The Benefits of a Carnivore Diet | The Hart of Health Podcast
What are the benefits of the carnivore diet? Find out in this podcast episode. The transcript is below.
Jonathan Hart 0:08
Hey, everyone, on today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about the benefits of a carnivore diet.
Joane Hart 0:46
Yes, I’m really excited to do this one. I’ve been wanting to do the benefits of the carnivore diet podcast for quite a while. So happy to be here.
Jonathan Hart 0:57
Yeah, so obviously, we’ve mentioned benefits in other podcasts of doing the carnivore diet, but we thought we would just try and sum up all the benefits in one podcast, just so that if someone’s interested to know this specifically, it’ll be quite easy to access and get all the information in a fairly short space of time.
Joane Hart 1:20
We might not get to all of the benefits, but just all the ones that we could think of. I’m sure there’ll be people who do the carnivore diet that realize other benefits. Yep. So yeah, let’s start with number one. With the carnivore diet, you usually have less inflammation.
Jonathan Hart 1:42
I definitely noticed that a lot. Like, often after doing some sort of sports event, and this was when I was obviously younger than I am now, I’d have sore feet and knees, and things will be inflamed basically. Yeah, I’d also be more likely to get like Shin splints or tendinitis. And after going carnivore, those kinds of symptoms kind of stopped, that’s good. And it’s not like I wasn’t eating well, I was eating sort of like a Paleolithic-style diet, and I’m still getting those inflammation symptoms. And so, just going carnivore made a huge difference. And I noticed all of those inflammation related-symptoms just disappeared.
Joane Hart 2:37
That’s wonderful. Yeah, I’ve also noticed a decrease in inflammation, like my skin tends to be reasonably inflamed. Didn’t know a lot of the time. But where I noticed the difference with was in my gut, because like, I usually like have some IBS-type symptoms, and I’ll get pain from eating certain foods and stuff, and from eating too much fibre. But whenever I’m carnivore, I have like no digestive issues. And that’s a dramatic effect. Like it’s something that you can very easily notice if you’re someone who struggles with digestive inflammation. And that, for me, basically goes away whenever I’m on a carnivore diet like now, because it’s World Carnivore Month.
Jonathan Hart 3:32
I suppose a lot of people don’t really associate digestive distress with inflammation. But most of it is.
Joane Hart 3:41
Yeah, well, IBS is called inflammatory bowel disease.
Jonathan Hart 3:45
So people will be like: “I have IBS.” They won’t think it’s inflammation.
Joane Hart 3:49
Yeah, it’s in the name. And a lot of people do carnivore because of IBS-related symptoms, and it makes a huge difference. There are people who have arthritis and who have done the carnivore diet, like Mikhaila Peterson, who says that their pain rate went down dramatically. Yeah, so that’s a huge benefit. And anyone who’s worried about just keeping inflammation low overall, you can definitely consider a carnivore diet.
Jonathan Hart 4:23
Yeah. And so number two is: it helps with blood sugar regulation. And that is where a lot of people don’t realize how much their metabolisms have been affected. Apparently, up to 95% of the modern Western civilization has either pre-diabetes or diabetes. And so, a high percentage of people are really struggling to regulate their blood sugar.
Joane Hart 4:58
Yeah, they’re insulin resistant without knowing it.
Jonathan Hart 5:02
Yeah. And so, you can pass a blood glucose test with being insulin resistant. And that’s one thing that people really need to change. They need to stop testing their blood glucose and start testing their fasting insulin, or both. Oh, yeah, you can test both. Fasting insulin is going to be a much more accurate representation of what your future blood sugar regulation is going to look like. And I think that’s one of the biggest modern problems today… people have insulin resistance, and as soon as you’re insulin resistant, then controlling your blood sugar becomes way more difficult.
Joane Hart 5:46
Like, I have insulin problems, I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. And that is associated with insulin resistance. I know that I have problems with that, just because I know I have PCOS. But sometimes, I can really feel it because when I was younger, I would get blood sugar crashes all the time. I would feel like I had low blood sugar all the time. And then I started experimenting with low-carb diets. And these hectic blood sugar crashes went away and almost kind of forgot about them. And then I would start to eat more carbs. And then after a while, my blood sugar would start to drop again, I would start to feel shaky and weak again. And then I’d know “Oh, it’s because I started adding more carbs in my diet”. Then I would go low carb again for a while, and that would disappear again. So every time… I think it’s happened like three, four times over the last three years because I cycle between a low-carb diet and a diet that include includes more carbs, but mainly from fruits and stuff, I definitely notice a difference where whenever I do low carb, like we’ve been doing The Lion Diet for six days now, which is a zero-carb diet. And I haven’t felt any blood sugar dips. And that, for me, is a very big sign. So whenever I increase my carbs, it usually starts to happen after two weeks of high carbs, then I know this is not right.
