on a cup of joe to jumpstart the day.
In this article, we’ll explore what drinks will best support your carnivore diet goals, and the drawbacks of other beverages that are technically carnivore, but that aren’t the best option.
Table of Contents
What Can You Drink On A Carnivore Diet?
What you can drink on a carnivore diet depends on how strictly you plan on adhering to cutting carbs and plant-derived foods.
If you want to play it safe, stick with mineral water.
If you count yourself among the 62% of Americans that rely on coffee to jump-start your day, whether or not you continue to drink it on a carnivore diet can be a more complicated decision.
While milk is less straightforward on carnivore than one may think. And what about alcohol?
Let’s take a look at each of these beverages and see how they do, can, or do not fit into a carnivore diet.
Mineral water is the most ancestrally aligned carnivore diet beverage.
True mineral water comes from a mineral-rich natural spring. It contains mineral compounds, many of which act as electrolytes in the body. These are not found in distilled or tap water unless they are added.
Electrolytes are charged particles essential to nervous system function, muscle contractions, hydration and pH levels .
Common minerals in spring water include
Increasing your electrolytes can be especially important on the carnivore diet. When you cut carbs and boost fat your body flushes fuids that contain electrolytes.
Hydrating with water that replenishes electrolytes water can reduce the duration and severity of most carnivore diet side effects.
The concern of Toxins in Tap Water
Many carnivore dieters steer clear of tap water.
In many parts of the country, tap water contains high levels of toxic chemicals, including chlorine and fluoride.
Chlorine is a toxic chemical used to sterilize tap water. Numerous studies link chlorine-treated drinking water to increased risk of bladder and colon cancer.5 6
Fluoride in tap water has been linked to cancer, dental fluorosis, and bone disease.
Additionally, tap water in many areas contains pesticides and pharmaceutical waste, among other dangerous contaminants.5
Sparkling water is either mineral or purified water that contains carbon dioxide gas.
Though carbon dioxide gas isn’t explicitly prohibited on carnivore, it does raise the acidity of water, leading to some fears that it can harm tooth enamel.
Studies on the risks of acidic sparkling water are mixed. One study found that it can cause a mild reduction in the “microhardness” of tooth enamel . One way to reduce these effects is to drink sparkling water with a meal. .
On the other hand, sparkling mineral water with sodium may have health benefits.
Studies on post-menopausal women have shown that drinking sodium-rich sparkling water can improve calcium retention when compared to plain mineral water .
Drinking sodium-rich carbonated water has also been shown to decrease inflammatory markers, LDL cholesterol, and blood sugar while increasing (good) HDL cholesterol.
Impressively, participants who drank sodium-rich carbonated water had an estimated 35% lower risk of developing heart disease within ten years .
The takeaway–if you’re going to drink sparkling water, make sure it is mineral water or has added high-quality sodium.
Milk on a Carnivore Diet
Milk is an animal product so it’s technically approved on a carnivore diet.
However, in practice, most carnivore dieters eliminate it.
That’s because milk is high in sugar (lactose) which can cause inflammation and weight gain while interfering with the ketogenic aspect of carnivore.
A single 12 oz glass of whole milk contains nearly 18 grams of sugar, half as much as a coke!
Studies also show that intake of pasteurized dairy products increases acne rates 6. And a significant percentage of people report digestive issues when drinking A1 milk.
We hear a lot of hype about raw milk from certain carnivore experts. While raw milk can provide a great source of vitamins and minerals (including vitamin C), it’s best consumed sparingly if at all.
Contrary to popular knowledge, fresh meat contains plenty of vitamin C. And when you cut carbs your body needs even less vitamin C than on a high-carb diet. 5
|Beef Muscle Meet (1000 grams/2.2 lbs)||Amount Vitamin C||% sufficient to prevent scurvy|
|Grass-fed beef||25.6 mcg||256%|
|Grain-fed beef||16 mcg||160%|
Bone broth offers numerous benefits, including
- Reduced inflammation
- Digestive health
- Better sleep
- Anti-cancer effects
- Antidepressant properties
- Supports immune response
- Health joints and skin
- Weight loss and body composition
Bone broth is rich in, collagen, and gelatin and contributes some magnesium and potassium.
Collagen supports skin health by reducing wrinkles while improving elasticity; it can also help with joint pain and muscle soreness. Amino acids like proline aid in building new tissue for healthy joints.
Additionally, bone broth is high in protein, with around 17 grams per cup. You may want to add butter to boost your fat intake–or don’t strain off the fat when you make it at home.
Some carnivore dieters find it helpful to replenish flushed electrolytes with specially formulated electrolyte drinks.
