Can I Do a Carnivore Diet Long Term?

Carnivore diets are gaining traction as a short-term way to enable weight loss. However, even if you’re enjoying the short-term benefits, you might still be wondering about the long term effects or impact of this diet.  So, can you do a carnivore diet long term? Maybe. There are not enough studies that confirm the long-term […]
Josh Koop
April 4, 2020

Carnivore diets are gaining traction as a short-term way to enable weight loss. However, even if you’re enjoying the short-term benefits, you might still be wondering about the long term effects or impact of this diet. 

So, can you do a carnivore diet long term? Maybe. There are not enough studies that confirm the long-term physiological and physical health benefits of an all-meat diet. An increasing number of testimonials show us it can reduce the symptoms of life-long conditions and promotes a healthy lifestyle, but there are currently no studies to back up these claims. 

Are you wondering what is going to happen to your body and health if you eliminate vegetables and carbs from your diet? Find out how long you should keep up the carnivore diet for below!

How Long Should Your Carnivore Diet Be?

As for any other diet, your Carnivore diet should be enough to allow you to reach the goals you had set before starting your new lifestyle. 

Due to their overly-restrictive nature, many low-carb and no-carb dieters usually last between three and six months, with some people sticking to it for up to two years. Like in other situations, there are exceptions to the rule. Indeed, some renowned carnivore testimonials have completed the transition from a timed diet to a life-long, all-meat lifestyle without significant issues. 

If you are starting your journey, you should keep in mind that experts suggest keeping it up for at least one month, but the ideal timeframe for it is three months. This timeframe derives from the fact that the first 30 days are necessary for your body to complete the adaptation period. 

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During this time, your body will be switching into ketosis. Your body won’t be sourcing your energy from carbs anymore, but, instead, it will be breaking down fats and, when required, proteins to obtain energy. This process usually starts within a few days of you eliminating carbohydrates like sugars and fibers from your diet. 

During the adaptation period, it is also common to experience digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhea. This problem is related to your body needing to deal exclusively with two macronutrients, which are now present in a greater quantity than before. 

Indeed, the amount of fat and protein in your new carnivore diet might be much higher than you are used to, which causes your body to process it or expel it without the full processing since the gut microbiome is shifting.

Lastly, the adaptation period should be the stricter time of your diet as your body needs to detox from the addiction-like feeling to carbs and sugars. This timeframe can vary significantly from individual to individual and can bring a range of side effects such as:

  • Sweat
  • Poor sleep
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Reduced ability to focus
  • Headaches
  • Skin rashes
  • Appetite swings

All these symptoms are typical as you undergo the adaptation period, which is potentially the less enjoyable time while on the carnivore diet. 

However, this time is when you are going to start seeing the results of your efforts. You are likely to experience a rapid weight drop as you get rid of the water associated with carbs and change your eating habits. For many, this can be anywhere from one to TEN pounds!

It is worth noting that abandoning or cheating on the diet on or just after this period can compromise the results of the diet itself. Indeed, interrupting ketosis and introducing carbs back in your diet will rapidly bring back most of the lost water weight and the digestive problems you had experienced at the beginning of it.

As we have mentioned, you should stay on an all-meat diet as long as you need to reach your fitness and health goals. However, don’t forget that it is also essential to feel comfortable in this lifestyle to be able to keep it up long-term.

The Effects of a Long-Term Carnivore Diet 

If you have completed your adaptation period, and you are now almost at the end of your three-month experience, you might be wondering whether you can do it long-term. 

Most of the changes in your body that this eating habit promotes happen within the first thirty days. At this time, your gut microbiome and metabolic process adapt to the new lifestyle, and you start to lose weight. Yet, the long-term effects of this diet are not certain as there is a substantial lack of studies on the subject.

Below you can find out why many individuals decide to follow it only for a shorter period of time. At the same time, we will have a look at the motivations for keeping it up throughout your lifetime!

Total Elimination of Plant-Based Foods

Of course, this is the primary concern for most individuals. Going against everything that teachers, parents, dietitians, and TV have always been telling you? Is that a wise decision? 

To work correctly on your mind and body, the carnivore diet requires you to give up all fibers, carbs, fruit, veggies, nuts, and seeds.

Even if for many years we have believed that greens and grains were essential for our health, studies support the idea that the carnivore diet can help you with the following:

  • Eliminate detrimental alcohol, sugars, refined carbs, and processed foods from your diet, naturally offering you a healthier lifestyle
  • Mimic fasting, as the glucose levels in your blood, will be stable throughout the day in the absence of spikes caused by carbs and sugars. 
  • Produce little unabsorbed foods, keeping your bowels more steady and balanced

At the same time, the food restrictions that come with the diet may cause nutritional deficiencies, though this is based on the RDA, not an exact science, concerning essential compounds like:

  • Folate and folic acids
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K2
  • Manganese and magnesium

A Change in Your Metabolic Process

After your first days on the carnivore diet, your body will switch to ketosis, a metabolic adaptation that happens in the lack of carbs or sugars. Indeed, once you have cut out one of the main three macronutrients (carbohydrates), your body needs to extract calories from other sources, which is typically fat, whether from food or body fat stores, and then protein if limited fat is available.

This change in the metabolic process is one of the main reasons behind rapid weight loss, increased mental clarity and energy levels, and a lower propensity to bloating and digestive problems. However, a sudden change can suddenly bring back constipation, diarrhea, and nausea you experienced during the adaptation period.

Many users that emerged from low-carb or no-carb diets after many years report seeing an increase in body weight, skin rashes, acne outbursts, and digestive problems. This is typically due to all those irritants being added back to the diet and a carbohydrate diet adds water weight of up to 10 pounds.

It Can Feel Overly-Restrictive

It may be the most apparent reason, but many individuals give up on the carnivore diet after a month or two due to its restrictive nature. Indeed, your menu and meal plan choices will include only a handful of animal-based ingredients, which can make this lifestyle extremely repetitive. 

If you are looking at being a carnivore for the years to come, you should examine whether you need to allow an exception to your diet to maintain it. If you do, experts suggest planning for cheating in advance as it will make recovery faster. 

Final Thoughts

The carnivore diet is becoming an increasingly popular life choice for many. While the immediate, short-term benefits are incredible and undeniable, there are not enough studies that confirm the beneficial effects on mind and body in the long run. 

Several testimonials have confirmed that the diet is viable for many years, and they have kept it up even through pregnancies. Ultimately, you should feel comfortable in it and embrace the needs of your body.

If you read this far you are amazing! I would love to hear from you in the comments below if I helped you gain knowledge and useful information, additionally I would like to know if I got anything incorrect that you believe should be researched more and updated. As always to get the word out please join our new Carnivore Rx group on Facebook and share this out on social media!

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