Is a carnivore diet healthy?

Could it be healthy to eat a plant-free, all-meat diet? A new study from Harvard suggests for a group of 2,000 people, it is! While this is low-quality data based on self reported information, it is an important first step in the scientific evaluation of an eating pattern many think is "crazy," and yet from which many see meaningful health improvements.

DD guide on the carnivore diet

Link to the study:

Table of content:
0:00 Introduction
0:51 Assessment of the study
3:05 Side effects of a carnivore diet
5:18 Macronutrient considerations
6:19 The benefit of a carnivore diet

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  1. Sam Saraguy on November 11, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    You can add my unreliable self-reporting to the list. I’m 66, and haven’t felt this good since I was in my 20s. I’ve lost a lot of weight, and multiple health issues have resolved. Keto since Dec ’19, carnivore since Dec ’20.

    • DBB on October 25, 2022 at 4:26 pm

      @Carnivore Shannon I’ve just started and I can’t sleep at all at night. I’m miserable during the day. Do you have any suggestions? Other than magnesium and electrolytes that might help an (already poor sleeper) no matter what I’m eating? This eating plan has just made it much worse. I don’t know if I can continue.

    • Carnivore Shannon on October 25, 2022 at 6:02 pm

      @DBB Well definitely do take the electrolytes. At first I might suggest taking potassium and magnesium separately so that you are getting more, because at first you’ll need more, especially if you’re coming from a high carb diet. And I would suggest taking magnesium glycinate or other ones that don’t cause diarrhea, as that’s usually already a side effect of your microbiome shifting and adjusting. Also make sure you getting plenty of salt, preferably on your food, but if you like unsalted food then add some a pinch to your water.

      But aside from that I would suggest trying either melatonin and/or valerian root and/or tart cherry extract. No, they’re not carnivore, but I believe in plants as medicine. I don’t personally take melatonin because it causes me to be agitated, but I do regularly take valerian root and tart cherry extract, and both help me to sleep.

      I would also make sure you’re getting plenty of fat. At VERY minimum half your calories should come from fat, but most people do much better at 80/20 fat/protein. So eat fatty meat, and add butter to lean meat.

      Aside from all of that just give it time, as there is an adjustment period for everyone, even coming from a low carb diet. Give it a full 90 days and then see where you are.

    • Willow Sage on October 27, 2022 at 2:05 am

      What electrolytes do you use?

    • Junelle Salmon on October 30, 2022 at 7:56 pm

      My sister said she got gout from starting carnivore

    • M Palmer on November 17, 2022 at 1:00 pm

      God bless you.. 60+ more years to you

  2. mgtowfish73 on November 11, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    I have been carnivore/omad for 3 years now, and i still feel great! I lost 50lbs, put my pre-diabetes in remission, lower blood pressure, and my cystic back acne cleared up! This way of eating is the real deal!

    • big bob on July 13, 2022 at 12:08 pm

      @Jafman Your ENTIRE initial comment was pedantic and served NO PURPOSE- just another YT warrior trying to create strife. Buhbye.

    • Jafman on July 13, 2022 at 12:25 pm

      @big bob your entire existence serves no purpose.

    • juspete on July 18, 2022 at 12:47 pm

      @Benny the Jet yo benny did you try it

    • sammy ocgirl on August 15, 2022 at 10:48 pm

      check your heart

    • Petru Tabacu on November 29, 2022 at 6:32 am

      @Default Camo you eat also eggs, butter, fat, some cheese, if you want.

  3. MJ S on November 11, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    My son is in medical school (MD school) in the northeast and is on the carnivore diet eating just 2 meals a day but with some added fruit. He keeps up with the research and wants to help change conventional medicine and it’s current approach which has made millions of people sick and die early.

    • 💛Rosegold on July 30, 2022 at 6:38 pm

      God bless him

    • Jesse Moe on September 7, 2022 at 12:22 pm

      What is healthy and what isn’t healthy changes like the wind… You can’t even trust researchers anymore and everybody is different which needs to be taken in consideration. Personally I never been overweight always athletic since starting boxing and don’t have any health problems. So I just keep eating in moderation. I feel like I go overkill on sugary drinks but it has yet to negatively affect me. So it’s hard to care.. 29 yrs old now..

    • Zbawienie jest wieczne / Salvation is eternal on November 12, 2022 at 6:46 pm

      MJ S your son is NOT on carniovore diet because he eats fruits which is nothing else just SUGAR. Please educate yourself what carniovore is.

