+1 vote
in General Factchecking by Novice (880 points)
According to this video via TikTok, a popular social media platform, the ketogenic "carnivore" diet is successful in the prevention and reduction of many diseases. This video, which features an unnamed woman presenting a speech makes many bold claims and references multiple studies.

Some of the claims mentioned in the video:

"Ruminant meat is the only food that people can actually survive on as a single food without supplementing anything else."

"If you use meat as the first food for a baby, their head circumference is actually larger than babies fed without meat."

Is there any truth behind these bold claims?

10 Answers

+2 votes
by Journeyman (3.3k points)
selected by
 
Best answer

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-carnivore-diet/

This Cleveland Clinic article states that "The carnivore diet is high in saturated fats which can cause elevated LDL or bad cholesterol and put you at risk for heart disease." That's at the very least one disease that the carnivore diet isn't treating. Also in this article, registered dietician Kate Patton says, "'If you have a pre-existing chronic condition, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, any history of stroke or other cardiovascular diseases, you should definitely not try this diet.'"

RATING: False

Addressing the additional claims:

https://health.selfdecode.com/blog/carnivore-diet/

This article investigates nutrient deficiencies in the carnivore diet. One vitamin in particular, "Vitamin C is a very difficult essential nutrient to get in a carnivore diet." The article goes more in depth about how this is nearly impossible without extremely fine tuning your diet. It also lists that an all grass-fed beef diet would cause a vitamin C deficiency, which is of note, since cows are the most prominent ruminant. Even if it's possible to survive only off of ruminant meat, you still have the other health issues to worry about.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16456417/

This study found that babies who were given meat as a COMPLEMENT to breast-milk did in fact have bigger head circumference at 7-12 months. That being said, this doesn't prove anything about the carnivore diet, as the babies ate meat as a complement to breast-milk, which is extremely nutritious on its own. They didn't eat just meat. Meat can be quite nutritious, but problems arise when you limit yourself only to meat, as shown in the Cleveland Clinic article.

False
by Genius (36.2k points)
I like the effort you put into finding multiple, credible sources and addressing the claim that head circumference is larger on a keto diet! Also, the below source looked at many of the positives of a keto diet but ultimately there isn't enough research to corroborate the claim.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41392-021-00831-w
+1 vote
by Apprentice (1.0k points)

According to the U.S. News & World Report, a carnivore diet can lead to several chronic illnesses such as high cholesterol and heart disease.

This information proves that the carnivore diet isn't meant for humans. Human beings need a well-balanced meal consisting of grains, vegetables, fruits, and healthy protein. 

https://health.usnews.com/wellness/food/articles/carnivore-diet-reviews-everything-you-need-to-know#:~:text=The%20carnivore%20diet%20is%20just,evolve%20to%20life%20off%20meat.

False
+1 vote
by Apprentice (1.0k points)

The claim that ketogenic carnivorous diets can aid in curing all diseases, is exaggerated and misleading. In fact, according to the Harvard Article I have attached below, this is quite the opposite. Harvard associates said, "The keto diet could cause low blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, nutrient deficiencies, and an increased risk of heart disease. Strict diets like keto could also cause social isolation or disordered eating. Keto is unsafe for those with any conditions involving their pancreas, liver, thyroid, or gallbladder." While the keto diet has been proven to help in weight loss, it does tend to cause diseases.

Exaggerated/ Misleading
+1 vote
by Apprentice (1.1k points)

The claim that a carnivorous diet is effective in treating all diseases is misleading, exaggerated, and false. 

An article by the Cleveland Clinic proves this false. In a diet that consists only of meat, you will be consuming lots of saturated fats. This will significantly raise your cholesterol (LDL) levels, which will make you far more prone to heart disease. You will also not be consuming carbohydrates, which your body needs to function, and be consuming practically zero fiber, which will wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal system. 

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-carnivore-diet/

In an article published by Forbes, they have multiple medical professionals weigh in on the diet. "The carnivore diet can lead to an increased risk of developing heart disease because it prioritizes foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty steaks, which can elevate cholesterol levels, Arsenault says."

You may also experience vitamin and mineral deficiencies because this diet is so restrictive, Brikho says. Without plant-based nutrients, it will be challenging to get the vitamins A, C and B12 you need into your daily intake

In fact, the lack of fiber most concerns Alison Acerra, a registered dietary nutritionist in San Francisco. “This sets the stage for digestive health issues and imbalances in the gut microbiome that, over time, increase risk of chronic physical and mental health problems,” Acerra says.

In fact, the lack of fiber most concerns Alison Acerra, a registered dietary nutritionist in San Francisco. “This sets the stage for digestive health issues and imbalances in the gut microbiome that, over time, increase risk of chronic physical and mental health problems,” Acerra says.

