What is the Carnivore Diet?
The Carnivore Diet is an extreme, restrictive diet which consists solely of meat and animal products excluding all other food groups. Proponents of the Carnivore diet hail it as cure-all for a myriad of health issues while opponents condemn it as too restrictive and likely unhealthy long term.
Overview of Diabetes
The internet is littered with stores of diabetics improving or even curing their diabetes by following the Carnivore Diet. But what’s the science behind this and does it really work?
Lets start with a quick overview on diabetes. Diabetes impairs your body’s ability to make insulin, insulin is a hormone which releases the sugar (glucose) from your food and allows it to enter your cells where it is used for energy.
So without adequate insulin to release the blood sugar, it accumulates in the blood. As a result, the bodys cells are deprived of energy. High blood sugar levels can cause damage to the heart, eyes, kidneys and in extreme cases can lead to coma and potentially death.
The Carnivore Diet and Diabetes.
So, how does the carnivore benefit diabetics, does it benefit them at all? Well, yes and no.
Because the Carnivore diet is so restrictive, containing almost zero carbohydrates which are broken down into glucose, it eliminates the problem of high blood sugar.
But how does the body get its energy then? In the absence of carbohyrates to use as fuel the body will switch to a secondary or backup mechanism for providing energy to your cells. This process is known as Ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs.
The problem with this method is it’s only effective if you are extremely vigilant in following it. If you decided to carb up during your diet, you will break the ketosis cycle and your body will flip flop between ketosis and glycolysis which is not good.
The Carnivore Diet does not cure diabetes
While the Carnivore Diet can help alleviate the symptoms associated with high blood sugar, it’s worth noting it does not actually treat the condition and in fact is highly likely to make it worse. The Carnivore diet is extremely high in saturated fat. Numerous studies have shown that saturated fat negatively affects insulin-sensitivity.
This means if you decided to come off the Carnivore diet, you will be significantly worse off than before in terms of insulin sensitivity.
Is it recommended
I would not recommend the Carnivore Diet. It may provide temporary relief for diabetics but the long terms affects could be devastating.
It’s also worth nothing that while eating burgers and fried chicken all day may sound attractive, all elimination diets are extremely hard to adhere to strictly and most people end quitting or cheating.