Jordan Peterson is one of the most famous intellectuals right now and he recently said on the Joe Rogan show that he pretty much only eats meat.
So in this post I want to talk about this Carnivore Diet and answer the most common questions people have, for example if it’s healthy and if it’s right for the average person.
What is the Carnivore Diet?
Carnivore stands for “meat eater” and describes any animal that gets its energy and nutrients from mostly or only animal tissue. That means if you are a carnivore the large majority of your diet consists of meat.
Depending on who you ask you might also add eggs, fish and dairy to your meal plan but Jordan Peterson actually said that all he eats is meat and some “greens”, which he didn’t specify but I assume he means things like spinach, kale or leafy greens.
Peterson said he adopted this diet after his daughter recommended it. Both of them suffer from a pretty heavy autoimmune disease.
This is a condition where your immune system treats your own body or specific organs as hostiles and mistakenly attacks them. This is like being allergic to yourself and it definitely sucks.
Peterson and his daughter both suffer from an autoimmune disease and what happened was that his daughter tried restricting her diet in different ways to see if it improved her condition.
She started eating only chicken and broccoli for a month and apparently it worked. As her condition improved she recommended this diet to Peterson who then also started the carnivore diet but instead of chicken and broccoli he would eat only meat and some greens.
No fruits, no other veggies, no whole grains and of course no junk food or candy.
Let’s see what happened then (3:17)…
All this sounds pretty awesome, right? But could this really be the benefit of a meat only diet?
Before I tell you why I don’t think that’s the case let me say that I don’t know Peterson personally and I have not seen his blood work nor do I know if it’s really true that his whole diet consist of only meat and some small amount of greens.
What (Probably) Happened…
But based on what we know from the Joe Rogan interview it’s very likely something else happened here.
Basically what Peterson did was follow a VERY restrictive diet. For example, the ketogenic diet is already pretty restrictive, but the carnivore goes one step further and also eliminates many sources of unsaturated fats such as nuts and legumes or vegetable oils.
So what probably happened is that this reduction of food intake to one or two sources eliminated any food or substances that was causing him problems before. So for example, let’s assume he has celiac disease and cannot tolerate gluten. By cutting out pretty much all carbs from his diet he also automatically eliminates all gluten along with them.
This obviously will improve his health condition, but doesn’t have to do with the carnivore diet. In fact, you see this a lot in people who adopt very restrictive diets. They feel better and think its because of what they are now eating when it’s actually because of what they are NOT eating anymore.
Peterson himself said that he ate a lot of bread and pasta before and it’s likely that this was low quality, highly processed white bread with basically no nutrients.
Is The Carnivore Diet Good For Weight Loss
This brings me to the next point, which is weight loss. Every time a new diet comes out it is usually praised as a weight loss diet. Peterson also said he lost several pounds each month on the carnivore diet.
You could say that that’s because meat is basically pure protein and some fat. Both can be very filling and we all know how stuffed you feel after a fatty steak. But the more likely reason why he lost weight was again because of what he didn’t eat.
Like all low carb diets, an all meat diet eliminates pretty much all junk food and candy. If you eat less of that you will most certainly lose weight.
Now, I’m not trying to diss Peterson here. I actually have a lot of respect for his work and if he found a diet that works for him then that’s all that matters.
But this video isn’t for him. It’s to help you as the average person decide if the carnivore diet would be a good diet to follow.
And here I have to say the answer is almost always a clear no.
Of course quality meat is a good source of protein, zinc and iron. But it can’t substitute a balanced diet and there is really no reasons why you should focus on a single food group in the first place.
Not only do such restrictive diets always increase the risks of deficiencies but they also don’t teach you the real essence of proper dieting, which is flexibility.
Learning to be flexible with your meal plan while still hitting your calories and macronutrients is so much more valuable than following the newest diet trend.
So if you are still on the fence about the carnivore diet or are looking for the best diet for weight loss my advice is to learn the fundamentals of nutrition first. You will see how much b.s. we are fed every day and how easy it can be to see results when you know what you are doing.