“There are other significantly healthier and more balanced eating strategies that include plant-based foods, which can be used to elicit the same purported results,” Acerra says. “[You] can also get those same results in a way that will improve your health, protect against chronic disease and be more environmentally sustainable.”

https://www.forbes.com/health/body/what-is-the-carnivore-diet/#:~:text=The%20carnivore%20diet%20can%20lead,seeds%20could%20increase%20your%20risk.

In other words, this diet comes with far more risks than it does benefits, and it does not treat or prevent diseases, 

Exaggerated/ Misleading
+1 vote
by Apprentice (1.0k points)
While the ketogenic diet can surely get to one's weight goals by digging into fat stores and using those as energy, it is not sustainable and has no concrete evidence for curing diseases. That being said, being on the keto diet long-term can actually cause a vast number of diseases. These include, according to the source listed below, kidney stones, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, nutrient deficiencies, and so much more.

https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/health-and-wellness-articles/ketogenic-diet-what-are-the-risks#:~:text=The%20keto%20diet%20could%20cause,%2C%20liver%2C%20thyroid%20or%20gallbladder.
False
by Genius (36.2k points)
Don't forget to attribute your findings to the source. For instance you can say "According to the University of Chicago..."
0 votes
by Novice (760 points)

This claim is false. 

Cleveland Clinic's "health essentials" says that the carnivore diet "is high in saturated fats which can cause elevated LDL or bad cholesterol and put you at risk for heart disease. What’s more, many different kinds of processed meats like bacon and some lunch meats are loaded with sodium and have been linked to certain types of cancer." The clinic also says that because of the low amount of fiber in this diet, you would become very constipated. 

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-carnivore-diet/

False
+1 vote
by Apprentice (1.0k points)
This statement is false.  It is true, however, "keto" diets may improve chronic illnesses for a short period of time.  The National Library of Medicine says, "Ketogenic diets may provide short-term improvement and aid in symptom management for some chronic diseases."  The key phrase in this passage is "short-term".

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8322232/#:~:text=Very%2Dlow%2Dcarbohydrate%20ketogenic%20diets,management%20for%20some%20chronic%20diseases.

Another study published in the National Library of Medicine states that, "There is evidence to suggest that a KD can help with weight loss, visceral adiposity, and appetite control."  This portrays the benefits of a keto diet, and a reason why many people choose to adapt to this lifestyle, but does not portray any "cure all" capabilities that people may spread rumors about.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8153354/#:~:text=There%20is%20evidence%20to%20suggest,and%20lowering%20triglycerides%20(TG).

In fact, many people believe the risks of keto outweigh its benefits.  An article published by the medical school mentions that the diet is high in saturated fat, and that, "...the keto diet is associated with an increase in "bad" LDL cholesterol, which is also linked to heart disease."  This not only shows how the Keto diet is not a cure-all, but that it can also be detrimental to one's health.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-try-the-keto-diet
False
0 votes
by Novice (580 points)
The claim that one diet (being the keto carnivore diet) can be beneficial and healthy for the entire human population is false and misleading. Each body is unique and there is no uniform combination of foods that will work for anyone, regardless of age or health background. The ketogenic carnivore diet has proven to be unsafe for a variety of people, posing long-term health risks such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease and negatively affecting pregnant women and kidney disease patients in particular. A diet consisting of only meat restricts necessary carbs, increases "bad" cholesterol levels, can lead to weight gain and is linked to higher risk of neural tube defects in babies whose pregnant mothers are on a keto diet. Overall, while a keto carnivore diet may work for a select population, it has not been shown to cure or prevent "many" diseases and may increase one's risk to long term health problems.

source: https://www.pcrm.org/news/news-releases/most-comprehensive-review-yet-keto-diets-finds-heart-risks-cancer-risk-dangers
False
0 votes
by Newbie (360 points)

In some cases, this can be true. Expert on Ketogenic diets Professor Jeff Volek of The Ohio State University stated, “There is a growing body of work that links excessive sugar intake to abnormal brain chemistry that manifests in different ways such as depression. Thus, by virtue of cutting back on sugar and processed carbs, a ketogenic diet may improve mood state. The increase in circulating ketones may also directly benefit brain chemistry and function in ways that improve depression,”.

While this is true, experts warn that eating exclusively meat can lead to health issues such as scurvy, constipation and inflammation of the colon.

Exaggerated/ Misleading
0 votes
by Novice (500 points)

Now, this claim isn't all false. I feel that the claim is just broad. The real answer is that it can lead to the prevention of those diseases. According to Healthline.com "This is mostly because protein can help you feel more full after meals, which may lead to reduced calorie intake and subsequent weight loss. Protein can also increase your metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories" When you burn more calories then you eat you will lose weight and when you lose weight it will decrease your chance of heart disease and stuff like that. 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/carnivore-diet#weight-loss 

Exaggerated/ Misleading

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