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How to Start a Carnivore Diet: 12 Steps

In recent years, the carnivore diet has gained popularity as an approach to radically transforming your health and well-being. Advocating for the sole consumption of animal products while eliminating all plant-based foods, the carnivore lifestyle can promote various health benefits, including weight loss, improved mental clarity, and relief from autoimmune conditions. However, it can be daunting to make such a dramatic departure from the standard American diet loaded with grains and processed foods. In this article, we’ll offer the practical tips you need to start on the carnivore diet, enjoy it, and receive its bevy of powerful benefits. 

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1. Commit to a Time Period (30-90 days)

Commitment is key. Starting on the carnivore diet is a major physical and mental change for most people. 

The transitional to carnivore can be rife with sugar cravings and potentially uncomfortable yet temporary side effects like nausea, lethargy, diarrhea, and constipation

To get through this period, which can last anywhere from a day up to two weeks, it’s helpful to expand your carnivore diet goals to a longer timeframe. 

For most people, 30 days is the minimum. A 60-90-day commitment gives you enough runway to adjust your food choices and meal plans according to your needs. A longer time frame will allow you to see the benefits fully develop and take root. 

The 30-day commitment is the approach taken by prominent carnivore diet enthusiasts like Dr. Ken Berry and Dr. Shawn Baker. Both men came from keto backgrounds, experimented by eliminating all plant foods for 30 days, and never looked back. 

2. Remove Temptations: Clean Out Your Pantry and Fridge

The Standard American Diet (SAD is primarily made up of grains, added sugars, and vegetable oils. Together, these “foods” make up over 60% of the SAD caloric intake. Studies show that sugar alone is addictive and becomes even harder to resist when packaged with carbs and fat.

Most of us don’t consume junk food because our bodies are actually hungry for it. We eat junk because we’re addicted. High-sugar foods have been found to stimulate reward receptors in the brain more powerfully than cocaine and heroin.

As with any drug, letting go of non-carnivore foods isn’t a matter of willpower. It’s a matter of strategy. 

The most powerful step you can take to support your carnivore journey is to get rid of any food in your house that isn’t on the carnivore diet food list

Think of it like this: Would you rather wage a battle 24/7 against the chips, cookies, sweets, bread, and pasta in your cupboard? Or would you rather stave off your cravings for the few seconds it takes you to pass the junk food aisle in the supermarket? 

Part and parcel to removing temptations from your house is to let your friends and family know that you’re on a carnivore challenge. They’ll probably be shocked. Explain that you’re eating this way to improve your health, and you’d like them to be open to it and not guilt trip you into eating food that doesn’t align with your goals. 

And don’t worry; the temporary cravings will subside. You’ll be rewarded by the satiating power of nutrient-dense superfoods. Once your hunger hormones re-adjust to healthy levels after kicking sugar, you’ll be free from hunger cravings. 

3. Join a Carnivore Community

Joining a carnivore community online or in person can make or break your carnivore diet experience. 

Carnivore communities are a place to share and learn with others on this powerful journey of transformation.  

4. Go Shopping for High-Quality Meats and Animal Fats

This step is fun! A carnivore diet is a low-carb, high-fat way of eating, which means that you have to load up on succulent, fatty meats

Aim for at least a 1:1 gram of fat to protein ratio. Since fat has about twice as many calories per gram as protein, you’ll nourish your body with the fat it needs without risking protein poisoning. 

But don’t worry if you have trouble getting all the fat from your meats alone. Add a couple of tablespoons of butter, ghee, or tallow to your meals, and you should have no problem meeting your macronutrient goals

Here’s a rundown of the best cuts of steak, lamb, and pork to choose from, along with animal fats, seafood, and carnivore-friendly cheeses. 

Fatty Cuts of Steak

Beef CutCaloriesFatProteinCarbs% Calories from fat% Calories from protein
Boneless short ribs440411608415
Tri-tip roast340291807721
Beef Back Ribs310261907525
Ribeye310252007326
Porterhouse280222107030
Top Sirloin240162206037
80/20 Ground Beef30719.630.505941
Skirt Steak26516.52705842
Brisket24514.72805446
Flank Steak20083203664

Cuts of Lamb

Lamb CutCaloriesFatProteinCarbs% Calories from Fat% Calories from Carbs
Chop/Rack330223006337
Loin Chop330223006337
Leg29218.729.305941
Shank27614.73205248
Shoulder148622.803763

Carnivore Cuts of Pork

Pork CutCaloriesFat Protein% Calories Fat% Calories Protein
Pork Belly5886010.4927
Baby back ribs31527187723
Pork Hocks28524177624
Shoulder28523197327
Bacon60047.241.97128
Butt24018196832
Leg Ham3052030.45940
Loin26515.530.85346
Chop24112334555
Tenderloin1584302376

Carnivore Diet Animal Fats

Nutrition info per 1 tablespoon

TypeSFA%PUFA %CarbsTotal Fat Notes
Beef Tallow49.83.10g12.8Mild beef flavor

Can be heated

Lard41120g13gMild flavor

Can be heated

Butter503.40g12gMildly Sweet

Lower Heat

Ghee4850g9gMild nutty flavor

Can be heated

Duck Fat25130g13gRich Duck flavor

Can be heated

Heavy Cream624.5g5.4Sweet and rich

Fish 

Nutrition info per 100g

TYPE OF FISHCALORIESFATPROTEINCARBS% CALORIES FROM FAT% CALORIES FROM PROTEIN
Atlantic Mackerel29020.32706337
Farmed Arctic Char208121905842
Anchovies25615.92805644
Farmed Salmon234142505644
Wild King Salmon195132205446
Sardines13981905050

Carnivore Diet Roe and Shellfish

Type of SeafoodCaloriesFatProteinCarbs% Calories from fat% Calories from protein% Calories from carbs
Salmon Caviar (Roe)26014292.945523%
Oysters581.96.53.1293328
Mussels972.813.54.5265619
Shrimp1352.025.81.718784
Dungeness Crab1072.022017820
Lobster1161.825014860
Clams821.1153127315
Scallops971.019397812

Carnivore Diet Cheese

Nutrients Per 100 grams (3.5 oz)Creamy Blue CheeseCream CheeseTriple Cream Brie (Saint Andre)CheddarSwiss CheeseParmesan 
Fat43.335g 42g33g31g28g
Carbs.2g1g0g3g1g4.1g
Protein13.37g10.5g23g27g28g
Fat: Protein Ratio by grams3.25:15:14:11.4:11.1:11:1

5. Eat from 1-3 times a day (1-2 is best)

Most people coming to Carnivore are accustomed to eating at least three meals a day with snacks in between. This constant hunger and feeding cycle is a response to staving off the energy crashes caused by chronically high blood sugar. 

But on a carnivore diet, you’ll be consuming extremely nutrient-dense foods, getting your energy from satiating fats and complete proteins. This means you won’t have blood sugar spikes and troughs.

For most people, 1-2 highly satiating carnivore meals daily is the sweet spot. In this way, the carnivore diet promotes a spontaneous intermittent fasting regimen

This ancestral feasting/fasting cadence allows your body to fully transition from a feeding state into “rest and digest” mode. Doing so supports fat burning, reduces inflammation, and stimulates a therapeutic process of cellular repair called autophagy

6. Eat Until Full, Don’t Count Calories 

Don’t hold back on your carnivore diet meals–don’t worry about portion size, and eat until you’re comfortably full.

Our hyper-carnivorous ancestors abided by a “feasting” and fasting cycle. Meat had to be eaten in the short time that it was fresh. The modern 1-2 meal a day carnivore diet simulates this ancestral fasting and feasting pattern. 

7. Center Meals Around Ruminant Meats

Ruminant meats such as fatty cuts of steak,  lamb, bison, goat, and venison are the centerpiece of a well-formulated carnivore diet. 

The rumen stomach metabolizes the grasses that ruminant animals graze on into nutritious saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids and a minimum of inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acids. 

Ruminant meats also have the most favorable fat-to-protein ratios, along with an abundance and wide array of micronutrients. 

8. Transition Slowly if Needed

If you can, it’s best to “rip off the bandaid” and make the transition from carbs and processed foods to carnivore as soon and completely as possible. You’ll enjoy the simplicity and benefits of the carnivore diet more quickly. 

However, for many people, a slower transition is necessary and supportive. 

Start by eliminating all processed foods, sugars, and grains. Then, give yourself a 1-4-week window to eliminate all carbs and plant foods completely. 

This tapered approach gives the stomach, gallbladder, and liver more time to adapt to metabolizing the significant increase in fat and, to a lesser extent, protein. 

Here’s a breakdown of the physiological changes your body goes through in order to metabolize a meat-based diet.  

  • Your stomach increases acidic from pH 3-5, which is used to break down sugars and grains, to the pH 1.3-2.0 required to metabolize primarily fat and protein. 
  • Your gallbladder upregulates the bile necessary for digesting the increased fat intake
  • The smooth muscle of your gallbladder strengthens in order to process increased fat intake
  • Your liver will increase the storage of bile in its ducts to help digest increased fat intake

During this transition period, you may experience some temporary carnivore diet diarrhea. 

9. Supplement if Needed

The carnivore diet is loaded with nutrients, and there’s no need to supplement with vitamins. However, it may be helpful to support your body with digestive supplements during the transition to a higher-fat diet. 

Ox bile and Betaine HCL supplements can help reduce the discomfort and side effects that can occur as your body upregulates the bile needed to emulsify fats into substances that your intestines can absorb.

Bile and betaine HCL supplements may be especially helpful for people with IBS/IBD.

Electrolyte supplements can also be supportive during the transition to carnivore., As a response to cutting carbs, your body flushes significant electrolyte-rich fluids in the process of unlocking glycogen from your muscles. This fluid accounts for the first 5-25 lbs of weight that people rapidly lose on carnivore. 

Keto Chow is an electrolyte formula created by Carnivore enthusiast Dr. Ken Berry. It’s strictly focused on supporting low-carb eaters with essential minerals like copper, magnesium, chromium, zinc, boron, and selenium, in addition to sodium. And it’s without sugar or flavorings. 

10. Salt Your Meat

Another way to replenish your electrolytes and keep them balanced is by liberally salting your meat

The general consensus among carnivore diet enthusiasts is to consume 12 grams (2 tsp) of salt daily in the first few days of transitioning to carnivore. 

Once you feel like you’re thoroughly adapted to this no-carb lifestyle, consume at least 5 grams (about 1 tsp) of salt daily.

