Carnivore diet vs. lion diet benefits & side effects
What is the lion diet?
What is the Lion diet?
In ancient times, people were imposed on working hard and functioning well in extreme conditions even when food is scarce. Numerous research studies have also enumerated the role of intermittent energy restriction of at least 16 h can help improve the conditions related to various diseases and improve health indicators.
Intermittent fasting not only increases fat metabolism but also promotes ketone production. This prevents the cells from undergoing molecular damage by repairing the cells. Fasting also stimulates the adaptive cellular stress responses, which prevents the cells from oxidative stress.1.
Eating patterns in modern societies constitute three meals plus snacks every day. It is considered to be abnormal from an evolutionary perspective. Intermittent fasting can help overcome various health problems like obesity, arthritis, neurodegenerative disorders, CVD, and many others. Intermittent energy restriction is becoming very popular nowadays, where people are adopting different ways to follow it. Lion diet is also a type of intermittent energy restriction where people try to consume as the lions do. Lions consume like a feast and fast like famine. Eating like lions means trying to eat food just twice or thrice a day. Most people who have followed this lion diet have modified it by not eating for one or two days and eating just one large meal on the other day.1.
What's the Carnivore Diet?
The Carnivore diet is a very restrictive consisting only of meat and animal products. It does not have any model of feasting and fasting built-in. It's claimed to assist weight loss, mood problems, and blood glucose regulation, among other health difficulties. However, the diet is very restrictive and probably unhealthy in the long run. Additionally, no study backs its supposed benefits. This report reviews the Carnivore Diet, such as whether it can aid weight reduction, its potential benefits and drawbacks, and how to follow it. The Carnivore Diet is a restrictive diet that only includes meat, fish, and other animal foods like eggs and certain dairy products. It excludes other foods, such as fruits, veggies, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. Its proponents also suggest eliminating or restricting dairy intake to foods that are low in lactose - a sugar found in milk and dairy products -- such as butter and hard cheeses.
The Carnivore Diet has its roots in the belief that ancestral human inhabitants ate mostly fish and meat and that high-carb diets are to blame for the high rates of chronic illness. Other popular low-carb diets, such as the keto and paleo diets, limit but do not exclude carb intake. However, the Carnivore Diet aims for zero carbohydrates. Shawn Baker, an American orthopedic doctor, is the most famous proponent of the Carnivore Diet. He cites testimonials from individuals who follow the Carnivore Diet as evidence it can treat depression, anxiety, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and much more. However, no study has researched the effects of the Carnivore Diet.
Benefits of lion diet
Intermittent fasting in the lion diet is known to have profound health benefits. Some of them are listed below:
- Helps overcome obesity:
Overeating results in obesity and many other disorders like insulin resistance and diabetes. When a person eats more than the body requirement, it impairs the ability of brain insulin to control the release of glucose from the liver and lipolysis in fat tissue. This can be controlled through intermittent fasting. Alternate-day fasting can enhance insulin sensitivity more than daily calorie restriction.1.
- Improves cardiovascular health: Intermittent energy restriction helps lower blood pressure, hypertension, and obesity. However, the mechanisms behind this observation have not been clarified. But some research studies have shown that reduced caloric intake decreases the sympathetic nervous activity accompanied by the reduced release of cardiac norepinephrine, thus causing reduced sympathetic support of blood pressure.6.
- Delays Aging: Aging is associated with the cellular deterioration that results in an overall loss of function of the organism. Cellular components like mitochondria are involved in cellular metabolism and require continuous recycling and regeneration throughout the lifespan. Intermittent energy restriction induces mitochondrial biogenesis and helps increase mitochondrial oxidative capacity. This can help prevent age-related decline in the skeletal muscle. Thus, Calorie Restriction (CR) without malnutrition helps increase the average lifespan of cells and slows down the aging process.4.
- Neuroprotective effects: Intermittent calorie restriction is proved to have beneficial effects in treating neurodegenerative disorders. It can help protect neurons against oxidative damage. Animal studies have also revealed that alternate-day fasting can stimulate the production of several different neuroprotective proteins, like antioxidant enzymes, proteins involved in mitochondrial function, and chaperones protein. Studies have also shown intermittent fasting to improve cognitive function in neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease by reducing metabolic and proteotoxic stress. It also increases the production of various trophic factors that prevent neuronal degeneration, promotes neurogenesis, and strengthens the formation of synapses in the brain.2.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Inflammatory diseases include a broad range of conditions, including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, and cancers, all of which are characterized by chronic inflammation in the affected tissues. Intermittent fasting on alternate days can reduce the circulating levels of inflammatory mediators in the body and help overcome the pain and inflammation in the various inflammatory disorders.3.
