During this most recent fraction of human dietary history, our reliance on grains, and more recently, on highly processed foods loaded with sugars and toxic vegetable oils, has sent our collective health into a tailspin.
Modern inflammatory “diseases of civilization,” such as heart disease, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, gastrointestinal disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, and various cancers, are increasing at alarming rates. Many of these ailments are strongly associated with obesity.
Returning to a meat-based ancestral way of eating can be understood as a way of realigning our diet with our physiology in a way that reverses the effects of a Western diet, including shedding excess weight.
How Much Weight do People Lose on the Carnivore Diet?
If you’ve been exploring the carnivore diet online, you’ve certainly come across hundreds of personal carnivore diet success stories and accompanying before and after photos. The #meatheals🥓🍗🍖🥩✌🏻hashtag on Instagram is a good place to look if you haven’t already.
All of this carnivore diet social media attention caught the eye of Harvard University. In 2020, Harvard researchers surveyed 2,029 carnivore dieters
78% of partiticipants cited weight loss as a prime reason
93% of participants reported improved or resolved overweight/obesity
BMI decreased on average from 27.2 to 24.3.
A similar large-scale study by Revero, a carnivore diet coaching company founded by Dr. Shawn Baker, surveyed 12,000 people, 91% of whom reported losing weight and reducing body fat.
There are a few key mechanisms by which the carnivore diet supports weight loss. Let’s take a look.
The carnivore diet is essentially a zero-carb diet.
High intake of sugars and vegetable oils have routinely been found to contribute to obesity and numerous other modern diseases.
Not surprisingly, processed foods have been found to be the leading cause of obesity in the Western world.
By eliminating all plant and processed foods, the carnivore diet removes the leading cause of obesity. Furthermore, on carnivore, you replace those hollow calories with Fatty animal-based foods that decrease food cravings, helping curb overeating.
Reversal of Leptin Resistance
Leptin is a hormone that controls appetite and the rate at which your body uses energy. Think of it as your “stop eating” hormone.
But when you consume a high-carb diet, your brain is constantly flooded with leptin. After chronic exposure, receptors lose their sensitivity–this is called leptin resistance.
When your body is resistant to leptin, it thinks it’s starving and triggers energy-saving and fat-storing protocols, including :
craving fattening high-carb foods
moving less (in order to conserve body fat)
This is why it’s so hard for overweight people to muster the will to cut calories and exercise more.
In light of these effects, leptin resistance is viewed as a central feature of obesity.
As of 2019, there have been no effective medications to reverse leptin resistance, making dietary interventions, like the carnivore diet the only effective remedy.
More Nutrients = More Energy
When your body is starved of energizing nutrients, you feel mentally and physically lethargic.
The carnivore diet is centered on the most nutrient-dense foods on earth. Red meat, seafood, organ meats, and full-fat dairy are loaded with nourishing fats, complete proteins, and nearly every essential micronutrient.
In particular, animal foods are a fantastic source of B vitamins, zinc, and iron, all of which play key roles in energy metabolism.
Carnivore Diet Weight Loss: The Takeaway
The carnivore diet is a remarkably effective tool for losing excess body fat while maintaining lean muscle.
The carnivore diet supports weight loss by eliminating carbs, triggering ketosis, increasing metabolic rate, rebalancing hormones, and resensitizing hormone receptors associated with hunger and satiation signals, and by providing your body and brain with highly nourishing and energizing nutrients.
On the carnivore diet, you will naturally move, metabolize body fat, and eat less without having to focus on restricting calories.
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