11. Drink plenty of water

You’ll be flushing liquid, so it’s important to replace it. Focus on still or sparkling water. 

You can also drink black coffee or tea. Some carnivore dieters consider these off-limits, but Dr. Berry and Dr. Kiltz are fine with them. 

Eating nose-to-tail by including organ meats and unconventional meats mirrors the way our ancestors ate animals

Nose to tail provides the greatest nutrient density. And it helps us to be the best shepherds we can for animals and our planet. By not wasting any parts, we’re honoring the life of the animal. 

12. If You Slip, Get Back up

Cheat, treat, or just slip up. There will be times when you simply eat things that are not on the strict carnivore diet meal plan.

Tell guilt and shame to relax. And bring your thoughts back to your goals and your gains so far. Dust yourself off and sizzle up a juicy ribeye slathered with blue cheese. 

Junk food brain health and unhealthy nutrition choices for mental function as a human thinking organ being hit by a cheeseburger sugar soft dring fried chicken and cake with 3D illustration elements.

What are the Effects of Sugar on the Brain?

Most people know about the adverse effects of high-sugar diets on physical health, such as obesity, diabetes, premature aging, heart disease, and various inflammatory diseases. But the effects of sugar on the brain are only beginning to receive the attention they deserve.

In this article, we’ll explore the ways that excessive sugar consumption can be harmful to brain health, and how these effects can show up as issues like impaired memory, mood disorders, sugar addiction, and dementia. 

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The Role of Sugar in the Brain

All carbohydrates from table sugar to grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables, get broken down into glucose, AKA blood sugar. 

Your brain is an energy-hungry machine and uses 20% of the glucose in your blood to feed its cells.

However, your body can make all the glucose it needs from protein without you having to consume any carbohydrates whatsoever. 

In fact, only fat and protein are essential nutrients. In nutritional jargon, “essential” has specifically means that you need to consume them from food in order to survive. 

The U.S. Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, states,  “The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed.”

Yet, when consuming a Standard American Diet (SAD) loaded with grains and added sugars, you’re getting over 250 grams of carbohydrates per day. With 82 grams coming directly from added sugars, and nearly all of the rest coming from grains and starches.

Keep in mind that the human body evolved over 2.5 million years of evolution on a hypercarnivorous diet of mostly fatty meat. There was no such thing as processed sugar, fruit was only sporadically available, and nothing like the ultra-sweet Frankenfruits created by industrial agriculture, and cultivated grains, legumes, and tubers didn’t exist. 

Simply put, no part of our bodies is made to handle all this excess sugar, including our brain. And since our brain is the control center of our bodies, the effects of sugar on the brain can have a devastating impact on our health and well-being in various ways. 

Let’s turn to these specific effects of sugar on the brain now.

Sugar Addiction 

Sugar has been found to reinforce neural pathways associated with addiction and to drive addictive sugar cravings and behavior.

This makes sense when considering that early humans would seldom come upon sources of sugar like ripe fruit and honey. When they did, the brain compelled them to eat as much as possible. 

The body responded to this torrent of glucose by secreting insulin which turned the sugar into body fat that could be broken down for energy in leaner times. Insulin also triggers hormones and neurochemicals that both increase hunger and heighten the pleasure of sweet tastes.

This process was meant to be temporary and intermittent. But in our modern food system, sugar is easily available so the addictive system never turns off. 

A 2013 study by Harvard researcher David Ludwig found that people who consumed simple carbohydrates had significant activation of opiate and dopamine receptors in the craving and reward center of the brain.

Repeatedly stimulating the reward center of your brain with simple carbs has been found to create a higher set point of your body fat levels. Once you increase body fat levels from excess sugar, your body undergoes hormonal changes in an attempt to preserve the fat.

A 2013 study on rats found that the rewards experienced by the brain after consuming sugar are even “more rewarding and attractive” than the effects of cocaine.

Another animal study at Connecticut College showed that Oreo cookies activate more neurons in the brain’s pleasure center than cocaine!  And in case you’re wondering, just like humans, the rats ate the filling first.

The ability of sugar to create superior and often irresistible neurological reward signals that override self-control mechanisms is a leading cause of overconsumption of sugar that leads to obesity and various other metabolic diseases.

Impaired Memory and Cognitive Ability

Sugar consumption has been linked to changes in gut bacteria, inflammation in the brain, and damaged nerve and glial cells which all contribute to various cognitive impairments. 

A 2016 study on rats found inflammatory markers in the hippocampus that negatively impacted memory of rats fed a high-sugar diet.

A 2021 study found that daily intake of sugar-sweetened beverages during teenage years is associated with decreased learning abilities and poorer memory in adulthood. The researchers linked these impairments to altered gut bacteria.

The good news, however, is this inflammatory damage from sugar may not be permanent.

A 2017 study in the journal Appetite found that the memory damage caused by sugar consumption can be reversed by following a low-sugar, low-GI diet.

Alzheimer’s Disease

That temporary ‘sugar high’ that many of us get addicted to may actually be a stress response to dangerously high blood sugar levels.

Various studies link chronically high blood sugar to Alzheimer’s disease to the point where many researchers have taken to calling Alzheimer’s “type 3 diabetes.”

A 2015 review of various studies on the impact of insulin resistance on cognitive decline found that diabetes and Alzheimer’s overlap by around 80%.

One link between sugar and Alzheimer’s has to do with how excessive insulin can damage the hippocampus, an area of the brain where early signs of Alzheimer’s often show up.

Diets high in added sugar have also been found to reduce the production of a hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).5 BDNF is critical to the creation of new neural networks that facilitate memory formation and learning.

A 2019 review of 15 studies found that lower levels of BDNF are linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Brain Shrinkage and Vascular Dementia

High sugar consumption has been found to cause impaired glucose metabolism and abnormal insulin function in the brain, which contribute to brain shrinkage and restricted blood flow to the brain. These effects can lead to vascular dementia.

Dopamine Imbalance and Psychological Disorders 

High sugar consumption has been found to have negative impacts on mood.

A 2017 study looking at the effects of consuming sweet food and beverages on 23,245 participants found a 23% increase in risk of being diagnosed with common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety after five years. These findings were independent of exercise, socio-demographic factors, other dietary factors, body fat levels, and other diseases. 

The study authors concluded, “Our research confirms an adverse effect of sugar intake from sweet food/beverage on long-term psychological health.”

A 2023 study on obese individuals found that higher total sugar consumption was significantly associated with an increased risk of depressive symptoms that required clinical treatment.

Researchers revealed similar findings in a controlled animal study where a diet high in refined carbs was shown to result in anxiety and depressive-like behaviors after the animals were stressed.

One of the factors in the negative impact of sugar on mood and psychological health may have to do with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter with significant impacts on mood, behavior, learning, and memory. 

Studies have found that consuming a chronically high-sugar diet can affect both the gene expression and availability of dopamine receptors in certain areas of the brain.

The good news is that dramatically reducing carbohydrates can have profoundly beneficial effects on mental health, even for people with medicated psychiatric disorders. 

A bellwether 2022 controlled feeding study looking at the effects of a very low-carb ketogenic diet on 31 psychiatric inpatients who were not being helped by standard treatment methods such as medication and therapy found

  • The 28 patients who made it past day 6 ate a keto diet for between 14 and 248 days
  • All patients experienced significant and substantial improvements in depression and psychosis symptoms and multiple markers of metabolic health.
  • 100% of participants had improved symptoms
  • 96% of patients lost weight
  • 64% of patients reduced or discontinued medication
  • 43% achieved clinical remission

diagram summarizing benefits of ketogenic diet for bipolar

Similar findings were revealed in a 2020 study conducted by researchers at Harvard University. Examining data from over 2,000 people who ate an essentially zero-carb keto-carnivore diet for at least six months found that 96% of participants improved or resolved psychiatric symptoms.

How to Protect Your Brain from Excess Sugar

Woman hands holding human brain shape made from paper on light blue background. Awareness of Alzheimer, Parkinson's disease, dementia, stroke, seizure or mental health. Neurology and Psychology care.

The key to protecting your brain from the negative effects of sugar is to take steps to reduce sugar intake. But since sugar is addictive for most people, you have to implement strategies and behaviors that don’t focus on willpower alone. 

  • Discard all sugar in your house: Scour your fridge, freezer, and pantry, and get rid of all carb-heavy foods. 
  • Practice mindful eating: Take note of your emotional and environmental triggers. Ask your self-judgment to relax and make some space. By bringing awareness to the link between craving and behavior, you break the automatic response circuit and create the potential for healthier choices. 
  • Adopt a Ketogenic or Carnivore Diet. These high-fat, low-to-no-carb diets realign your metabolism with the whole foods humans evolved to thrive on. Your body undergoes significant metabolic changes that reduce inflammation and rebalance hormones in the brain. Numerous studies have found that a ketogenic diet can be beneficial for various brain conditions, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Carnivore enthusiasts such as Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson, and Mikhaila Peterson have expressed the profoundly positive impacts of the carnivore diet on their mental health challenges
  • Game plan: Before going into situations like birthdays and sporting events where high-carb foods are the norm, load up on healthy fat and protein-rich superfoods like red meat and eggs
  • Consistent physical movement: Being more physically active has been found to stimulate the release of happy chemicals like endorphins and dopamine that can fill the void that you’d otherwise plug with sugary foods.  Walking, cycling, yoga, and swimming are all fantastic low-impact ways to achieve a natural high. 

Effects of Sugar on the Brain: The Bottom Line

The human body and brain evolved over millions of years on a diet of very low-carb animal-based foods. Yet, our modern food systems are based on high-carbohydrate grains and added sugars. The chronic overconsumption of sugar has profoundly negative impacts on the brain.

The negative effects of sugar on the brain include overstimulation of reward centers, leading to addictive consumption of high-sugar foods, resulting in obesity, inflammation, mood disorders, impaired learning and memory, and neurodegenerative disorders. 

To reverse and resolve the various neurological, psychological, and physiological ailments caused by excess sugar intake, it is appropriate to treat sugar like the addictive substance that it is. Eliminate easy access to sugary foods in your home and adopt a lower carbohydrate lifestyle.