Jonathan Hart 7:18
Carbs can be the thing that fans the flames. But I don’t know if it’s the spark of insulin resistance. I would put my money on linoleic acid as being the main cause. Yeah, but going carnivore will definitely help you with blood sugar regulation, there are a lot of people who have put their case studies on the internet of having type two diabetes, going carnivore, and then being able to go off their insulin completely. So there are a lot of stories out there of people being able to gain blood sugar control, without having to inject themselves the whole time using a carnivore diet. And I suppose it also depends on how you do your carnivore diet because some people would include honey on a carnivore diet, and also dairy, and dairy also has carbs. But even with those, I feel like it’s much easier to keep them in moderation.
Joane Hart 8:20
Yeah, like have you ever tried to eat a lot of honey at once? It’s hard.
Jonathan Hart 8:24
Yes. I still wouldn’t say like “Oh, if you’re a type two diabetic, have all the honey you want.” It’s like no, rather use the honey as a way to sort of like taper into a low-carb diet, rather than just go cold turkey and go from a lot of carbs to zero carbs. Because I feel like any sort of sudden change is going to create more risk and more symptoms of, you know, going through a transition period where if you go from high amounts of carbs, you go carnivore, but then you sort of still supplement your carbs with dairy and honey and then slowly taper those down. It’s going to be a lot better.
Joane Hart 9:12
And no one says you have to go zero carb. You could be carnivore and just be a low carb carnivore and include dairy and have some honey every day. Because I think two teaspoons of honey gives you like 15 grams of carbs or something. Don’t quote me on that. But you know, it’s not a lot, and a lot of people who are on a ketogenic diet try to aim for under 20 grams of carbs, which means you could have like two teaspoons of honey a day, or just under 50. And there you could have quite a few teaspoons of honey a day and it technically qualifies as a low-carb diet. Like I can still have some carbs in my diet, but it has to be a low-carb diet and not get those blood sugar issues. But as soon as I eat too much, it comes for me, so you don’t have to be zero carb for the blood sugar regulation but zero-carb to low-carb carnivore is a good way to regulate your blood sugar.
Jonathan Hart 10:07
Yes. And also getting a reduction in linoleic acid will obviously help you in the long term like that won’t show you instant blood sugar control results. But over time, hopefully, your metabolism will repair itself, and you will get better blood sugar control through having a healthier metabolism in the future.
Joane Hart 10:31
I read somewhere and I don’t know if this is true, and it is something that I want to research, But that it can take like four years for your body to get rid of all the extra stored linoleic acid and like PUFAs in your cells. (I wouldn’t be surprised.) Yeah, so I found that quite fascinating. So I’ve been very low PUFA, low linoleic acid for over a year now. Just three more years to go. And we’ll see what happens there. But I definitely think that is one of the biggest problems and that if people didn’t have as much linoleic acid in their diets, they wouldn’t have as big of a problem with the sugar. And the thing is, a lot of the time, those come together like your cake, your doughnuts, your cookies, those are high polyunsaturated fat and high sugar, just like death bombs.
Okay, the next benefit is: it can help you lose weight.
Jonathan Hart 11:31
This is probably the one thing that most people come to the carnivore diet for. The kind of thinking is like: “Wow, I’ve seen a lot of people lose weight on this diet.”
Joane Hart 11:40
Yeah, a low-carb diet is good, so a zero-carb diet must be better for weight loss.
Jonathan Hart 11:45
Yeah, so everyone that I know and I’ve heard of doing the carnivore diet has lost weight. It’s pretty obvious. And for me, I think the mechanism is that animal foods trigger your body’s metabolism to step up its rate. And by not having any nuts or seeds, or sort of those times of feast or famine foods. So I’d say that you generally have grains and nuts and seeds and those kinds of foods when it’s the time of famine. So, when you don’t have a lot of options, and all you have is the little bit of nuts and seeds and stuff that you’ve gathered up through the years, your body goes like: “okay, well, we’ve got to store up fat. We’ve got to have a lot of fat stores ready?”
Joane Hart 12:41
Don’t you get those foods often before winter, so it helps you gain fat before winter?