- Regulates circadian rhythm: Circadian rhythm regulates our day and night cycle and affects activity/rest as well as feeding/fasting cycle. The modern lifestyle includes consuming three meals a day which, when taken at irregular periods, can lead to erratic eating patterns. This, in turn, may have perturbations on the body's metabolism and physiology. The pattern of food intake can affect the liver, peripheral tissues, and adipose tissues due to altered metabolism. Intermittent fasting and meal taken at earlier time intervals may help in weight-loss therapy in obese and overweight individuals.1,2.
- Reduce oxidative stress and damage to the cells: Intermittent energy restriction can prevent oxidative stress by correcting the imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in your body. Intermittent energy restriction helps increase levels of antioxidant enzymes like catalase, superoxide dismutase, NADH-cytochrome reductase, and many others. Thus it helps protects the cells against injury and disease.1,4.
Benefits & risks of carnivore diet
Can a carnivore diet help you lose weight?
- Certain details of the Carnivore Diet can result in weight loss. Specifically, some studies have demonstrated that high-protein and low-fat diets may encourage weight loss. The weight loss can possibly occur because protein can help you feel fuller after meals, which might result in reduced calorie intake and subsequent weight loss. Protein may also increase your metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories. Therefore, following the Carnivore Diet would likely allow you to feel fuller and eat fewer calories overall - at least in the short term. Studies indicate that increasing protein intake and reducing carbohydrate intake may result in more sustained weight loss than other diets lower in protein and high in carbohydrates. However, you don't need to fully eliminate carbs to eliminate weight. Instead of reducing your overall caloric intake, which might be easier to do with a greater intake of satisfying protein, it is the most important driver of weight loss. Additionally, the highly restrictive nature of the Carnivore Diet makes it tough to follow long term.
Benefits of the Carnivore Diet
Considering that the Carnivore Diet excludes carbohydrates, it removes candy, sodas, cookies, cakes, pastries, and similar high-carb foods. These foods are low in nutrients that are beneficial and frequently high in calories. Thus, they ought to be restricted in a healthy, balanced diet. High-sugar foods may also be problematic for those who have diabetes since they can spike blood sugar levels. In actuality, limiting processed carbohydrates and sugary foods is often suggested to control diabetes. However, the complete elimination of carbohydrates on the Carnivore Diet isn't recommended or necessary for diabetes control. Instead, eating smaller quantities of healthy, high-fiber carbs that don't cause spikes in blood glucose is recommended.
Risks of the Carnivore Diet
Due to the highly restrictive nature and total elimination of the vast majority of food groups, there are lots of drawbacks to the Carnivore Diet. Consuming large amounts of saturated fat on the Carnivore Diet may be of concern. No study has examined the effects of ingesting animal foods exclusively. As a result, the effects of consuming these high levels of cholesterol and fat are unknown.
- High in cholesterol, fat, and sodium: Given that the Carnivore Diet consists only of animal foods, it may be high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Saturated fat can elevate your LDL (bad) cholesterol, which may raise your risk of heart disease. Some processed meats, contain high levels of sodium. Eating a lot of foods in the Carnivore Diet may lead to excess sodium, which can increase the risk of elevated blood pressure, kidney disease, and other negative health effects.
- Processed meat intake can lead to higher rates of certain kinds of cancer, such as colon and rectal cancer.
- May lack specific micronutrients and beneficial plant chemicals. The Carnivore Diet eliminates highly nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, all of which contain beneficial minerals and vitamins. While meat is healthy and provides micronutrients, it shouldn't be the only portion of your diet. A restrictive diet like the Carnivore Diet can result in deficiencies in certain nutrients and the overconsumption of others. Diets abundant in plant-based foods can lower the risk of certain chronic conditions like heart disease, certain cancers, Alzheimer's, and type 2 diabetes. This is not merely because of the high vitamin, fiber, and mineral contents of plant foods but also their valuable plant chemicals and antioxidants. The Carnivore Diet doesn't contain these compounds and hasn't been associated with any long-term health benefits.