Close up of raw meat steak seasoned with kosher salt on wooden table

Carnivore Diet Salt: Benefits and Best Brands

The carnivore diet is an ancestral way of eating. This means that it realigns our modern dietary patterns with the foods and eating habits that most closely resemble those that our ancestors evolved on. The belief is that since the human body and brain evolved on a hypercarnivorous diet of mostly fatty meat, we are adapted to thrive on this fuel source. Indeed, low-carb, high-fat meat-based ketogenic diets have been shown to offer numerous health benefits, including weight loss, improved cholesterol, reduced inflammation, reversal of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, sustained energy, and improved mental health. Yet, for many carnivore dieters, there remains the question as to whether salt is necessary on the carnivore diet, if so how much, and what kind. 

In this article, we’ll explore the question of salt on the carnivore diet from an evolutionary and practical view, including the health benefits and risks of salt, the carnivore foods that naturally provide salt (and other electrolytes), and the best brands of salt to choose from if you decide to season your foods. 

Is Salt an Ancestral Food?

The question of salt being an ancestral food is surprisingly complex. On the one hand, the electrolytes sodium and chloride, which make up 40% and 60% of table salt, are essential. Essential in nutritional terms means that humans need to consume them to survive.

Our bodies need at least 500 mg of sodium per day, and between 2 and 3 grams of chloride.

Yet researchers MacGregor and de Wardner, in their book Salt, Diet, and Health, cite evidence suggesting that for 2.6 million years, our ancestors didn’t add salt to their diets. And that humans only began regularly salting their food around 5,000 years ago. 

During this vast period of evolution, during which the human species defined itself from our primate ancestors in large part by eating mostly meat, humans got their sodium and chloride directly from the foods they ate. In turn, we developed mechanisms for conserving salt in the body.

The conclusion from these researchers was that our ancestors consumed relatively little salt–around 700 milligrams per day. But that only accounts for the sodium in muscle meat from select land animals. 

Meat for our hypercarnivorous cavemen ancestors meant muscle, organs, viscera, skin, marrow, and blood, not to mention various aquatic creatures. Taken together, these foods provide an abundance of sodium and chloride. 

Dr. James DiNicolantonio in his book “The Salt Fix: Why the Experts Got it All Wrong and How Eating More Might Save Your Life” found that “For example, muscle contains approximately 1,150 milligrams of sodium per kilogram. Australian Aborigines would eat 2 to 3 kilograms of meat per sitting during a kill. This is equal to 3,450 milligrams of sodium per day, the exact amount of sodium that current-day Americans consume (when they’re not straining to achieve the low-salt guidelines, that is!).”

At the same time, raw and unprocessed fish and meat can contain up to 4 mg of chloride per gram or 1814 mg per lb (4g per kg).

So does the fact that our carnivorous ancestors exceeded the modern recommended intake of sodium and chloride mean that salt is an ancestral food? No., But it does tell us that our ancestors likely evolved by consuming what today would be considered robust salt intake. 

Consuming sodium and chloride is ancestral. Getting it from added salt may not be, but does that make it a bad thing? Also no. Salt can provide numerous benefits on carnivore and there’s really no reason to leave it out. 

Of course, like all things carnivore, it’s a good idea to experiment with salt on the carnivore diet to hone in on the specific needs of your body. 

Isabella Ma, known on YouTube as Steak and Butter Girl, shares her experience with and without salt on carnivore. But just a brief glimpse of the comments reveals many people who found the opposite to be true for them. 

Is Salt Healthy? 

Though the WHO recommends limiting salt to 5 grams per day (2.3 grams of sodium, 2.7 grams of chloride), numerous studies have found no reason to limit salt intake.

A 2011 article in Scientific American titled It’s Time to End the War on Salt cited a large-scale meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Hypertension involving 6,250 subjects. The researchers found “no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure.”

Among the various studies reviewed was a 2006 study that looked at the links between the daily sodium intakes of 78 million Americans and their risk of dying from heart disease over a period of 14 years. Researchers found that the more sodium people ate, the less likely they were to die from heart disease.

When you consume less than 6 grams of salt per day, your body undergoes a sequence of potentially problematic hormonal reactions: 

  • The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAAS) hormone system is stimulated
  • In the short term, these hormones attempt to balance your blood pressure
  • In the long term, stimulation of the RAAS can increase the risk of chronic inflammation, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, heart disease, and cognitive decline.

Not to mention the sodium and chloride in salt are critical to numerous bodily functions, including: 

  • Maintaining fluid balances within and around cells
  • Maintaining proper blood pressure
  • Factors in proper muscle contraction (including our heart muscles)
  • Helps nerves send signals throughout your body

Benefits of Salt on the Carnivore Diet

In the early stages of carnivore, your body undergoes a transition from high carbohydrate intake to almost zero carbs. This switches your body into a metabolic state called ketosis where your body metabolizes stored carbohydrates in your muscles called glycogen. In order for this to occur, your body reduces insulin. 

Reduced insulin triggers your kidneys to release sodium. At the same time, glycogen is “packaged” with water molecules that are “flushed” from your body via urine when the glycogen is released. 

The combination of flushing of fluids containing sodium and reduced sodium levels in your blood can disrupt the balance of various other electrolytes in your body. 

Though ketosis and the various metabolic changes associated with reducing carbs and increasing your intake of fatty whole animal products is remarkably beneficial, it is important to support your body by replacing the lost sodium with added salt. 

How to Get Enough Salt on the Carnivore Diet

To ensure that you’re getting enough salt to rebalance your electrolytes during the transition to carnivore, the consensus among doctors familiar with carnivore is to consume 12 grams (2 tsp) of salt daily in the first few days of carnivore. 

Once your body is adapted to carnivore consume at least 5 grams (about 1 tsp) of salt daily to avoid side effects like headaches, fatigue, and constipation.

What are the Best Salts for the Carnivore Diet?

The best salts for carnivore will be those that are least processed. 

It’s worth noting that lately, there’s been much debate about toxins in salt, including pink Himalayan salt and sea salt, which you can read more about here. 

For now, here’s a rundown of Dr. Kiltz’s top recommendations. 

1. Redmonds Salt

Mined in Utah since 1958, Remonds Real Salt comes from an ancient seabed protected from modern pollution. The salt is completely unrefined and is the only American pink and black salt.

Unlike salt mined in developing countries, Redmonds ensures ethical labor standards, and sustainable practices. It also boasts a unique sweet-salt flavor. 

bag of redmonds real salt

2. Maldon Salt

Pure and natural with zero additives, Maldon salts have been produced in Essex, England, with the same traditional artisanal methods since 1882. It also has a delightful pyramid shape and flaky texture that releases a wonderfully delicate flavor. 

maldon salt box

Carnivore Electrolytes with Sodium and Chloride

In addition to these natural salts, some carnivore dieters seek to increase their sodium and chloride along with other essential electrolytes including potassium and magnesium

Fasting Salts delivers sodium, potassium, and magnesium, and nothing else. With no flavorings or additives, this is a solid solution to boost electrolytes on carnivore. But use caution. The abundance of potassium can cause heart problems if you use more than directed. 

image of bag containing fasting salts

Keto Chow is another electrolyte formula created by Carnivore enthusiast Dr. Ken Berry

It’s less concentrated than fasting salts, and provides a wider variety of trace minerals. Use by adding a few drops to your water or even directly to your meals.  

bottle of keto chow

Salt on the Carnivore Diet: The Bottom Line

Adding salt to a carnivore diet is a topic of debate. On the one hand, our paleolithic ancestors didn’t salt their meals; instead, they got all the sodium and chloride they needed from the animal products they consumed. However, salt is a healthy way to boost your intake of these essential electrolytes. And recent studies show that previous links between salt and heart attacks were unfounded. In fact, salt on the carnivore diet may be a mutually supportive combination, especially during the transition from a standard diet during which your body undergoes changes that reduce sodium levels that will need to be replenished.

The electrolyte tablet is dissolved in water. Oral rehydration salts for athletes

Electrolytes For Fasting: Needs, Benefits, and Best Supplements

Fasting for prolonged and intermittent periods has gained widespread popularity for its powerful health benefits ranging from weight loss to cellular repair and renewal. However, as we embrace fasting as part of our lifestyle routine, it is important to understand the impact on our body’s electrolyte balance. For many people, supplementing with specific electrolytes for fasting is a critical part of their practice. 

In this article, we’ll outline the fasting-specific processes your body goes through that impact electrolyte balance. And we’ll offer a rundown of the best electrolyte supplements for fasting. 

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Why People Consume Electrolytes for Fasting

During prolonged and intermittent fasting, our bodies undergo various physiological processes that impact our electrolyte balance. 

Most of the electrolyte loss when fasting occurs in the early stages and tapers off during prolonged fasts. 

Research has found that after initial rapid potassium loss, excretion of potassium tapers to a steady 10 to 15 mEq/day. 

Sodium follows a similar spike and taper pattern, where the body excretes between 1 and 15 mEq/day during prolonged fasts.

Here’s a rundown of these processes to highlight the importance of electrolyte supplementation in supporting your overall health during fasting:

Glycogen Depletion

When you stop eating carbohydrates, your body accesses and metabolizes a type of carbohydrate stored in your muscles called glycogen. 

Glycogen molecules are stored alongside water. As this water is released through urine, electrolytes get flushed along with it. 

Ketone Production

Fasting compels the body to metabolize body fat into powerful and beneficial energy molecules called ketones. 

In particular, the prevalent ketone beta-hydroxybutyrate has diuretic effects, leading to increased urine that further flushes electrolytes.

Reduced Insulin

With less sugar in your blood, your body reduces insulin, leading your kidneys to excrete sodium, an essential electrolyte. 

Protein Catabolism

During prolonged fasting, the body tends to break down protein for energy. This releases amino acids such as glutamine, which can affect electrolyte balances in the body. 

Autophagy

Fasting promotes a process of cellular repair and renewal called autophagy, a cellular process that involves the removal of damaged or dysfunctional cellular components.

Studies have found that autophagy can cause electrolyte imbalances, especially low potassium.

Physical Activity

Most people who practice fasting also practice various forms of intentional movement and exercise. 

If you’re active enough to sweat, your body releases electrolytes. Without consuming food, you’ll need to replenish your electrolytes with salt and other non-caloric supplements. 

Role of Electrolytes While Fasting 

Now that you know how fasting can deplete electrolytes, let’s briefly explore why electrolytes are so important to restore. 

Sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, and phosphate are essential electrolytes. “Essential” in nutritional terms means that you need to consume them in order to survive. 

Your body relies on electrolytes as a key part of critical physiological functions, including  

  • Maintaining vital fluid balances within and around cells
  • Maintaining healthy blood pressure
  • Maintaining proper acidity of your blood (pH)
  • A key factor in muscle contraction–necessary to keep your heart beating!
  • Ensure hydration and proper water retention
  • Help nerves send signals throughout your body

What Happens If You Don’t Have Enough Electrolytes?