Jonathan Hart 12:46
Exactly, so in a natural environment, you’d be harvesting those things in autumn. And so, you’ll be getting your grains and your nuts and your seeds and all that in the autumn. And so, obviously, your body knows winter’s coming. And so, if you’re eating those foods all-year-round, you’re sending the signals to your body that winter is coming and to store fat the whole time, where when you have animal foods, your body’s like: “Okay, wait, we’ve made a kill as a tribe.” This is not obviously thinking with the logic of your body cells. It’s not really obvious that your cells are conscious. But if your cells had a consciousness, they’d be like: Hey, okay, we’ve managed to kill something. And we’re getting the meat from that, so we can up our metabolism because there’s plenty of food around. We don’t need to be so worried about storing fat.” And that’s probably the simplest I can explain that without getting too complicated into the Krebs cycle and all that stuff. But yeah, animal foods seem to trigger that like metabolism boost. And your more plant-based nuts and seeds and grains seems to trigger the opposite response.
Joane Hart 14:09
Yeah, well, like having known the low linoleic acid foods, and just having meat will tell your body that this is not the time to store fat. This is the time to burn fat and be active.
Jonathan Hart 14:22
And yeah, build up your body and go out there and hunt. And when you’re hunting, you need to be lean and fast and you can’t be carrying around a whole bunch of extra body weight.
Joane Hart 14:33
Yeah, so if you want to lose weight, if you’ve been trying to do a low-carb diet, but you struggle to limit your carbs, why not try to cut them out completely? I often find that cutting something out completely is way easier than just trying to regulate because I come from a binge-eating background, like I’ve been in binge eaters since I was 4/5/6, I don’t know. If I cut something out, it’s way easier. If I just tried to have a bite of it or just a small serving, I always end up wanting more. And it’s way easier to then cheat than when I’m not having it at all, and like my tastebuds don’t get activated. The brain doesn’t get lit up. Yeah, because my brain will light up if I eat certain foods, and it’s almost like I can feel it.
One of the benefits that I love, is that it’s a high-protein diet, because so many people struggle to eat enough protein, and apparently, especially women, and I’ve seen people think that they’re doing a high-protein diet, but they’ll have like one egg in the morning, some cheese with lunch, and then a small piece of meat with dinner. And, you know, it’s a good idea to have like one gram of protein per pound of body weight, or at least 0.8 grams. And before we started The Lion Diet, today is day six, I was like struggling to get enough protein some days, because I was eating other things that would make me feel fuller and stuff. And then the last six days, I haven’t had to worry at all about whether I’m hitting my protein goals. And I want to build quite a bit of muscle, and you need protein for that. But I almost don’t even have to log my food to make sure I eat enough protein because I know that I am, because I’m eating so much red meat, you know. And so, I just find that is very easy. And it is something that a lot of people complain about when they’re trying to build muscle, you know, maintain muscle is that it’s hard for them to eat enough protein? Well, I don’t think you’d struggle with that on a carnivore diet.
Jonathan Hart 16:44
Yeah, that’s the last thing you struggle with. Most people probably actually struggle with getting enough fat because they might still be scared of animal fats. And they’ll be going for the more lean cuts of meat. And so, I’d say you more have a problem of not getting enough fat on a carnivore diet. It’s very easy to get your protein goals. And for those of you thinking “what about plant based proteins”, they are not equal to animal-based proteins in any shape or form. Animal-based proteins are by far more bioavailable and easier for us to absorb. And they’ve got all the complete proteins versus if you go plant-based, you’d have to have a whole bunch of different plant foods in order to compile all the essential amino acids, and it’s still in a plant form, so it’s much harder for your body to digest and to absorb.
Joane Hart 17:41
But with protein, it’s pretty much straight up. You know, I think eggs they said absorb the fastest and whey protein. That’s why a lot of people like whey protein that comes from animals. Exactly.
The next benefit is that it will simplify your life.
Jonathan Hart 18:01
Oh, that is obvious.
Joane Hart 18:03
It definitely simplifies your life. Because shopping is so simple because you could basically get all your meat delivered at home. You could go to a butcher and get everything you need from the one shop. Or if you go to a supermarket, you can just walk straight to the meat section. You don’t have to walk through all the other aisles to see if there’s something you want. When you’re cooking, you don’t have to think of “how can I cook this chicken differently this time?” You know, like, no cooking is simple. There are no hectic recipes you need to follow. Because a lot of people don’t know how to cook nowadays. Well, it’s much easier to learn when you’re like “Well, I don’t need to learn how to cook all these different dishes, I just need to learn how to cook my meat well in the way I enjoy it.” It’s very simple. Because you can do it just in a pan. You could cook it on a fire. You could create an air fryer.