    • nafaidni on November 25, 2022 at 5:46 pm

      He probably should look at the studies showing low carb diets raise mortality by 30% then. There’s basically no large scale research that backs a carnivore diet. Only anecdotes exist. It’s called survivorship bias. The many people who hit and quit the diet don’t bother talking about it on YouTube comments.

    • Teresa Spensley on November 27, 2022 at 2:00 pm

      Very best of luck to him 👏👍🏻🇬🇧🌟🥩

  4. April EK on November 11, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks Dr. Bret. I was not surprised at the “push back” on Twitter to this study. For those of us who are “really” interested in improving our health know what nutrieints and lifestyle changes work for us. Keep up the great work explaining these studies.

    • R. Sidd on February 17, 2022 at 9:35 am

      There’s always gonna be a pushback against it because it doesn’t benifit big pharma.

    • Evidence-Based Health UK on July 21, 2022 at 4:38 pm

      Push back lol

      Its a complete joke of a study if its the self reported “social media survey”.

      I mean the carnivore fad diet promoters won’t even entertain meta-analysis of numerous human RCT’s showing various plant foods to have health benefits or be healthy.

      Yet they put all their stock in a self reported “social media survey” from arguably the worlds most bias cult fans since the vegans.

      Having debated with carnivore fad diet promoter who have outright lied straight to my face claiming they were “100% strict carnivore for years” and after 2 seconds of weedling it out they had cheated with half a dozen plant-foods in the past year alone.

      I wouldn’t believe these carnivores if they told me it was raining outside, I’d still want to double check.

      Any “benefit” from weight loss to bloating reduction has a logical explanation.

  5. Richard Mathews on November 11, 2021 at 6:10 pm

    In retrospect, doing a well done carnivore study would be great. In the past looking at how meat and saturated fat affected health it was always done in the environment of high carb diets which we know drastically changes the outcome. If meat and saturated fat are so bad for us, a well done study should be showing people dropping like flies on a hot window sill, bring it on!

    • Evidence-Based Health UK on August 1, 2022 at 8:54 pm

      @Anass Some degree of plants are vital for health at the end of the day.

      There are lots of great health supportive fruits and vegetables, so yeah I feel they are a key component of any health balanced omnivorous diet pattern.

      Some of my favorite fruits include berries, pomegranates, kiwifruit, red grapes etc.

      Some of favorite vegetables include tomatoes, leafy greens, root vegetables etc

      However, there are numerous other healthy food-groups which are demonized by the carnivores and offer so many potential health benefits such as mushrooms, nuts such as walnuts for improving endothelial function/CVD, the likes of herbs, spices, green tea etc.

      Why anyone would militantly want to avoid the above when they are some of the worlds healthiest foods is just carnivore rhetoric sadly.

      A sad day when healthy plants are treated in an inrrational vegan-esque manner where they are removed from the diet completely based on some illogical reason 99% of the time or a misunderstanding of nutritional factors which actually have health benefits such as phytic acid, tannins etc, which have cardiovascular to anti-cancer potential benefits, have a higher affinity for binding to to free-iron, heavy metals etc

    • Majeed Mamah on August 23, 2022 at 6:22 am

      @Goldenhawk583 you cant find suitable plants in nature all year because of how humans have wrecked the ecology.

    • Goldenhawk583 on August 23, 2022 at 8:27 am

      @Majeed Mamah No.. sometimes yoyu cant find sutable plants because it is winter, they are in frozen ground, and covered with 6 feet of snow.. for months.

    • Rick Vasquez on November 1, 2022 at 12:17 am

      @Evidence-Based Health UK plants do not want to be eaten the only time a plant wants to be eaten is a fruit so we spread out the seeds. You can get all your nutrients from animals and a little fruit. Vegetables are a facade.

    • Dorcas McLeod on November 15, 2022 at 8:36 am

      @Hata Why you hating?
      It makes me smile.
      Name the studies.
      Check out Dr Paul Mason, I think you’ll like it.

  6. johnson paul on November 11, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    After having a heart bypass and discovering I was type 2 diabetic (11.2 A1C) I spent 4-5 months eating fairly “healthy” but nothing specific. Went vegan for a year and it fixed nothing. fatty liver remained. My A1C remained at 6.3 which I had gotten it down to with diet and meds. Still needed bp meds and my heart’s ejection fraction remained at 37%. I did a complete reverse and went carnivore and in 9 months my fatty liver was gone, bp meds were gone, A1C was 5.2 with no meds and my hearts ejection fraction was raised to 48%My trigs are 44 and HDL is 84, I ignore total and LDL cholesterol. Since then an echo has said my 20% blockage of the carotids is also gone. Carnivore for the rest of my life.