In the short term, electrolyte deficiencies while fasting can show up as uncomfortable, scary, and progressively dangerous and even deadly symptoms, including

  • muscle cramps
  • heart palpitations
  • shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Numbness and tingling
  • constipation
  • confusion and dizziness
  • coma

In the long term, electrolyte deficiencies can cause stimulation of a hormone signaling system called renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAAS). This can increase the risk of 

Benefits of Electrolytes While Fasting and Intermittent Fasting 

When considering how physiological processes while fasting can deplete electrolytes and how critical electrolytes are to health, it’s no surprise that taking electrolytes while fasting can yield various health benefits, including 

  • Proper hydration
  • Stable mood
  • Stable energy levels, reduced fatigue
  • Reduces muscle cramping
  • Reduces diarrhea associated with fasting and ketosis
  • Reduces nausea associated with fasting and ketosis
  • Reduces muscle cramps
  • Supports physical performance
  • Supports heart health
  • Supports sleep

Best Electrolytes For Fasting 

When most people think of electrolytes they think of sports drinks. But sports drinks are often sugary and have calories, making them a no-go when fasting. 

Fortunately, with the popularity of fasting and low-carb diets over the last decades, there are a number of high-quality electrolyte supplements specifically formulated to support the body when fasting and in ketosis. 

Create Your Own 

Creating your own bespoke fasting electrolyte supplement can help you dial in the ratios to support your fasting experience hour-by-hour. 

Here’s a standard formulation to begin with: 

  • 400mg of magnesium citrate
  • 1-3 99mg potassium citrate supplements. Taking more potassium than this runs the risk of heart failure. Be careful! 
  • Add 1 tsp of sea salt to your water throughout the day

Fasting Salts: Pure Unflavoured Electrolyte Powder

image of bag containing fasting salts

Fasting Salts provide sodium, potassium, and magnesium, and nothing else! No flavorings and no additives. 

Pure and unflavoured, these mineral salts are formulated specifically to replenish your electrolyte levels during a water fast

It’s important to note that these are very potent salts and should be used cautiously. 

nutrition table for fasting salts

 

Keto Chow

bottle of keto chow

Keto Chow is an electrolyte formula created by Carnivore enthusiast Dr. Ken Berry

The Keto Chow formula is strictly focused on providing essential minerals like copper, magnesium, chromium, zinc, boron, and selenium, in addition to sodium, 

list of mineral for keto chow

Hi-Lyte Electrolyte Mineral Powder–Natural Flavor

jar of fasting mineral salts

Hi-Lyte Keto K1000 electrolyte powder is a high-potassium supplement designed to help with hydration, increase cellular energy, and reduce side effects associated with intermittent fasting and ketosis, such as nausea, headache, and brain fog. 

With 1,000mg of potassium, this trace mineral blend is tailor-made for keto and intermittent fasting enthusiasts. Simply mix one scoop into 16 oz of water. 

With such high potassium, you need to avoid exceeding one serving every four hours or three servings a day.

For people who are new to Hi-Lyte it’s best to begin with half a serving to ensure tolerance. 

nutrients in electrolyte supplement

Dr. Bergs Electrolyte Powder

jar of electrolyte powder

Dr. Berg is another keto enthusiast who developed his own electrolyte powder. 

His formulation offers a blend of calcium, magnesium, and chloride from pink Himalayan salt, as opposed to cheap table salt that other brands may use. He also includes a proprietary trace mineral complex. 

Each serving provides 1,000 mg of potassium–a very high, and potentially dangerous amount if you’re not careful. 

table of nutrients for fasting electrolyte supplement

Electrolytes For Fasting: The Bottom Line

When fasting your body undergoes various physiological processes that can deplete electrolytes. Without consuming food, there’s no way of replenishing these essential nutrients without a non-caloric supplement. 

Many people can do fine intermittent fasting without supplementing with electrolytes. But on prolonged fasts, you may need to replenish sodium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium in order to maintain vital physiological functions, reduce the likelihood of headaches, maintain energy levels, support your immune system, and stay hydrated.

Bulletproof coffee in white ceramic cup blended with butter, coconut oil and coffee beans. paleo, ketogenic drink breakfast. flat lay

What is The Bulletproof Diet: How to, Benefits, and Drawbacks

The Bulletproof Diet deems itself a comprehensive approach to a low-carb ketogenic lifestyle supported by coffee blended with collagen, butter, and MCTs, and supported by proprietary superfood supplements like MCT-rich “Brain Octane” coconut oil, collagen powders and bars, and vitamin supplements. 

The Bulletproof approach to keto was developed by biohacker and entrepreneur Dave Asprey. It is based on the principles of 

  • viewing food as fuel
  • getting the majority of your calories from high-quality fats
  • eliminating specific plant foods and processed foods
  • practicing intermittent fasting methods

In this article, we’ll explore the origins, rules, benefits, and drawbacks of the Bulletproof diet. 

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Dave Asprey and the Origins of the Bulletproof Diet

Dave Asprey considers himself “Chief Evangelist Officer” of the Bulletproof diet. Until 2019, Asprey was also the CEO of the company called Bulletproof 360, which produces Bulletproof products. 

Dave started out as a financially successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur. But his success with health didn’t come as easily. In his twenties, Dave weighed 300 lbs even though he restricted calories, ate a plant-based diet, and exercised for over an hour six days a week. He was even a vegan for six months in the early 2000s. 

As his health deteriorated, so did his ability to think clearly. Beset by debilitating brain fog, lethargy, and overwhelming food cravings, Dave decided to invest in himself. Over fifteen years, Dave spent $300,000 on a quest to biohack his way out of what seemed like an intractable physical and mental health crisis. 

Combining traditional medicine and wisdom practices with cutting-edge Western technologies for testing the health of the brain and nervous system, and assessing inflammatory markers, Dave healed his body and brain. The protocol he discovered became the Bulletproof diet. 

The Bulletproof diet is aimed at helping people

  • lose excess body fat quickly
  • reduce inflammation
  • build lean muscle
  • boost mental clarity and IQ
  • achieve high levels of sustained physical energy

Bulletproof Diet Roadmap

The core of the Bulletproof diet is dramatically cutting carbs and increasing high quality fats. This makes it a ketogenic diet. 

The Bulletproof diet gets more specific than standard keto by emphasizing fat from grass-fed butter and ghee, and from purified coconut oil that is high in MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides). 

When you consume around 70% of your calories from fat, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis, where your metabolism turns body fat and dietary fat into an abundance of powerful energy molecules called ketones. 

Ketogenic diets have been studied extensively since the early 2000s and have been found to yield various health benefits, including

  • Significant and sustained weight loss
  • Neurological and mental health disorders such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s depression, and bipolar personality disorder
  • Supports the treatment of various cancers
  • Reverses metabolic syndrome
  • Reduces severity of type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Reduces insulin resistance 
  • Improves blood lipid levels
  • Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease

To achieve these results, the Bulletproof diet provides the following roadmap. 

1. Eliminate Added Sugar and Most Dietary Carbohydrates

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is loaded with added sugar and high-carb foods, including grains, starchy vegetables, and cultivated fruits

Chronic consumption of high-carb foods is linked to :

On the Bulletproof diet, you reduce carbs to a maximum of around 10% of your daily caloric intake. This entails eliminating all added sugars, including honey and maple syrup. It also requires cutting grains, legumes, and most fruits. 

diagram of how sugar consumption causes inflammation

“Excessive consumption of dietary sugars is closely related to the occurrence and development of inflammation.”

diagram of how sugar negatively impacts gut health

“Regulation of the gut microbiome by dietary sugars. Excessive consumption of dietary sugars reduces the production of short-chain fatty acids in the gut, which can lead to impaired gut barriers. This results in a rapid increase in infiltration of neutrophils while accelerating the transfer of Parabacteroides, ie, lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The binding of LPS to TOLL-like receptor 4 (TLR4) activates the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling pathway, and finally induces the production of inflammatory factors IL-6, IL-1β and TNF-α. On the other hand, the excessive dietary sugar content makes Bacillus fragilis and Prevotella abundant, thereby destroying the intestinal mucosa. In the meanwhile, the relative abundance of sugar-soluble bacteria Sutterellaceae increased while the abundance of Lachnospiraceae and Lactobacillaceae, which belonged to Firmicutes, decreased, eventually increasing the levels of inflammatory cytokines IL-6, TNF-a, Lcn2 and Cox2. Increased neutrophil infiltration and inflammatory factor production aggravate the occurrence and development of IBD.”

Images source: Ma X, Nan F, Liang H, et al. Excessive intake of sugar: An accomplice of inflammation. Front Immunol. 2022;13:988481. Published 2022 Aug 31. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2022.988481

2. Increase Healthy Fats

Like all low-carb, high-fat diets, Bulletproof emphasizes healthy fats as the primary source of energy. 

Bulletproof markets its own brand of grass-fed ghee and MCT oils. They also recommend grass fed butter, and getting fat from fatty cuts of grass-fed and pasture raised meats. 

Since fat accounts for 70% of calories on keto, quality sources must be prioritized. MCTs have the added benefit of helping the body enter ketosis more quickly and may improve mood during the transition into ketosis.

Basing a diet around quality fats provides sustained, stable energy, supports mental clarity, helps repair the gut, and balances key hormones like insulin and leptin, contributing to overall metabolic health. 

3. Choose Grass-Fed, Pasture Raised, and Wild Caught Meat

Meat from Grass-fed, pasture-raised, and wild-caught animals ensures that they will have the highest nutrient content, most optimal fatty-acid profiles, and be free from antibiotics. 

4. Eliminate Grains, Beans, and Legumes

Most people know that grains, beans, and other legumes are high in carbs, which means they’re off-limits on low-carb diets. 

But most people don’t realize that they’re also high in naturally occurring plant toxins and anti-nutrients that can damage the gut lining, cause systemic inflation, and reduce nutrient absorption.

Common antinutrients in grains and legumes include

Common grains to eliminate include

  • Wheat
  • Oats
  • Barely
  • Corn

5. Select Full-Fat Dairy Products

Milk and other reduced-fat dairy products are high in carbs. So it’s important to choose full-fat and “creamy” dairy options like ripened cheeses and whipping cream.

The Bulletproof diet also calls attention to the type of dairy protein people consume. Most cow milk products are A1 dairy, meaning they contain a dairy protein called beta-casomorphin-7 (casein). 

