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The Carnivore Diet for IBS

By Liam McAuliffe Updated on

Early studies and thousands of individual reports suggest that the carnivore diet is a highly effective approach to treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). 

A 2021 study out of Harvard surveying over 2,000 carnivore dieters found that 97% of those with gastrointestinal issues, including IBS, resolved or improved their symptoms.

In this article, we’ll explore what IBS is and why the carnivore diet is so effective in treating it. We’ll also offer a carnivore diet for IBS 7-day meal plan to help you get started. 

Table of Contents

What is IBS?

IBS is a bit mysterious–at least from the perspective of mainstream medicine. In fact, the mainstream view is that we don’t know what causes IBS. 

The problem is that when doctors don’t know what causes something, they can’t actually treat the root of it, only the symptoms. 

However, when considering how effective the carnivore diet is at resolving IBS, we can be confident that it is, in part, caused by the modern standard American diet (SAD).

Since mainstream medicine doesn’t identify a cause, the diagnosis is based on the type and prevalence of a set of digestive symptoms. 

Symptoms of IBS include

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Gas/bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

People are diagnosed with IBS if these symptoms occur for at least three days in a month for at least three consecutive months.

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How Common is IBS

Research from 2021 indicates that  7–16% of Americans have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

While worldwide, it is estimated that between 10–23% of adults suffer from IBS.

Out of all people experiencing IBS, between 60% and 65% are female.

Possible Causes of IBS

Though there is yet to be a consensus, evidence suggests strongly suggests that IBS is related to the Western diet and lifestyle factors. Let’s explore. 

Microbial Overgrowth and Mood Disorders

Studies show that IBS is related to the presence of unhealthy microbes in the gut. 3 While other studies show that it is strongly associated with depression, stress, and anxiety.

This may be a bit of a “chicken or the egg” problem: Diets high in toxic vegetable oils, added sugars, and grains are all associated with microbial overgrowth, gastrointestinal issues, and poor mood and mental health.

While chronic depression, stress, and anxiety often lead to poor eating habits and unhealthy lifestyle choices that can result in microbial overgrowth, intestinal permeability, and exacerbated IBS.

The carnivore diet targets both the mood and microbial factors in IBS. 

diagram of factors associated with IBS

Source: Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol., 09 September 2020


Other studies show that IBS may be triggered by FODMAPS. This is an acronym for a group of carbohydrates called Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. 

High FODMAP foods include all grains, most legumes, and most other popular vegetables. 

FODMAPS are believed to promote intestinal overgrowth associated with chronic inflammation of the gut mucosal lining associated with IBS.

High Carb Diets

Aside from FODMAPS carbs, recent studies simply looking at high-carb diets have found that they promote the growth of harmful proteobacteria while simultaneously reducing beneficial bacteriodetes in the gut. 

Bacteriodetes are important because they protect against endotoxins–toxic substances that are released when bacteria disintegrate–while reinforcing the gut membrane.

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How the Carnivore Diet Benefits IBS

As we mentioned above, there haven’t been any direct studies looking at exactly how the carnivore diet resolved IBS. We only have large survey studies of outcomes and the reports of thousands of carnivore diet enthusiasts. 

That said, we do know enough about what causes IBS, and what the carnivore diet both removes and contributes to your diet to have a good idea of why it is so effective. 

Here’s a rundown; 

  • The carnivore diet is a ketogenic diet. Animals studies have shown that keto reduces the harmful effects of stress on the gut microbiome of rats with irritable bowel syndrome
  • Removes most carbs, including FODMAPS, which have been directly linked to increased IBS symptoms 
  • Eliminates lectins: Studies show that these inflammatory plant proteins cause leaky gut and IBS
  • Eating meat is strongly associated with lower incidences of depression (depression is strongly associated with IBS) 5
  • Gut reset: The removal of fermentable fibers and carbohydrates dramatically reduces harmful bacteria. Combined with removing plant toxins, the carnivore diet allows the gut lining to heal and promotes the restoration of a healthy microbiome
  • More vital nutrients: Animal products are the most nutrient-dense foods on earth, providing of fatty the micronutrients your body needs for vital for healthy immune response, and 


Source: Lambert, Jama & Vojdani, Aristo. (2017). Clinical & Cellular Immunology Correlation of Tissue Antibodies and Food Immune Reactivity in Randomly Selected Patient Specimens. Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology. 8. 5-521. 

7-Day Carnivore Diet for IBS Meal Plan

Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7
Ribeye Steak smothered in blue chees, Eggs+

raw oysters

Eggs and bacon+

Salmon pan-fried basted with butter

70/30 ground beef covered in butter and sour cream+

soft boiled eggs


Braised Pork belly+

Raw oysters

Picanha steak with blue cheese butter+

Duck Liver Foie Gras

Proscuitto and cheese charcuterie+

Rack of lamb dipped in own fat drippings and butter


Beef short ribs+

Prawns/shrimp drenched in butter

The Carnivore Diet for IBS: The Bottom Line

IBS is a group of digestive disorders linked to bacterial overgrowth and mood disorders. 

Both of these causes have their roots in the modern Western diet loaded with sugar, plant toxins, and industrial seed “vegetable” oils. 

The carnivore diet is a remarkably effective approach to overcoming IBS because it removes the carbs, FODMAPS, and toxins that lead to IBS. And it replaces these dietary stressors with healthy, nourishing fats, proteins, and micronutrients that reset your microbiome, reduce inflammation, and repair your intestinal tissue.

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