I’ve recently seen people in some of the online low carb diet groups asking about the Zero Carb Diet and if it’s good for weight loss. So, I thought it would be a good idea to address a few questions about it in this article.
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The Zero Carb Diet is the latest trend in diets and is exactly what it sounds like – a diet with zero carbs. It eliminates carbohydrates from your meals, which are normally your body’s main source of energy. Those who follow the Zero Carb Diet would instead opt for foods that contain mainly proteins, just like the carnivore diet.
When following the carnivore diet, you only eat animal foods, which is why this diet is perfect for meat lovers. But is the Zero Carb Diet good for weight loss? Is it healthy for humans?
Let’s take a look at the zero carb diet and its benefits and determine if it’s really effective in helping you to lose weight.
What is a Zero Carb Diet?
The Zero Carb Diet eliminates all carbs from your diet. While others eat seeds, nuts, and other vegetables in favor of carbs, most people who follow the diet opt for meat. This is why the carnivore diet has become very popular. It’s a diet that’s high in fat and protein and consists mainly of eating animals.
There’s no other strict rule to follow in the zero carb diet. It has no macro requirements, no portions, and no timing to adhere to. People who follow the diet eat whenever they are hungry and stop when they are full.
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What is a Carnivore Diet?
The Zero Carb Diet comes in different forms but it is the carnivore diet that is considered the most popular. It stems from the belief that our ancestors ate mostly fish and meat during the ancient times, which is why they tend to live longer.
Many also believe that it is the modern day’s high-carb diets that are to blame for the increasing number of chronic diseases in this day and age.
According to Ariane Hundt, a clinical nutrition coach who is based in New York City,
“The carnivore diet is a way of eating that includes only animal foods, such as meats, fish, eggs, and dairy. It does not prescribe specific amounts of protein and fat, and simply excludes carbohydrates.”
Some versions of the diet include coffee and animal products such as cream, butter, cheese, and eggs. But most of those who follow the carnivore diet only eat meat and drink water, and nothing else.
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The carnivore diet is basically a hardcore version of the low carb, high-fat diets like keto. The ketogenic diet limits the consumption of carbs, the carnivore diet totally eliminates them.
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But while keto has a number of proven health benefits, there are not enough studies done on carnivore diets especially in terms of its long-term benefits. There is however a wealth of success stories on the carnivore diet online.
Some of the followers are said to have achieved significant results in terms of weight loss and improvement of their mental wellbeing.
Is the Zero Carb Carnivore Diet Good For You?
The Carnivore Diet may not work for some people. This especially true for those who suffer from chronic kidney disease and must limit their protein consumption. Also, people who are sensitive to cholesterol in foods must be cautious on the amount of meat that they eat, since these are high-cholesterol foods.
Although advocates of the Carnivore Diet claim that it’s totally safe and effective, especially in terms of losing weight, the diet can actually pose some health problems.
While protein is an essential nutrient made of amino acids, and fats are a good source of fuel, eating meat alone is not enough to fulfill our body’s daily nutritional needs.
It’s also worth noting that eating red meat alone also comes with negative consequences especially in the long run. Several studies have linked red meat to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer.
Lack of nutrients in the zero carb diet
According to Alyssa Ardolina, RD, a registered dietitian and nutrition communications manager for the International Food Council Foundation,
“If you’re only eating meat, your diet will lack the nutrients found in the fruits, vegetables, legumes, or whole grains that you’ve omitted from your diet,”
While it’s true that our ancestors ate animal foods for millions of years, they also eat plant-based foods. During times of famine, hunter-gatherers would eat whatever they found that could help them survive, including different species of vegetation.
Also, the meat that our ancestors ate came from animals raised in the wild and is totally different from the meat that we have today, which is taken mostly from commercially raised animals.
Since meat is a good source of energy, it’s highly possible that our ancestors relied on meat for energy, but plant foods also play a role in their diet. Studies show that humans are natural omnivores and follow different diets depending on the kind of environment that they live in.
Is the Carnivore Diet Good For Weight Loss?
Certain aspects of the zero carb diets like the Carnivore Diet may effectively lead to weight loss. This is because protein can help you to feel full easily, which minimizes unhealthy cravings. Also, protein can help to improve your metabolism level and make you burn more calories.
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Detox effects of a meat only diet & weight loss
Some amino acids that come from the protein are used by the liver in the detox pathways to eliminate toxic chemicals. We know that many chemicals that get stored in our bodies are hormone mimics and as such can cause weight gain and difficulty in losing weight.
So providing you have a strong digestion to fully digest the protein to release the amino acids then from the point of view of eliminating toxic chemicals it could be good.
On the other hand the process of detoxification results in the creating of free radicals and animal protein is not a good source of antioxidants.
Your body produces some antioxidants on its own provided you have enough of the right nutrients such as Vitamins C, A and E and the minerals selenium, zinc and manganese.
It’s generally accepted that you need to include plant food in our diets to obtain enough antioxidants for good health.
Lack of Research
Eating meat alone is not the best approach to losing weight. There’s not enough research done on the long-term effects of the carnivore diets in terms of weight loss.
Due to the risks associated with eating red meat, it may be safer to follow a low carb diet instead of opting for the zero carb diets that consist mainly of meat.
For instance, you can follow a ketogenic diet with low carb vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds. As a low carb, high-fat diet, you can still continue eating meat, preferably grass-fed, with keto, which is why it can work for meat lovers.
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But unlike the zero carb diet, keto does not restrict you from eating vegetables and other foods, so you will not miss out on the other nutrients that your body needs.
It’s also possible to combine carnivore and keto diet by simply adding butter on your carnivore diet and eating more animal fats. But try to maintain a healthy balance between your intake of protein and fats for better results.
While the carnivore diet may have a lot of positive feedback online and works almost the same as the keto, there’s not enough clinical evidence proving its effectiveness and safety for the long-term. Therefore, at the moment, the Low Carb Paleo Diet or Ketogenic diet is still the best way to go if you want to lose weight in a safer and healthier way.
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