Casein has been connected with various diseases and disorders, such as type 1 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, autism (in people with immune deficiencies), schizophrenia (in people with immune deficiencies), sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), apnea, and constipation.

Though the causal links between A1 dairy and these conditions are still being explored, you can avoid these potential drawbacks by choosing A2 dairy from specific breeds of cows and from all goat and sheep milk products. 

The Bulletproof diet also recommends raw dairy based on its links to reducing allergies while improving digestion and immune function.

6. Add Fat to Your Coffee

Most people come to the Bulletproof Diet after hearing about “Bulletproof Coffee.” 

Bulletproof coffee is a combination of high-quality coffee certified to be free of mycotoxins, grass-fed butter, and MCT oil. 

7. Avoid Industrial and Natural Toxins

Our modern environments and the foods produced within them are rife with toxic substances. Some of these come from pesticides and industrial waste. While many other toxins are naturally occurring in plant foods. 

To avoid toxins, the Bulletproof diet emphasizes choosing organic produce and opting for grass-fed and organic animal products. 

Additionally, the Bulletproof diet urges people to be selective about the types of plant foods they consume. In addition to eliminating grains and legumes, it is important to consider sensitivities to nightshades and even leafy greens high in oxalates. 

8. Practice Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting means restricting when you eat to specific time windows on a daily basis. 

Most people starting out with intermittent fasting begin with a simple 16:8 Time Restricted Eating plan. This entails consuming all daily calories within an 8-hour window, and during daylight hours

After getting accustomed to intermittent fasting, people often decrease eating windows until they arrive at OMAD (one meal a day), where you consume all your calories in a single nutrient-dense meal. 

Intermittent fasting has been linked to numerous health benefits, including

  • Reduced body fat and weight loss
  • regulation of blood sugar
  • improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • reduced risk of coronary disease
  • Activation autophagy–a critical process of cellular repair 
  • stimulation of human growth hormones
  • Stimulation of brain-boosting hormone BDNF
  • activation of stem cell production
  • reduced risk of cancer
  • mindful eating

9. High-Quality Supplements

The Bulletproof diet is based on high-quality, nutrient-dense whole foods, which should meet the nutrition needs of most people. 

That said, Bulletproof is, first and foremost, a brand offering various Bulletproof brand supplements that can support the health and lifestyle goals of bulletproof dieters. Here’s a rundown

Bulletproof founder Dave Asprey is known for his obsession with supplementation, evident in his admission that when travelling he takes 84 supplements! 

Where the Bulletproof Diet Falls Short

Though there is a lot to like about the Bulletproof diet from a diet and lifestyle standpoint, there are a few areas that could be improved. 

Unlike many of the early pioneers in low-carb, high-fat eating, Dave Asprey warned against the presence and detriments of plant toxins. But this issue could use more emphasis and adjustments. 

Dr. Kiltz recommends an all-meat  carnivore that essentially eliminates all plant foods. Dr. Kiltz’s own BEBBIIS diet may be more beneficial than high-fat, low-carb alternatives. 

Another area where the Bulletproof diet falls a bit short is by not fully emphasizing the importance of animal-based foods. Yes, there is a focus on choosing quality meats, but a well-formulated, low-carb, high-fat diet is mostly meat, and this should be stated from the outset. 

It’s likely that because Bulletproof is a global brand with products on the shelves of mainstream outlets like Target and Costco, the marketers are trying to appeal to a population that is saturated in plant-based dogma. 

So, we’ll take it upon ourselves to affirm that animal-based products are far superior to plant foods when it comes to the variety, density, and quality of nearly every essential and vital nutrient our bodies need to thrive. 

There is no nutritional need for plant foods, and likely a net benefit by eliminating them. 

Nutrient Dense Foods list

The Bulletproof Diet: The Bottom Line

The Bulletproof diet is an approach to high-fat, low-carb keto eating. It was developed by Silicon Valley entrepreneur turned biohacker and health guru Dave Asprey. 

The Bulletproof way of eating entails cutting sugar, carbs, and plant toxins, fueling up on high-quality fats from grass-fed animal sources and refined coconut oil, and supplementing with various low-carb products like collagen powders, MCT oils, and toxin-free coffee spiked with butter and coconut oil. 

Following this way of eating can help people lose weight, achieve sustained energy, boost mental clarity, reduce inflammation, and resensitize hormones critical to overall metabolic health.

Khonkaen,Thailand-June 1,2018:Farmer ้harvest cassava in farmland before rainy season.

Cyanogenic Glycosides: What You Need to Know about this Plant Toxin

Most people think of plants as benevolent health foods. But the truth is that plants are living organisms that want nothing more than to survive and proliferate. Since plants can’t run, strike, scratch, or bite, they have evolved complex chemical defenses. Cyanogenic glycosides are one of these naturally occurring toxins that protect plants against predators, including us humans. 

When consumed, cyanogenic glycosides can become cyanide in the human body. Cyanide exposure can lead to chronic and acute poisoning, growth retardation, and neurological disorders.

In this article, we’ll explore this natural mechanism of biological warfare and its health consequences for those who dare to indulge in them. 

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What are Cyanogenic Glycosides

Cyanogenic glycosides (CG) are a class of phytotoxins, which are naturally occurring pesticides. CGs are found in over 2,000 species of plants, many of which are common staple foods such as cassava, sorghum, stone fruits (peaches, cherries, etc.), bamboo, and almonds.

When humans consume foods high in cyanogenic glycosides, they degrade into a highly toxic compound called hydrogen cyanide (HCN).  

The human body can process and expel low levels of cyanide, but higher doses can block cellular respiration, suffocate mitochondria, and even be fatal. While chronic exposure to low levels of cyanide can result in cumulative nerve and tissue damage

The detrimental effects of cyanogenic glycosides are most common in poorer tropical countries where crops like cassava and bamboo are less likely to be correctly processed. Exposure to plant cyanide combined with nutrient-deficient diets results in widespread neurological diseases like konzo and other conditions that cause paralysis.

Detrimental Effects from Cyanogenic Glycosides

Cyanide danger sign. Chemical warning signs and symbols.

The effects of consuming plants containing cyanogenic glycosides can be detrimental. Here’s a rundown of what can happen and why. 

Cyanide Poisoning

Cyanogenic glycosides can become hydrogen cyanide (HCN) when combined with digestive enzymes such as beta-glucosidase. Cyanide interferes with cellular respiration. This means that it prevents cells from using oxygen, leading to serious health issues, including rapid respiration and, ultimately, respiratory failure. 

Acute Toxicity

Ingesting high amounts of foods containing cyanogenic glycosides can lead to acute cyanide poisoning. 

Symptoms of acute toxicity may include

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Twitching
  • Convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Terminal coma

Chronic Cyongenic Glycoside Exposure

Repeated exposure to lower levels of CG from regularly consuming plant foods with cyanogenic glycosides may have cumulative toxic effects.

Chronic CG exposure is linked to various health issues, including

  • Neurological disorders
  • Malnutrition
  • Developmental malformations
  • Goiter
  • Swollen thyroid glands

These issues are recorded in communities in Africa where CG intake was greater than 10–50 mg/kg food.

CG Toxicity is Variable

Different plant species have different levels of CG. Even within species, different varieties can be more or less toxic, making it difficult to know what foods are safe, especially for vulnerable populations. 

Other factors like the maturity of the plants, processing, and cooking methods have a significant influence on CG levels and the potential for toxic exposure. 

It can be difficult to identify warning signs, leading to the potential for serious long-term effects and systemic disorders. 

Vulnerable Populations

Certain populations are at greater risk of CG toxicity. Infants and children, people with genetic conditions, and people with digestive problems are at greater risk of experiencing uncomfortable and severe symptoms. 

However, it’s important to note that the concentration of cyanogenic glycosides varies among different plant parts and varieties, and proper processing (such as cooking) can reduce cyanide content. Consuming large amounts of these compounds without proper preparation can be toxic.

Foods High in Cyanogenic Glycosides

Maniocs cut and stacked in a vegetable stall

Some common plant foods that contain cyanogenic glycosides include:

Cassava (Manihot esculenta):  Also called manioc and yucca. Cassava is a staple food in many tropical countries. Cassava roots contain relatively high levels of cyanogenic glycosides. Even with processing methods, like peeling, soaking, and thorough cooking, cassava can still expose people to CG in potentially harmful levels. 

This is of some concern in the U.S. and Western countries, where cassava flour is becoming a popular gluten-free flour alternative. 

If you do use cassava flour, be sure to cook it thoroughly. And look for assurances that it has been properly processed. This entails soaking cassava roots in water for several days. Roasting the roots or drying the roots in the sun. Removing the skin, and grinding the roots into flour. If these steps are not properly taken, CG levels can remain dangerously high.

Portion of the rootWeightPotential Cyanide (CNp)
%mg/kg
Root100.0032.18
Cortex14.0156.16
Reserve Parenchyma or Pulp85.06.12

Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B9780323900577000140

Bitter Almonds (Prunus dulcis): Bitter almonds contain a type of cyanogenic glycoside called amygdalin. This is not the case for sweet almonds, the type most people are familiar with. 

Sorghum: Sorghum is a grain that comes in many varieties, some of which have high levels of cyanogenic glycosides. Like cassava, sorghum must be properly processed, often through fermentation and thorough cooking to reduce the risks of CG exposure. 

Lima Beans and flaxseed are other common food crops that require proper processing to remove cyanogenic glycosides. 

Cyanogenic Glycosides: The Bottom Line

Cyanogenic glycosides are a naturally occurring plant toxin. These compounds protect plants from pathogens and predators. 

When humans ingest plants containing cyanogenic glycosides, the compound is metabolized into hydrogen cyanide–a potent toxin that interferes with cellular respiration and damages body tissue. 

Both acute exposure to high amounts of CG and chronic low-grade exposure can result in serious and debilitating symptoms. CG poisoning is most common in developing countries where cassava, bamboo shoots, and sorghum are stable foods, and there is less knowledge and oversight of safe processing methods such as soaking, drying, and fermenting.

Macro closeup of fresh whole cooked fried beef sweetbreads thymus organ gland, nutritious ancestral meat homemade food on white plate on kitchen table

Beef Thymus: Nutrition and Benefits

In the world of culinary delights, there is a realm that most of us don’t explore nearly enough– the organ meats. Though unconventional for most, these underrated cuts offer a treasure trove of unique flavors, delectable textures, and unrivaled nutritional benefits. One such organ meat that deserves the spotlight is beef thymus.