Jonathan Hart 18:58
Yeah, open fire tastes the best by far, but yeah, there are a lot of options on how to cook it. And yeah, in a true carnivore diet, like you won’t have any spices, so that also really kind of simplifies things that way. You only need to get salt as a seasoning. And so, it becomes really simple when it comes to cooking because then it’s just literally salt your meat, apply heat, and then you eat. So it’s no peeling, cutting, chopping, nothing. And then, you know how long it will take for potatoes to cook.
Joane Hart 19:41
And yeah, you don’t have to make three side dishes and your main meat. You just cook the meat.
Jonathan Hart 19:48
You don’t have to prepare a salad. No, you don’t have to buy the lettuce, tomato, feta, and onions for the Greek salad. You know you put salt on your meat, put it in an air fryer or on an open grill or whatever it is, and your food’s ready in a fairly short period of time?
Joane Hart 20:10
Yeah, like if you’re usually someone who forgets a few items on your shopping list, and then you get home and you’re like, damn, I didn’t buy the peanut butter, you don’t have to worry about that on a carnivore diet. Because if you forgot one of the essentials (your meat, your salt, your water), you’re screwed.
Jonathan Hart 20:24
Yeah, you don’t eat anything then.
Joane Hart 20:27
So, because today, I went to the store, and I didn’t have to look at my shopping list. Because I was just like: “Oh, I need to get salt, and any meat that I find appealing.” Basically, it was so simple. So that is one thing you need to know about.
Here’s something we’ve touched on a little bit earlier: One benefit of the carnivore diet is that it can improve your digestive health, like improve your IBS symptoms, as I said earlier, and even if you don’t generally struggle with IBS. Like if you don’t eat a lot of fibre, you won’t be as gassy.
Jonathan Hart 21:04
Gassiness basically disappears. Yeah, completely. Like, you’ll be like “Huh, when last did I do that?” And you’ll think like” “Oh, maybe it was like a month ago? I gotta let some gas loose.”
Joane Hart 21:18
Yeah, like you realize it’s not something your body has to do so often. It’s a natural thing, but it doesn’t have to happen as often.
Jonathan Hart 21:31
Yeah, and if you ever had a point where like, you feel like your stomach’s been blown up, like a beach ball, and you’re just holding in because you’re in, you know, company or whatever, and then you have to hold it in, even though it hurts until you’re alone and then you can you know, let it rip, you know, that’s not actually necessary. And on a carnivore diet, that’s not what happens and you probably won’t have that problem. Oh, it definitely fixed my digestive issues. Yes, it definitely did. Like, that was the only thing: I was basically eating meat, vegetables, and nuts. And I was still struggling with constipation. And so I thought, like, you know, I was eating a pretty good diet. But by going zero fibre, that was the thing that fixed it for me.
Joane Hart 22:22
And was amazing, you know, and I live with you, I noticed. So yeah, if you don’t want any embarrassing moments or discomfort, and you don’t want to deal with pain in your gut every day, really give this a try. I definitely think it’s great. Like, you know how sometimes people will go on a weekend bender or holiday and they’ll drink a lot and eat a lot of junk food. And they’re like: “oh, I need to like reset and my digestive system doesn’t feel that good, maybe I should do a juice cleanse?”, and do the juice cleanse. Just try the carnivore diet for a few days. Try go no fibre and see how quickly your digestive system bounces back.
Jonathan Hart 23:03
No. A word of caution though, If you have large amounts of fibre in your diet, and you go suddenly to zero diet, zero fibre, you’re most likely going to get some kind of diarrhoea. Yeah, in this case, if you don’t want to get the diarrhoea, I’d rather recommend tapering your fibre down. So go from like, well, first of all, find out how much fibre you’re having. And then maybe try at maximum half it? Yes, don’t go from 200 grams of fibre to zero grams of fibre because your body’s adapted to how much bile salts push into your small intestine. And it’s expecting there to be fibre to absorb some of those bile salts. And if you suddenly have no fibre that absorbs the bile salts, and it goes straight through you into your colon, your colon will be very irritated by the bile salts being present and that will cause the colon to evacuate at a rapid rate.
Joane Hart 24:09
Yes. Well, if you’ve been backed up for a while, you might welcome it for a few days.