- No fiber: Fiber, a non-digestible carbohydrate that promotes bowel health and healthy bowel movements, is only found in plant foods. Carnivore Diet contains no fiber, which might cause constipation in some people.
Furthermore, fiber is extremely important for the proper balance of bacteria in your gut. In actuality, suboptimal gut health may cause several issues and could even be linked to weakened immunity and colon cancer. One study in 17 men with obesity discovered a high-protein, low-carb diet significantly decreased their levels of substances that help protect against colon cancer, compared to high-protein, moderate-carb diets. In general, the Carnivore Diet may damage your gut health.
- Carnivore diet may not be suited to some people: The Carnivore Diet may be particularly problematic for particular populations. Those who should restrict their protein intake, for example, individuals with chronic kidney disease, shouldn't stick to the diet. People who are more sensitive to the cholesterol in foods, or cholesterol hyper-responders, ought to be careful about consuming so many high-cholesterol meals. Additional particular populations with special nutrient needs would probably not meet them on the Carnivore Diet. Including children and pregnant or lactating women. People who have anxiety about food or fight with restrictive eating shouldn't try this diet.
Symptoms when starting the Carnivore Diet
Symptoms getting adapted to the Carnivore Diet
Brain fog, headache, chills, sore throat, gastrointestinal problems, nausea, irritability, poor breath/smells, bad taste in the mouth, dry mouth, cravings, nausea, diarrhea, poor attention, muscular soreness, jaw soreness, and diminished performance, energy, and drive, insomnia, night sweats, cramping, rapid heartbeat, and nocturia (peeing a lot at night).
If you're coming out of a ketogenic (keto) or higher fat/low carbohydrate diet (HFLC), the transition is usually easier than from a Standard American Diet (SAD) that's high in carbohydrates. These symptoms are due to your body undergoing significant metabolic and hormonal fluctuations.
The Lion diet is more about feasting and intermittent fasting, whereas the Carnivore Diet is only about animal meat-only diet. Emerging findings suggest that the frequency and timing of meals may influence the health of an individual largely. Different types of intermittent fasting exist that include a cycle between periods of eating and fasting. Though intermittent fasting has powerful benefits for your body and brain, it is difficult to follow it generally due to the human tendency of rewarding themselves after doing very hard work, which may lead to indulging in unhealthy dietary habits during non-fasting days.
The Carnivore Diet is very restrictive, consisting entirely of meat, fish, eggs, and tiny quantities of low-lactose dairy. It's thought to assist weight loss and lots of health problems, but no study backs these claims. It is high in sodium and fat, contains no fiber or beneficial plant chemicals, and it is hard to keep long term. The Carnivore Diet is highly restrictive. Eating a balanced diet with many different healthful foods is much more sustainable and will probably yield you more health benefits.
1. Mattson MP, Allison DB, Fontana L, et al. Meal frequency and timing in health and disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014;111(47):16647–16653. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1413965111.
2. Lee C, Longo V. Dietary restriction with and without caloric restriction for healthy aging. F1000Res. 2016;5:F1000 Faculty Rev-117. Published 2016 Jan 29. DOI:10.12688/f1000research.7136.1
3. Redman LM, Ravussin E. Caloric restriction in humans: impact on physiological, psychological, and behavioral outcomes. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2011;14(2):275–287. DOI:10.1089/ars.2010.3253
4. Cava, Edda & Fontana, Luigi. (2013). Will calorie restriction work in humans?. Aging. 5. 507-14. 10.18632/aging.100581.
5. Fontana, Luigi. (2009). The scientific basis of caloric restriction leading to a longer life. Current opinion in gastroenterology. 25. 144-50. 10.1097/MOG.0b013e32831ef1ba.
6. Han X, Ren J. Caloric restriction and heart function: is there a sensible link?. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2010;31(9):1111–1117. DOI:10.1038/aps.2010.146
7. Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation. June 2017.
8. Healthy Diet. World Health Organization. August 2018.
9. Please Do Not Try to Survive on an All-Meat Diet. Popular Science. August 2018.
10. Zhao Z, Yin Z, Zhao Q. Red and Processed Meat Consumption and Gastric Cancer Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Onctotarget. May 2017.
11. Mujcic R, Oswald AJ. Evolution of Well-Being and Happiness After Increases in Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables. American Journal of Public Health. August 2016.