Join us as we explore the rich flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits that the beef thymus brings to the table. It’s time to set aside preconceived notions and embrace the gastronomic delights of this remarkably assessable yet underappreciated organ meat.

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What is Beef Thymus? 

The beef thymus is an organ meat that comes from the thymus gland of a young cow.

The thymus gland plays a crucial role in the immune system by producing T lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that defends the body against infections and diseases.

Culinary Considerations

Even if you’ve never heard of eating thymus, you may have heard of sweetbreads, which is the common culinary term for thymus. Sweetbreads also refer to beef pancreas, so it’s a bit confusing. We’ll explain.

There are two types of sweetbreads: One type is called the “throat sweetbread,” and the other is “heart” or “belly sweetbread.” 

Thymus is usually classified as a “throat sweetbread.” This distinction is a bit misleading since the thymus is located in the chest area. In any case, it is distinguished from the heart or belly sweetbread, which refers to the pancreas

Both the thymus and pancreas are among the most approachable and versatile organ meats.  From sautéing and grilling to frying, chefs appreciate the tender and creamy nature of beef thymus in gourmet preparations. 

What Does Beef Thymus Taste Like? 

Beef thymus is appreciated for its tender texture and mild, delicate flavor. You may even find it slightly sweet. 

Unlike most other organ meats, thymus and other sweetbreads offer a mild flavor that allows them to take on the taste and texture of various seasonings and cooking methods. 

When cooked skillfully, thymus is tender and creamy, making it unique among meats. Chefs and connoisseurs consider the ultimate thymus experience to occur when the exterior is crispy and the interior remains soft, with the consistency of custard. 

Beef Thymus Nutrition 

Per 100 grams (cooked)Total%RDV
Calories319
Total Fat25g
Saturated Fat8.6 g
Monounsaturated fats8.64g
Total Carbohydrates0 mg
Protein21.9g
Cholesterol294 mg
VITAMINS
Vitamin C30.2mg 34%
Thiamin (B1)0.08mg7%
Riboflavin (B2)0.23mg17%
Niacin (B3)1.8 mg12%
Pantothenic acid (B5)2mg39%
Vitamin B60.08mg5%
Vitamin B121.5mcg63%
MINERALS
Copper0.04 mg5%
Zinc2.2mg20%
Selenium21.6 mcg39%
Sodium116 mg5%
Potassium433 mg10%
Phosphorus364mg29%
Iron1.5 mg8%

Nutritional Benefits of Beef Thymus

Let’s take a deeper look at how the nutrients in beef thymus can positively impact your health goals. 

Vitamin C in Beef Thymus

When looking at the beef thymus nutrition list above, you may have noticed that thymus is remarkably high in vitamin C for a meat. 

The vitamin C content of beef thymus makes it prized among carnivore diet enthusiasts who eliminate all plant sources of vitamin C.

It’s worth noting that on a low-carb, high-fat carnivore diet, the body needs far fewer antioxidants, partly due to the increase in endogenous antioxidants and the reduced need to combat the oxidation caused by carbs and sugar. What this has to do with thymus is that 34% of your RDV of vitamin C is more than enough on carnivore, and is 340% of the vitamin C you need to avoid symptoms of vitamin C deficiency known as scurvy. 

Below, you can see how beef thymus stacks up against the vitamin C in other animal products. 

Animal-Based Foods High in Vitamin CAmount Vitamin C% sufficient to prevent scurvy
Beef spleen (100g)45.5mg455%
Beef thymus (100g)34mg340%
Salmon Roe (100g) 16 mg160%
Beef Pancreas (100g)13.7 mg137%
Chicken giblets (100g)13.1mg131%
Beef Brain (100g)10.7 mg107%
Beef Kidney (100g)9.4 mg94%
Oysters (6 oysters, or 88 grams)3.3 mg33%
Raw Liver (100g)1.3 mg13%

Thymosin

You won’t find thymosin on a nutrition label because it’s not a common nutrient. In fact, it’s a hormone produced by the thymus of young cows. 

Thymosin helps turn white blood cells (lymphocytes) into the critical element of the immune system called T cells. T cells are sent to the lymph nodes, where they are deployed during immune responses. 

Researchers have been exploring the use of thymus extract to boost immune function and fight off respiratory infections.

Vitamin B5

B5 is hard to come by, and 100 grams of thymus delivers 39% of your daily needs. 

B5, also called pantothenic acid, plays a crucial role in the creation of cholesterol. Despite what you’ve been told, cholesterol is an extremely important substance in your body.. Your body uses the cholesterol it creates as the foundation for youth-associated hormones like pregnenolone and DHEA.

Studies have also shown that B5 can help wounds heal faster.

If you don’t get enough B5, you run the risk of chronic fatigue, sleep issues, mood disorders, neuropathy, and respiratory tract infections.

Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

About ⅓ of the fat in the beef thymus is composed of monounsaturated fatty acids. These healthy fats have been found to

  • Reduce inflammation
  • reduce bad cholesterol
  • increase good cholesterol
  • Potentially reduce the risk of heart disease

Beneficial Amino Acids

Beef thymus is a fantastic source of highly beneficial amino acids, including lysine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. 

100 grams of beef thymus provides 1818mg (87% RDV) of lysine. This amino acid has been found to help the body absorb calcium. It’s also critical to collagen formation. Collagen is important for the health of bones, connective tissue, tendons, cartilage, and skin. Not surprisingly, Lysine has also been found to increase the speed of wound healing.

Thymus is also high in the amino acid Tyrosine, providing 454mg or 52% of your RDV. Tyrosine has been found to offer numerous benefits, including

  • Stimulating the production of important neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine
  • Supporting mental focus by increasing attention, focus, and working memory.
  • Reducing feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Supporting mood, motivation, and feelings of overall well-being.

Sourcing High-Quality Beef Thymus

Beef thymus is usually sourced from young cows or veal. 

It’s important to source organ meats from cows raised on grass in pristine environments. Otherwise, there’s a risk of contamination with heavy metals. 

The first place to look for quality beef thymus is your local rancher or farmer’s market. After that, there are a few quality online purveyors that we’ll list below. 

There are also desiccated options like Herbage Farmstead

How to Prepare Beef Thymus: Simple Recipes

Veal sweetbreads meat isolated on white background.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil
  2. Lower heat. Mix in lemon juice and salt
  3. Add thymus to the boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes
  4. Remove thymus from water. Run under cold water until cool 
  5. Dry the thymus with a clean cloth and transfer to a new plate
  6. Place another heavy pan on the thymus and press down to flatten
  7. Cut flattened thymus into small slices about half an inch wide
  8. Place slices into a bowl of coconut flour or crushed pork rinds
  9. Heat suet or ghee in a large skillet
  10. Add thymus to pan and fry until golden brown (less than 5 minutes)
  11. Flip over and fry until they’re golden brown on the other side, too (less than 3 minutes)
  12. Transfer to a plate and enjoy

Grilled Thymus “Mollejas” Recipe

Beef Thymus: The Bottom Line

Beef thymus is a nutrient-dense organ derived from the thymus gland of a young cow. However, most people have only heard of thymus by its culinary name, “sweetbreads.” 

In fact, thymus is one of a number of organ meats that are billed as sweetbreads. Of the various sweetbreads, thymus is the most tender and mild. 

The thymus has been a prized part of traditional diets for millennia. It’s rich in B vitamins, healthy fats, and a thymus-specific enzyme called thymosin that may support healthy immune function. 

image of gary brecka

What is the Gary Brecka Diet? Benefits and Drawbacks

The Gary Brecka diet is a high-fat, low-carb protocol that calls for focusing on specific foods, eliminating others, and consuming significant protein shortly after waking up. Brecka’s dietary guidelines are one component of a holistic health and longevity protocol that can include genetic testing and proprietary bio-hacking devices.

In this article, we’ll explore what the Gary Brecka diet is, including macronutrient ratios, food choices, along with potential benefits and drawbacks. 

Who is Gary Brecka?

First of all, who is Gary Brecka, and why are his dietary guidelines gaining in popularity? 

Brecka bills himself as the “Chief Human Biologist” of his company, 10X Health. In Brecka’s own estimation, this means that he applies cutting edge scientific understanding of human biology with lifestyle guidelines to optimize performance, wellness, and longevity. 

To date, Brecka has advised various professional athletes and high-power individuals. 

Notably, UFC CEO Dana White credited Gary Brecka with saving his life. After doing blood tests with Brecka, Dana White was told that based on his biomarkers, he showed signs of metabolic syndrome (a precursor to other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes) and had only 10.4 years to live. 

That’s when Dana White began following Brecka’s movement and keto diet protocols to transform his health. 

 

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Interestingly, Brecka’s specialization in administering and interpreting genetic and blood tests didn’t come through typical glitzy academic training like fellow bio-hacking gurus and Stanford alums Dr. Peter Attia and Andrew Huberman

Brecka only has a bachelor’s degree in biology from little known Frostburg State University, and and another bachelor’s degree in chiropractic medicine.

In fact, Brecka’s insatiable curiosity about optimizing human performance and lifespan was born from his private sector work as a mortality-modeling expert in the insurance industry. In this role, Brecka used medical records and demographic data to predict when someone was likely to die, up to the month! 

Eventually, Brecka went on to found a company called Streamline that integrates modern science and holistic health protocols, ostensibly to hack human biology and buck the trends of demographic determinism. 

Gary Brecka Diet Macronutrient Ratios

The Gary Brecka diet is also called a keto reset diet. This means that it’s a high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein way of eating. 

Typically, this way of eating calls for the following macronutrient ratios

  • 70-75% of calories from fat
  • 20-25% of calories from protein
  • 5-10% of calories from carbohydrates

High-fat, low-carb diets have been found to precipitate numerous biological changes and health benefits, including 

  • Significant and sustained weight loss
  • Neurological and mental health disorders such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s depression, and bipolar personality disorder
  • Supports the treatment of various cancers
  • Reverses metabolic syndrome
  • Reduces severity of type 1  and type 2 diabetes
  • Reduces insulin resistance 
  • Improves blood lipid levels
  • Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease

 

low carb high fat vs low fat diets for weight loss

 

In addition to these standard keto macro ratios, the Gary Brecka diet calls for something called the 30-30-30 method and the avoidance of 5 specific foods. Let’s turn to these features now. 