Re-Lyte is an option that contains clean ingredients, including sodium chloride (salt), calcium chloride dihydrate, magnesium chloride hexahydrate, and potassium.
What About Coffee on Carnivore?
Coffee beans are the seed of a fruit. This means that coffee is basically fruit seed extract. It’s not an animal product, and therefore technically off-limits on carnivore.
However, studies show that drinking coffee in moderation can provide numerous health benefits with few side effects.
Here’s a sample of just a few science-backed benefits of coffee:
- Moderate coffee drinking was associated with a 31% lower risk of all-cause mortality 
- For women, the risk of depression has been shown to decrease relative to increased coffee consumption. Coffee drinking reduces the likelihood of suicide from depression 
- Protective against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease 
- May reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 65%
- May reduce the risk of Parkinson’s by 32-60%
- Protect the liver against fibrosis, cirrhosis, and cancer 
- Reduces risk of liver disease by 84%
One thing to look our for is that like other plant foods, consuming coffee can expose your body to plant toxins.
In the case of coffee the toxins to be aware of are called mycotoxins. They are the products of toxic molds that form during processing and storage in humid environments.
And their health effects can be very serious long-term effects like chronic fatigue, ADHD, rashes, COPD, and depression.
You can avoid toxins in coffee by
- looking for certified toxin-free coffee
- choosing wet-processed beans
- Choosing beans grown at high altitude
It’s also important to drink coffee moderately. High intake of caffeine from coffee can increase stress hormones, disrupt sleep, and spike anxiety.5
Additionally, consuming over 500 mg of caffeine per day can lead to increased fat storage around your waistline. One cup of coffee contains around 100mg–200mg, while a standard energy drink contains 300mg–500mg.
Though technically not a carnivore diet food, moderate coffee drinking for most people is a net health positive. It’s also worth considering that on the carnivore diet most people are giving up so many other familiar foods that allowing coffee may be a key to making carnivore sustainable, or at least getting through the transitional period. If you do choose to drink coffee on carnivore make sure you take steps to reduce your exposure to toxic coffee molds.
The best way to drink coffee on carnivore is to butter it up!
Grass-fed butter provides the fatty acid called CLA, which has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic properties.6
Butter also helps boost brain function by providing essential fatty acids and antioxidants that keep blood flowing smoothly through capillaries in the brain.
What About Black, Green, and Herbal Teas on Carnivore?
Here’s another area where even though tea is technically not carnivore compliant, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
The best tea on carnivore is matcha–the pulverized leaves of green tea.
Matcha has been shown to inhibit aging caused by glycation–the bonding of sugar to proteins while stimulating collagen creation. These dual qualities repair skin, bones, muscle tissue, ligaments, and teeth. 
Matcha also provides a compound called L-theanine that promotes relaxation and reduces stress and anxiety even when consumed alongside caffeine. .
Matcha is high in epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) a compound with powerful anticancer properties.5
However, there is one thing about tea that you should be aware of: tannins.
Tannins are polyphenols found in many plants (and also some animals). They can bind to proteins and reduce their biological activity by making them harder for your body to digest and absorb.
It’s also been shown that tannins can significantly lower protein absorption rates.5
What Drinks To Avoid On A Carnivore Diet
Alcohol in any form is a toxin and it’s distilled from grains and fruit. Both of these make alcohol a no go on carnivore.
Alcohol is also a diuretic which means it causes dehydration, fatigue, and depression.
Beer and wine are also generally high in carbs. If you choose to consume a celebratory drink on a rare occasion (once or twice a year!), try spirits.
Sugary drinks are not permitted on carnivore. These include
- Coffee with sugar or artificial sweetener
- Tea with sugar
- Any fruit Juice
- Any soda or diet soda
- Sports drinks, even no-sugar sports drinks
- Flavored milk
- Coconut milk
- Coconut water
Carnivore Diet Drinks: Key Takeaways
The best carnivore diet drink is the one thing our ancestors have been drinking since the dawn of time–mineral water.
Beyond mineral water, sparkling water can make can co-star on the carnivore diet, especially if it’s carbonated from mineral water or has added sodium.
Coffee and tea aren’t technically carnivore diet approved–since they’re made from plants–but they may offer a net positive in terms of health benefits and sticking with carnivore. But the key is to consume them in moderation. Excess caffeine can cause sleep problems, stress, and anxiety.
If you do continue to drink coffee or tea, fortify them with butter! If you need more guidance during your transition to carnivore take a look at the Bulletproof Carnivore approach to reclaiming your metabolic health.