Jonathan Hart 24:14
So yeah, that’s why I said if you don’t want that, taper. If you are like “okay, I’m so constipated, I just want to get everything out.” Go zero-carb in one shot, and you’ll reap the relief, I guess.
Joane Hart 24:29
I guess. Oh, one thing I thought of now, because we were watching a Joe Rogan clip and he was talking about his mental state, one of the benefits could be that you’re more clear-headed, because my brain fog is a lot less when I eat this way. They want to eat a lot of carbs. Like I don’t necessarily get that post-meal brain fog urge to sleep as much.
Jonathan Hart 24:58
Yeah, I think that’s influenced by your blood sugar. So if you have something that sends it up, you know, and then it comes down again, on the way down and going like past your ideal blood sugar levels, you’re going to feel a bit tired and foggy and not so well. But the energy levels on a carnivore diet are pretty consistent. Like, I don’t notice that much of a fluctuation. And I think that’s what helps with the mental clarity and energy.
Joane Hart 25:28
Yeah. So if you’re somebody who’s worried about your mental performance, whether you’re like a student, you have to study a lot, whether you’re a workaholic, and you want to do your best, even if you’re not a workaholic, if you want to do your best at work, or at whatever task you’re trying to take on, you know, having that is such a big advantage. Because if you can eliminate those dips during the day and the brain fog, your performance could be much better. Definitely. And so yeah, I realized that a lot of people were hesitant to try intermittent fasting, and then they heard it can improve your mental clarity, and then these people are like such success junkies or whatever, then they’ll give it a try. And then they’re like: “I get it now”, because anything that will improve their performance, they’ll do.
So yeah, here’s one we could talk about: It provides healthy fat and cholesterol for healthy hormone production.
Jonathan Hart 26:31
Hormones. And this is one of the main reasons why I disliked the whole calories-in, calories-out argument is because they don’t address the fundamental part of being human. And that’s hormones. Humans are run on hormones, and what you eat influences your hormones. So it’s not just about how many calories. It’s also about what interaction does it have with your hormones and your endocrine system?
Joane Hart 27:02
Yes. Like people are so scared of cholesterol. But I mean, you need a bit of cholesterol to produce like the sex hormones like your testosterone and estrogen and stuff.
Jonathan Hart 27:13
And no one’s been able to really prove that your dietary intake of cholesterol has any kind of effect on your long-term cholesterol levels. Like yes, you might have a temporary increase in cholesterol levels, but the next day, you’re back to your normal levels.
Joane Hart 27:34
And what I find interesting is a lot of men will try a ketogenic diet that’s very high in fat or a carnivore diet and their testosterone levels will go up by quite a lot. And I know that a lot more men are struggling with low testosterone nowadays, and other problems related to their hormones, and I definitely think that the lack of fat in the diet has a lot to do with it.
Jonathan Hart 27:59
Yeah, a good example for me was Joe Rogan, saying he went carnivore, and that he noticed he was a little bit more aggressive. But he is taking TRT. And so, maybe the reason why he needs to take TRT is because of something in his diet, and then you know, something that might be suppressing his testosterone levels. And then by going on a carnivore diet, it sort of allowed his natural production of testosterone to rise again. And with it rising and taking the TRT, it sort of created that sort of, you know, testosterone roid rage kind of scenario. And I would be interested to know how he would have felt if he stopped taking the TRT and went carnivore, because then he might have actually just felt like, normal. Yeah, he might have been like, you know, just being on his normal level, instead of having the unnatural boost from the TRT on top of the carnivore diet.
Joane Hart 29:08
Yeah. Be it would be very interesting to know what would happen.
Jonathan Hart 29:14
Yeah, obviously, we will never know. And maybe one day, Joe Rogan will try the carnivore diet and not take TRT and see what happens and do bloodwork and all that will be very interesting to see, but for you, it’s really helped your hormones a lot, I think.
Joane Hart 29:31
Yeah, my hormones improved a lot. I definitely think if you’re worried about healthy hormones, fertility, eat enough fat, but from good sources like animals and ruminant animals. Eat saturated fat, eat things that contain cholesterol. give your body what it needs to make the hormones that you need.
Jonathan Hart 29:57
Exactly. And that’s one thing that a vegan diet seriously lacks. And I think that’s why a lot of the people end up getting very skinny and quitting. Sure.
That was our podcast on the benefits of doing the carnivore diet. We hope you enjoyed the show. Bye.