    • Goldenhawk583 on May 16, 2022 at 1:16 pm

      @Hata you want it to be wrong, while telling lies. Stable isotope testing shows that humans ate no less than 80% meat and fats.
      We grew our brain when we started eating meat and fat.. and it started shrinking again when we went back to a lot of plants.
      Sure, carbs ( sugar) is natural, but so is arsenic. We need none of it, the body will make what glucose it needs from fat.

    • irock4u222 on September 1, 2022 at 3:15 am

      how are your numbers now?

    • johnson paul on September 1, 2022 at 4:24 am

      @irock4u222 I have been fairly stable for about three years now. A1C still in the low 5s. I have not had an assessment for ejection fraction for a couple of years but I am assuming it is about the same judging by my walking/biking/working ability. Trigs/HDL ratio is in the .5 realm . Total and LDL I do not know and BP is usually in the 112-125 range over 65=72 range No meds. I do take Vitamin K2 and D3 as well a potassium-magnesium electrolyte

    • Dorcas McLeod on November 15, 2022 at 8:28 am

      @Hata I think what causes diseases in us is bad carbohydrates. There is a lot of sugar/ carbs in processed foods.
      Processed is the key. Stay away from processed foods!
      If it’s in a box and you eat it, it will put you in a box all the sooner. That’s a little saying that I found. 😊

    • Eivind Gjengstø Johansen on November 18, 2022 at 11:19 pm

      That because your diet is almost zero in carbs,sugar and processed food

  7. Sportys Business on November 12, 2021 at 2:21 am

    In my n=1, I went from a ‘healthy’ low fat high whole grain, mostly plant based whole food diet. I was within the correct weight for my height. I thought I was healthy, but I had high blood pressure and then found I had severe gum disease and my dentist wanted to remove most of my back teeth. Research lead me to the low carb diet so I changed overnight and made a goal to keep my teeth and prove my dentist wrong. Wow, what a rabbit hole I fell down. 2 years later, I now eat a ketovore diet (95% carnivore with a few extras like avocado, olives). I have normal blood pressure, no gum disease, my lifelong acne has gone, arthritis gone, excess fat gone (I’m now at the bottom of the ideal weight for my height, not the top), skin looks amazing, no longer get sunburn, skin tags fell off, IBS gone, gas and bloating gone. Oh, and I kept my teeth…

    • Vivian Rose on October 3, 2022 at 7:40 pm

      @Mike Luhrs I would like to know too

    • GODDESSINFINITY on October 10, 2022 at 10:56 pm

      What fruits or vegetables did you keep? Just olives and avocado?

    • Brutally Honest Guy on October 28, 2022 at 11:36 am

      I have joint issues . I’m scared carnivore hurt kidney

    • nafaidni on November 25, 2022 at 5:44 pm

      How’s the LDL cholesterol looking?

    • Abigail Loar on November 30, 2022 at 9:06 pm

      In just the three days I’ve been carnivore my teeth feel a lot cleaner, I thought it was in my head…

  8. Luann Rouff on November 12, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    I’m 65, and “peer-reviewed” studies and “expert” opinions couldn’t interest me less. After decades of being vegetarian, I went carnivore 2 years ago and would never go back to a plant-based diet. I clearly thrive on meat, and I resolved 2 chronic skin conditions that 3 doctors told me weren’t curable, only “manageable.”
    I listen to only one thing now: my body. It’s very wise. 😉

    • Cara Cameron on October 13, 2022 at 2:06 am

      Being vegetarian was causing me all kinds of problems.

    • nafaidni on November 25, 2022 at 5:44 pm

      That might work for you. The studies show it doesn’t work in general.

    • Luann Rouff on November 25, 2022 at 6:49 pm

      @nafaidni Which “studies” would those be exactly? There are no human studies comparing the long-term effects of a plant-based diet versus a meat-based diet, nor could they devise such a study that accounted for the nearly infinite variables affecting an open system as complex as the human body. Your opinion is just that, an opinion, like mine.

    • Moe Boufadize on November 27, 2022 at 3:39 am

      Would you recommend this ! Going from vegetarian to carnivore diet is huge

    • A on December 4, 2022 at 5:08 pm

      What do you eat daily sir

  9. Bruce on November 13, 2021 at 5:59 am

    I was one of those ‘unreliable’ self-reporters. No more joint pain in my knees, no more acid reflux, no more IBS issues, no more psoriasis, no more bleeding gums, improved mental health, lowered blood pressure. None of this was because of weight loss- I stayed the same ~190lbs at 6’1″.