Gary Brecka’s 30-30-30 Method

The 30-30-30 method entails

  • consuming 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning
  • Follow the protein with 30 minutes of low-intensity exercise

This approach went viral after Gary Brecka described it on TikTok. The video now has more than 21 million views and countless stitches where people share their successes with it. 

The idea behind consuming protein just after waking up is that the amino acids balance glucose levels and create a foundation for sustained energy. 

If you don’t have protein and go right into a workout, your body will break down lean muscle tissue since muscle is far easier for your body to metabolize than fat. 

The Biochemical Benefits

Protein triggers the release of several hormones, like glucagon, that work in opposition to insulin, helping to regulate blood sugar levels effectively.

This sets up a favorable hormonal environment that aids in glucose stability. Additionally, protein takes longer to digest compared to carbohydrates.

This slow digestion rate contributes to a more gradual absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, further aiding in blood sugar stabilization.

The Domino Effect on Your Day

The benefits don’t stop at mere glucose stabilization.

When your blood sugar levels are stable, you’re less likely to experience mood swings, energy crashes, or cravings for sugary snacks. In a domino effect, this supports sustained mental clarity, better decision-making, and improved focus and productivity.

Imagine not having to battle the post-lunch slump or the late-afternoon fog; that’s the level of sustained energy we’re talking about.

Engaging in physical activity stimulates your metabolism, setting you on the path of calorie burning throughout the day, and unleashing mood and energy stabilizing compounds like endorphins and serotonin. The result is sustained energy and mental clarity. 

@brecka.clip Use the 30/30/30 rule 💯 #garybrecka #weightloss #weightlosstransformation #health #women #womenshealth ♬ original sound – Brecka

Gary Brecka’s 5 Foods to Avoid

  1. Flavored yogurt, even if it’s organic: Fruit-flavored yogurts are packed with 25-40 grams of sugar per serving, making them off-limits on a low-carb diet. Plain, organic Greek yogurt, on the other hand, can be a good addition to the Brecka diet and a great source of protein for the 30-30-30 protocol. It’s worth noting that Greek yogurt is lean, so you’ll have to add heavy cream or make up for the fat shortage by eating fattier meals throughout the day to achieve your macro ratios.
  2. Refined sugars: This one’s obvious. Sugar is toxic, spikes insulin, and causes a cascade of hormonal imbalances and inflammatory responses linked with various cancers, neurodegenerative disorders, infertility, obesity, and diabetes
  3. White rice: White rice is basically sugar in another form. With only 2 grams of protein per 48 grams of carbs, it has no place on the Gary Brecka diet.
  4. Non-organic and/or GMO veggies, but even fresh organic veggies, are not ideal on the Brecka diet. Non-organic an GMO veggies expose your body to chemical pesticides and biological compounds that can negatively impact your health. Gary Brecks suggests consuming flash frozen organic veggies because they retain more vitamins and minerals and are harvested at peak ripeness.
  5. Industrially processed seed oils: Seed oils like canola and soybean oil are among the most toxic foods on earth. They are high in unstable polyunsaturated fatty acids linked with inflammation, obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Brecka also points out that  in the early stages of processing, these oils are gummy. Companies use hexane, a known neurotoxin, to remove the gumminess.

Bonus: Gary Brecka, like many health enthusiasts, is suspicious of the effects of contaminants in tap water such as chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, and pharmaceutical byproducts. 

Gary Brecka Diet Food List 

Foods that Gary Brecka suggests consuming on his keto reset diet include: 

​​Healthy Fats: Saturated and monounsaturated fats from animal sources and others from avocado, nuts, whole seeds, and olive oil. Remember, on keto, fat is your main source of calories. 

Protein Sources: Moderate protein from whole foods sources such as red meat, seafood, eggs, and full-fat dairy. 

Vegetables and low-carb fruit: Low-carb, non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens, squash, asparagus, and avocado.

Nuts and seeds: Though fatty, nuts and seeds are high in inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acids, so should be enjoyed in moderation.

Full-fat dairy products: Fatty, creamy cheeses, plain Greek yogurt, and heavy cream. Milk and lower-fat dairy is high in dairy sugars and should be avoided. 

Potential Benefits of a Gary Brecka Keto Reset 

Weight loss: On a keto diet, your body becomes more efficient at metabolizing body fat into powerful energy molecules called ketones. This metabolic process is called ketosis and has been shown to support more significant and sustained weight loss than calorie-restricting diets. 

Increased energy: Cutting processed foods and carbs and getting your energy from fatty, nutrient-dense whole foods provides sustained and stable energy throughout the day. 

Appetite suppression: High-fat, protein-rich foods are highly satiating on their own. And when you cut sugar and consume only fatty whole foods hunger hormones leptin and insulin resensitize. These hormones are responsible for turning on and off feelings of fullness and hunger. In short, your body re-learns how to sense when you’ve had enough to eat. 

Heart health: Contrary to the myth that saturated fat causes heart disease, ketogenic diets reduce the risk of heart disease, in part by reducing inflammation and by lowering triglycerides and increasing levels of “good” HDL cholesterol

Reduced inflammation: Cutting sugar and seed oils, and replacing them with whole foods dramatically reduces inflammation and helps to heal the gut–ground zero for systemic inflammation. 

Drawbacks to the Gary Brecka Diet

Gary Brecka is rightfully concerned about industrial contaminants in our food and water. And he’s spot on about the power of high-fat, low-carb eating to deliver transformative health benefits. 

But he overlooks the presence and potential impact of tens of thousands of naturally occurring plant-toxins and antinutrients found in abundance in most plant foods, including greens, seeds, nuts, peppers, and spices.  

Over eons, plants have evolved sophisticated chemical defenses that can wreak havoc on human tissue, digestion, and metabolism. 

Dr. Kiltz strongly recommends that you don’t eat your veggies for the following reasons: 

  • Vegetables contain thousands of naturally occurring toxins
  • Plant foods are a prime factor in numerous digestive issues, including intestinal permeability or “leaky gut”
  • Plant fiber is not necessary and likely abraids our intestines while causing excess and inflammation through fermentation
  • Vegetables are often contaminated with harmful bacteria causing widespread outbreaks, hospitalizations, and even death
  • Many plant foods, especially nuts, beans, seeds, and grains are contaminated with toxic molds called mycotoxins 

Common-Plant-Chemicals-and-their-Effect-1-1536x1314-1

For these reasons, all-meat diets like carnivore and Dr. Kiltz’s own BEBBIIS diet may be more beneficial high-fat, low-carb alternatives. 

It’s worth highlighting that animal-based foods are far superior to plant foods in terms of nutrient variety and abundance. Reducing or eliminating plant foods does not lead to nutrient deficiencies. And, due to the presence of antinutrients in plants, when replaced with whole animal products, you will likely be at less risk for nutrient deficiencies. 

Nutrient Dense Foods list

The Gary Brecka Diet: The Bottom Line

The Gary Brecka diet is an approach to high-fat, low-carb keto eating. It was developed by bio-hacker and entrepreneur Gary Brecka. 

This way of eating is part of a holistic wellness regimen aimed at biological optimization and increased longevity. 

Following this way of eating can promote heart health, reduce inflammation, resensitize critical hormones, reduce body fat, and support sustained energy and mental clarity. However, it does include various plant foods like almond milk, and various vegetables that can expose the body to unnecessary carbs, naturally occurring toxins, toxic molds, excess fiber, and inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acids. If you’re serious about getting the greatest benefit from your low-carb, high-fat lifestyle, there are other more nutritious approaches.

Macro closeup of fresh whole beef sweetbreads thymus organ gland, nutritious ancestral meat homemade food cooking frying on pan with steam

Carnivore Diet Supplements

The carnivore diet calls for eliminating all plant foods and consuming only animal products–especially red meat. This more restrictive way of eating raises the question of what nutrients might be missing on carnivore, and if there is a need for carnivore diet supplements?

Yet, upon closer inspection, an all-meat diet provides a far greater variety and density of nutrients than a Standard American diet based on processed and plant foods.

In this article, we’ll explore the question of carnivore diet supplements by looking at the nutrients that animal products provide in abundance and how to source harder-to-get nutrients from various animal products. Then, if all else fails, we’ll direct you to some helpful over-the-counter supplements. 

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Vitamins and Minerals on the Carnivore Diet

Animal products are the most nutrient-dense foods on earth, bar none. “Nutrient density” refers to the amount and variety of nutrients per gram of food. 

Gram-for-gram plant foods do not come close to matching the nutrient density of meat and animal products. This phenomenon is called “meat efficiency.”

APPLE (100 g)CARROTS (100 g)RED MEAT (100 g)BEEF LIVER (100 g)
Calcium3.0 mg3.3 mg11.0 mg11.0 mg
Phosphorus6.0 mg31.0 mg140.0 mg476.0 mg
Magnesium4.8 mg6.2 mg15.0 mg18.0 mg
Potassium139.0 mg222.0 mg370.0 mg380.0 mg
Iron.1 mg.6 mg3.3 mg8.8 mg
Zinc.05 mg.3 mg4.4 mg4.0 mg
Copper.04 mg.08 mg.18 mg12.0 mg
Vitamin ANoneNone40 IU53,400 IU
Vitamin DNoneNoneTrace19 IU
Vitamin E.37 mg.11 mg1.7 mg.63 mg
Vitamin C7.0 mg6.0 mg16 mg27.0 mg
Thiamin.03 mg.05 mg.05 mg.26 mg
Riboflavin.02 mg.05 mg.20 mg4.19 mg
Niacin.10 mg.60 mg4.0 mg16.5 mg
Pantothenic Acid.11 mg.19 mg.42 mg8.8 mg
Vitamin B6.03 mg.10 mg.07 mg.73 mg
Folate8.0 mcg24.0 mcg4.0 mcg145.0 mcg
BiotinNone.42 mcg2.08 mcg96.0 mcg
Vitamin B12NoneNone1.84 mcg111.3 mcg

 

Nutrient Dense Foods list

It’s also worth highlighting that there are numerous nutrients that are either exclusive to, or only found in appreciable amounts in animal products. These nutrients include

You don’t need to think about supplementing any of the above nutrients on carnivore. 

What about the Nutrients in Plants? 

Though plant foods do contain some essential vitamins and minerals, plant nutrients are delivered in formats that are far more difficult for the human body to digest and utilize than the versions of those nutrients found in animal products. 

For example, the zinc you get from red meat is 400% better absorbed than zinc from plants.

Furthermore, plants contain various antinutrients, such as phytates (phytic acid), lectins, and oxalates, that bind to zinc, iron, and calcium, resulting in deficiencies, even when plant foods contain these nutrients.

