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Carnivore Diet Fast Food

By Liam McAuliffe Updated on

First of all, let’s be honest with ourselves, fast food is nasty, processed crap, and the only reason to eat it is if you’re out on the road and completely out of options. 

In short, fast food is not carnivore diet food. 

However, there may come a time when you’re caught hungry and your only option is fast food. 

In this article, we’ll explain exactly why fast food is not carnivore compliant, but we’ll also set you up for success in an emergency when fast food is the last and only resort. 

Table of Contents

Why Fast Food is a Big NO on Carnivore

The carnivore diet is about realigning our ancestral physiology with the foods that we’ve evolved to thrive on. This means only animal products. 

Nearly all fast food options contain non-animal products, whether it’s buns, lettuce, sauces, and additives in the meat itself. 

So what’s so bad about all this? 

Research shows that eating processed foods and fast foods may kill more people prematurely than cigarette smoking.

Let’s take a look at what makes fast food so deadly. 

Fillers in Meat

Even if you ordered just the meat and got rid of the bun, rap, lettuce, tomato, and sauce, you’re still likely consuming some mixture of textured vegetable protein, soy, wheat, sugar, and chemical salts in the form of fillers and flavor enhancers. 

Even when fast food chains claim 100% ground beef, there are so many loopholes that allow for crap.

For example, Jack in the Box claims 100% beef burgers. But when you look at the Ingredient & Allergen Statement you see that their “signature” patty contains: 

  • Beef
  • Salt
  • Yeast Extract
  • Corn Maltodextrin
  • Onion Powder
  • Natural Flavors
  • Spice
  • Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Sugar
  • Modified Corn Starch
  • Beef Tallow
  • Triacetin (preservative, fungicide)

A&W is another chain that claims 100% beef, but that doesn’t account for a long list of chemical seasonings, including

  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Spices
  • Paprika
  • Dextrose
  • onion powder
  • corn starch
  • garlic powder
  • hydrolyzed corn protein
  • extractive of paprika
  • disodium inosinate
  • disodium guanylate
  • silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent)

And don’t be fooled by the “whole” meat options like Arby’s roast beef. It gets an ‘F’ from health digest and contains a chemical “self-basting” solution to keep it moist during its 3 hour roasting process.  

Then there’s the infamous case of subway “tuna.” It is so processed that it became the subject of an infamous class action lawsuit claiming that it didn’t contain actual tuna 

This claim was verified by independent lab tests by the New York Times. But researchers couldn’t confirm if it was alternative meat protein or just too processed to turn up any tuna DNA.

Vegetable Seed Oils

If ultra-processed mystery “meat” doesn’t turn you off, consider that nearly everything at every fast food restaurant is cooked with some sort of vegetable (seed) oil. 

Vegetable oil is an industrial product associated with numerous health risks. In fact, vegetable oils have been shown to increase the risk of death by 62%. 

Vegetable oil has a greater effect on your mortality risk than heavy drinking or moderate smoking. 


And since it’s strongly associated with obesity–the leading lifestyle risk factor–vegetable oil is likely the most dangerous dietary factor on earth.

Antibiotic Resistance 

In addition to low-quality processed meats and toxic vegetable oils, fast food meat is a major cause of antibiotic resistance.

Fast food meat is produced in cheap and dirty high-density feed lots that necessitate the use of antibiotics. This process leads to antibiotic resistance, a situation where antibiotics no longer work to eliminate the microorganisms they were designed to combat. 

Researchers estimate that antibiotic use in agriculture is responsible for 20% of resistant infections in humans.

In fact, the WHO identifies antibiotic resistance as one of the “biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.”

Fortunately, chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s vow to reduce antibiotic use in their meat. But many other chains, including burger king and Taco Bell, have not made any pledges. Furthermore, there’s no standard of regulation. 

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How to Do Fast Food on a Carnivore Diet

If you’re in a pinch and fast food is your only option, here’s a list of the best (least toxic) options and how to order. 


Wendy’s is one of the few fast food places whose beef burgers contain just beef and salt. They are also actively reducing the use of antibiotics with a pledge to be antibiotic-free by 2030. 

To keep it carnivore, simply order two or three of their distinctive square-shaped patties. 

Or follow carnivore doctor Shawn Baker’s example and make an OMAD feast of 9 ¼ lb burgers, three orders of bacon, and asiago cheese. 

burgers bacon and cheese from Wendy's


McDonald’s has recently been criticized for not upholding its pledge to reduce antibiotic use.

But they are the most widespread fast food chain across the globe. Chances are that if you’re in a pinch, there’s a McDonald’s nearby. 

One thing McDonald’s has going for it is that their burgers are just beef, salt, and pepper. They stopped using the pink sludge some years ago. 

To go carnivore at McDonald’s, use the touch screen to order a burger, then go to the edit screen and delete the bun, pickles, and all condiments. Alternatively, when ordering at the counter, simply ask for plain patties. 

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out has a “secret menu” option that’s become a go-to for carnivore dieters on the run. You won’t find it written anywhere, so you might want to take a note–it’s called the Flying Dutchman, and it’s just two patties with cheese sandwiched between them. 

in n out burgers flying dutchman

How to Avoid Fast Food on Carnivore

When it comes to the carnivore diet and fast food, the best tip is simply to plan ahead with carnivore diet snacks so you’re never forced to compromise your food quality. 

Excellent and easy carnivore diet snacks include: 

  • Leftover steak–just make double and put the rest in a Tupperware! 
  • Homemade beef jerky or biltong–it’ll last you a long time without spoiling or refrigeration.
  • Beef liver crisps–loaded with energizing B vitamins and the mysterious liver-specific anti-fatigue factor
  • Hard boiled eggs–here’s another one that take just a little bit of foresight
  • Pork rinds and cracklings–for that rare crunch on the carnivore diet
  • Prosciutto–this one’s an easy pick up at most supermarkets. A market is always a better option than a fast food restaurant. While you’re there, grab some creamy blue cheese and make a scrumptious carnivore wrap. 

You can also find tips on how to do the carnivore diet on a budget here!

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Carnivore Diet Fast Food: The Bottom Line

Though a single trip to McDonald’s won’t tank your carnivore health goals, there’s almost always a better option. All it takes is a little foresight and preparation. 

But when you’re truly out of luck, it’s good to know that there are a few chains that offer 100% beef, even if it is loaded with antibiotics. 

In any case, it’s important to consider why you’ve gone carnivore in the first place. For many people, the carnivore diet is a way of reclaiming metabolic health by ditching deadly eating habits enabled by the fast food industry. 

There’s nothing a fast food joint is going to give you that some homemade ribeye biltong or blue cheese wrapped in prosciutto can’t do a better job of providing. 

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