    • VicariousVictor on July 21, 2022 at 8:30 pm

      @Evidence-Based Health UK well said.

    • Bruce on July 22, 2022 at 4:32 am

      @Evidence-Based Health UK It was a long investigative process. I found removal of ALL simple sugars stopped my bleeding gums within 48 hours. Grains, mainly wheat, were found to be the cause of my reflux. IBS was resolved with fibre removal and believe me I have tried reintroducing various fruit and/or veg stuffs only to have the exact same symptoms return. I can tolerate a date or two or a few grapes or maybe even a whole bell pepper over a day as long as I have none for the next day or so. I am NOT saying all fruit and veg are evil and no-one should eat them. I AM saying that somehow I have developed issues which mean my consumption of them leads to measurable and observable symptoms which can be eliminated via the elimination of the plant substances.

    • Evidence-Based Health UK on July 22, 2022 at 7:47 am

      @Bruce Many individuals have unaddressed functional GI disorders that drive these issues such as low stomach acid, yeast overgrowth/candida/dysbiosis etc.

      It can make carboydrate rich foods problematic, as they ferment with low stomach acid causing various symptoms.

      But yeah as you said it doesn’t generically make fruit/vegetables bad as the carnivores are trying to promote.

      I’ve had similar GI issues so understand where you are coming from.

    • nafaidni on November 25, 2022 at 5:48 pm

      You should consider reintroducing other foods gradually to figure out what specifically causes those issues. It’s unlikely that every single plant doesn’t suit you.

    • Bruce on November 26, 2022 at 4:42 am

      @nafaidni I do try. Unfortunately the introduction of significant amounts of fibre (other than a handful of berries or equivalent) causes significant gastric distress (the polite way of putting it!) in many ways.

  10. MsSarcasticity on November 13, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    I’ve been carnivore since November 2018. Down 210lbs! Got off all antidepressants and no medications at all! Literally no reason to stop. I’ve been obese my whole life and finally in my 30s I have energy and my body doesn’t hurt!

    • Talion on November 16, 2022 at 9:09 am

      @MsSarcasticity xd. Have a nice day

    • MsSarcasticity on November 16, 2022 at 8:03 pm

      @Talion I wonder, what was the f*cking point of writing this? You felt like you needed to prove yourself to a person who was already able to lose over 200lbs on her own. Like, seriously. Choose your battles better.

    • Talion on November 16, 2022 at 8:59 pm

      @MsSarcasticity so what you lost 200 lbs with carnivore diet. I know people who have lost more then 200 lbs with vegan diet, keto diet ect.
      I am really happy that you made it, but you should be more open minded.

    • MsSarcasticity on November 16, 2022 at 9:30 pm

      @Talion you don’t know a single person that has lost as much fat. Stop lying on the internet. There is no clout to be earned.

    • MsSarcasticity on November 16, 2022 at 9:32 pm

      @Talion why do I need to be “open minded” when I’ve clearly found something that has worked for me FOR YEARS? I’ve already tried vegan and Gained weight. Raw vegan, gained weight and was hospitalized for depression and anxiety.

      There’s literally nothing in honey, fruits or vegetables that I need that I cannot get it higher amounts in the food I eat. Also, carnivore is a KETOGENIC diet so I’m not sure why you even said that other than your pure ignorance on the matter.

  11. Pedro Amaral on November 16, 2021 at 12:16 am

    Being sick for 5 years, tried everything, nothing worked.. 30 doctors couldn’t solve it. Severe depression, CFS, belly and chest pain. Tried reducing meat, tried vegetarianism.. Nope, nope.. But 3 days in carnivore, wow.. Energy levels went up, just a liiiiiittle bit, but enough to get me motivated. In 7 weeks, 80% of my symptoms were gone. This is unbelievable. I’m 12 weeks now and had to change a bit to continue improving, so I’m following PKD protocol from Zsofia Clemens, basically eating less (400g a day), 2:1 fat protein ratio (100g meat to 35g fat) and geez, in 4 days the magic is happening. Food IS medicine. Give it a try (a LOTS of research!!!)

    • rokker333 on October 10, 2022 at 6:18 pm

      @White hair No, I think he believes in it. But there is no cure for CFS. Unfortunately the hard scientific fact. And CFS is prone to easy false positive self diagnosis. And such statements of healing CFS is a slap in the face for every real CFS patient. And so my statement remains: he did not heal CFS because it is not possible. BTW fatigue, especially self diagnosed, can be a symptom of many illnesses. Scientifically CFS also is named differently for a long time now.