This is all to convey that if you consume a well-formulated carnivore diet, there is no need for supplements.  

That said, some people worry about vitamin C and electrolytes like potassium and magnesium, which are less abundant in meat. Let’s explore these harder-to-get nutrients below.

Carnivore Diet Vitamin C

One of the myths of the carnivore diet is that if you don’t eat plant foods, you’ll be deficient in vitamin C and get scurvy. 

But recent research tells us that consuming fresh meat in the quantities called for on a carnivore diet provides more than enough vitamin C to ward off scurvy–10mg per day.

Research published in Meat Science Journal found that fresh beef provides approximately 1.6 mcg/g of vitamin C in grain-fed meat, and 2.56 mcg/g in grass-fed meat.

A standard carnivore dieter consumes around 1000 grams (2.2 lbs) of red meat per day. This provides 1.6mg (grain-fed) and 2.56 mg of vitamin C, respectively. Far more than enough to prevent scurvy. 

Beef Muscle Meet (1000 grams/2.2 lbs)Amount Vitamin C% sufficient to prevent scurvy
Grass-fed beef2.56 mg25%
Grain-fed beef1.6 mg16%

In addition to muscle meat, seafood and organ meats provide supplemental vitamin C. In this way, it’s smart to think about organ meats like thymus as a true carnivore diet supplement. 

Animal-Based Foods High in Vitamin CAmount Vitamin C% sufficient to prevent scurvy
Beef spleen (100g)45.5mg455%
Beef thymus (100g)34mg340%
Salmon Roe (100g) 16 mg160%
Beef Pancreas (100g)13.7 mg137%
Chicken giblets (100g)13.1mg131%
Beef Brain (100g)10.7 mg107%
Beef Kidney (100g)9.4 mg94%
Oysters (6 oysters, or 88 grams)3.3 mg33%
Raw Liver (100g)1.3 mg13%

Getting enough Magnesium on the Carnivore Diet 

Magnesium is an essential electrolyte that your body needs to fulfill numerous physical functions and ultimately survive. 

Most people need to consume around 400mg of magnesium per day. 

1lb of ribeye steak or lamb provides around 100mg of magnesium. 

Consuming 2-3 lbs of steak alone gives you 200-300 mg of magnesium, leaving the remainder 100-200mg to other foods or supplements. 

Other carnivore food groups that provide more magnesium include cheese and seafood. 

  • Atlantic Mackerel: 97 mg per 100 grams
  • Anchovies (canned): 69 mg per 100 grams
  • Sardines: 58 mg per 100 grams
  • Oysters: 58 mg per 100 grams
  • Shrimp/prawns 39 mg per 100 grams
  • Mussels 37 mg per 100 grams
  • Parmesan cheese: 38 mg per 100 grams
  • Sharp cheddar: 32 mg per 100 grams

Carnivore Diet Potassium

Like magnesium, potassium is an essential electrolyte that is more available in plant foods than animal products. That said, a well-formulated carnivore diet can more than satisfy your potassium needs. 

Here’s a list of carnivore diet foods high in potassium. 

FoodPotassium per serving (mg)% RDV
Salt cod (8oz)3353mg111%
Ground chicken (8oz)1557mg53%
Wild salmon (8oz)1444mg48%
Clams (8oz)1444mg48%
Bacon1359mg45%
Atlantic halibut (8oz)1324mg44%
Pork loin (8oz)1304mg43%
Ground beef (8oz)996mg33%
Beef ribs (8oz)941mg31%

What Supplements Can I Take on the Carnivore Diet? 

Ok, so after reading the above, if you’d rather not think about formulating your diet to cover your nutrient needs, here’s a rundown of common carnivore diet supplements. 

Carnivore Electrolyte Supplements

Keto Chow is an electrolyte formula created by Carnivore enthusiast Dr. Ken Berry

Simply add a few drops to your water or even directly to your steak. 

Create your own 

If you’d rather create your own bespoke carnivore diet electrolyte supplement regiment, follow these guidelines. 

  • 400mg of magnesium citrate
  • 1-3 99mg potassium citrate supplements. Taking more potassium than this runs the risk of heart failure. Be careful! 
  • Salt food liberally*

To rebalance electrolytes on a very low-carb diet, many doctors familiar with carnivore recommend consuming at least 12 grams (2 tsp) of salt daily in the first few days of adapting to carnivore. 

After that, consume at least 5 grams (about 1 tsp) of salt daily to avoid headaches, fatigue, and constipation.

Bile Supplements on Carnivore 

The carnivore diet is, by default, a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet. 

To digest all that additional animal fat, your body needs to produce enough bile. Bile emulsifies (mixes) fats into a substance that your intestines can absorb.

Most people go through a period of adjustment as their body learns to upregulate bile production to meet the new fat load. 

However, people with IBS/IBD may have issues with creating enough bile when adapting to carnivore.

Considering the importance of bile for digestion and the discomfort that can occur during the transition period, ox bile and Betaine HCL supplements can help with the transition. 

bottle of bile supplementsbottle of hcl supplements

 

Carnivore Diet Supplements: The Bottom Line

The all-meat carnivore diet marks a radical departure from mainstream dietary guidelines calling for varied, plant-based food sources. So, it’s understandable that people are concerned about the possibility of carnivore diet supplements to cover any deficiencies. 

However, animal-based foods provide a superior variety and density of nearly every essential nutrient. 

The only areas where supplements on the carnivore diet may be appropriate (but not necessary) are electrolytes and bile supplements. 

Perhaps the most effective way to think about carnivore diet supplements is to “supplement” like our hypercarnivorous ancestors: consume various animal-based products, especially organ meats.

ketovore meats and spices on a black background

What is the Ketovore Diet? Benefits and Drawbacks

If you’re interested in taking control of your health through diet and lifestyle, you’ve probably heard of both ketogenic and carnivore diets. 

The ketovore diet is a combination of these two approaches. This looks like centering all meals around animal products and supplementing with some low-toxin, low-carb plant foods. 

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of the ketovore approach to low-carb, high-fat eating. 

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Keto + Carnivore= Ketovore

To better understand what ketovore is and isn’t, let’s take a brief look at both of its parent diets–keto and carnivore

What is Keto?

The ketogenic diet is defined by its macronutrient ratios

  • Reduce carbs to around 10% of your daily caloric intake
  • Increase fat to account for around 70% of your calories
  • Get 20-30% of your calories from protein

Dramatically cutting carbs and increasing fat triggers your body to enter a metabolic state called ketosis, where your primary fuel source is molecules produced from dietary and body fat. 

Ketosis has been linked to 

  • reduced inflammation
  • rapid weight loss
  • alleviation of psychiatric conditions
  • stable energy, and mental clarity
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Leptin sensitivity
  • Reduced blood pressure 

Though keto doesn’t explicitly tell you what to eat and what not to eat, it requires eliminating most processed foods (other than keto treats), all added sugars, most fruits, and all high-carb vegetables. 

It is possible to follow a vegetarian and even vegan keto approach. However, most keto dieters consume relatively high quantities of fatty animal products since these foods are naturally ketogenic. 

What is Carnivore? 

The carnivore diet entails consuming only animal products

The hierarchy of carnivore diet foods is as follows: 

Because most animal products are naturally zero-carb foods, carnivore dieters don’t focus on macronutrient ratios

The rule of thumb for carnivores is to eat the fattiest cuts of meat available and to cook leaner meats in generous amounts of animal fats. 

Additionally, the carnivore diet strictly eliminates plant foods in order to protect the body from 

  • exposure to thousands of naturally occurring plant toxins and antinutrients
  • various plant-born bacteria
  • toxic molds (mycotoxins)
  • damage of the gut due to indigestible plant fiber

Common-Plant-Chemicals-and-their-Effect-1-1536x1314-1

Carnivore is more straightforward than keto, making shopping and meal plans easier. However, some people, at least when making the transition from a standard keto or standard Western diet, find carnivore to be too restrictive and want to allow for some low-toxin, low-carb plant foods. 

This brings us to the definition of ketovore.

Ketovore Defined

Combine keto with carnivore, and you get ketovore: An animal-based way of eating that follows keto macronutrient ratios while allowing for supplementation with a variety of low-carb plant foods and occasional keto snacks that include non-carnivore ingredients like spices and coconut oil. In this way, ketovore is also considered a modified carnivore diet. 

Examples of non-carnivore foods that often make their way into ketovore diets include

  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • nut butters
  • Chia seeds
  • Low-carb fruits: blackberries, raspberries, strawberries 
  • Low-carb veggies: cooked leafy greens
  • Dark chocolate
  • Spices
  • Coffee 

Benefits of Ketovore

Research suggests that ketovore is an evolutionarily aligned way of eating. This means that it mimics the eating habits of our caveman ancestors, who researchers believe were hypercarnivorus apex predators for nearly two million years until dawn of the agricultural evolution only 10,000 years ago.

Figure-1-Human-brain-Dr.-Miki-Ben-Dor-1536x689-2-1440x646

Source: Dr Miki Ben Dor

Our bodies and brains were built by the nutrients from fatty animals. The belief follows that by consuming these evolutionarily aligned foods while cutting out cultivated and processed foods, we can provide our bodies with the premium fuel they are designed for. 

Nutrient Dense Foods list

At the same time, we can eliminate exposure to the paltry and harmful foods that are sold to us by modern agricultural interests. 

percent of calories per food group chart

Drawbacks of the Ketovore Diet

Plant foods are non-essential, meaning we don’t need them, and they can do more harm than good. 

Plants expose our bodies to thousands of naturally occurring pesticides that can have deleterious effects on our entire bodies via intestinal degradation and systemic inflammation. 

If you’re serious about reaping the benefits of animal-based eating, Dr. Kiltz recommends eliminating all plant foods. 

The Ketovore Diet: The Bottom Line

The ketovore diet is born from the combination of keto and carnivore. 

Keto is defined by eliminating carbs and increasing fat to around 70% of your caloric intake. The carnivore diet is defined by consuming only animal products and centering meals around fatty ruminant meat. 

Ketovore adheres to the ketogenic macronutrient requirements and centers meals around meat while allowing for the inclusion of non-carnivore foods like low-toxin, low-carb fruits and veggies, spices, and other keto but not carnivore foods. Proponents of ketovore like that it allows for more variety and flexibility while delivering the nutritional nourishment that only meat can provide. Traditional carnivore dieters caution against consuming plant products that can expose the body to toxins, sugars, molds, and abrasive fiber.