    • Aspinall Sandy on October 26, 2022 at 11:18 am

      @Pedro Amaral totally agree

    • Beerend Boersma on November 12, 2022 at 11:47 pm

      Food is not medicine. Processed foods and carbs are poison.

    • Dorcas McLeod on November 15, 2022 at 7:47 am

      @Tony Maurice that’s an elimination diet, too.

    • Petru Tabacu on November 29, 2022 at 6:25 am

      What research, please? Thank you!

  12. John Vreden on January 19, 2022 at 8:44 pm

    Eating a 95% carnivore diet for upwards of a year now. Love it. Was 85 kilos before, 64 kilos as I write this. 60 years old and I can do 55 pushups any time. Easy. 150 leg raises, easy. 35 squats, not a problem. Wim Hof breathing techniques help a lot. The carnivore diet’s got my vote. 👍

  13. joe eapen on February 14, 2022 at 11:32 pm

    “..when I heard about the carnivore diet I thought it was crazy… then I researched it…”. My respect to you sir for keeping an open mind and seeking knowledge rather than jumping to conclusions.

    • SG 5 5 on March 20, 2022 at 12:13 am

      If you have a dog or cat, put them on a 100% carnivore diet (85/15 ground beef) and be amazed at their transformation.

    • Evidence-Based Health UK on July 21, 2022 at 4:33 pm

      Hahaah researched what?

      I mean what study is out there telling everyone to adopt an extreme fad diet of nothing but beef/meat/animal foods and to never consume a single healthy whole plant-food ever again?

      I mean not a single piece of research suggests this.

  14. Bryan Arroza on February 24, 2022 at 1:05 pm

    I’m 24 years old dealing with an anxiety disorder and being on this carnivore/ketovore diet has improved my mental health and overall health. Feel like I’m healing, I am healing!

    • Gabriel Barrantes on August 31, 2022 at 2:11 am


    • George on September 4, 2022 at 11:53 am

      Get on nofap.

    • l ew on October 9, 2022 at 6:13 pm

      @George based

    • Flower Power on November 11, 2022 at 6:16 am

      Thats great to hear! I also want to try it for this reason.

  15. Sharon Bohannon on May 4, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    I’m a 77 yo woman who has arthritis in spine. Had knee pain. I was only 25# overweight and have shrunk from my original height of 5’2” to 4’11”! I started sugar free Jan 27 and carnivore Feb 7. As of today, I’ve lost 10+#! I don’t care about studies. Im pain free, fell better than ever (knee pain was gone in 3 days), and my 82 yo husband and I managed to mow our lawn recently without hiring someone. NOT a riding mower, but a self propelled walking mower. Talk about feeling proud and happy!!!

    • M Ryan on July 10, 2022 at 1:00 pm

      That’s amazing about the self-propelled lawnmower! Great to hear.

    • irock4u222 on September 1, 2022 at 3:28 am are you today

    • Maya on October 10, 2022 at 10:34 pm

      I was hoping you would say that you grew in stature as well 😊

    • Eivind Gjengstø Johansen on November 18, 2022 at 11:17 pm

      Good to hear and thats because there is almost zero sugar, carbs and processed food in your diet these things are the worst that you can eat.

    • Highlight Reel on December 6, 2022 at 6:51 pm


  16. Carol Ann on August 3, 2022 at 1:23 am

    I switched to a carnivore way of eating 4 years ago after years of eating a heavily plant based diet and sometimes vegetarian. I also fell for the low fat lies. I’m 64 now and with carnivore have reversed leaky gut, autoimmune issues migraines, uti’s and joint pain. I no longer have the yo-yo weight gains. I eat until I’m full and my weight stays constant without having to go hungry or restrict calories. Carnivore is amazing. For me it’s been life changing!
    Thank you for your informative videos! I appreciate all you do.

    • Erick Garcia on November 25, 2022 at 10:44 pm

      How’s your cholesterol? Eating just meat it’s my dream 😆 but I’m afraid of high cholesterol.

  17. ivette santana on December 7, 2022 at 3:15 pm

    I was vegetarian but mostly carnivore now but am still adjusting it. It got rid of my lymph nodes swelling and lots of body pain. Now I know what’s left of my pain is because there is something deeper wrong beyond diet.

  18. ivette santana on December 7, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    That is exactly how I started. I started eliminating until I narrowed it down to non-pork meats are ok for me, blue sky eggs and some dairy like kalona products. Other stuff means I get headaches and dizziness and all types of crap. I cant even do extracts or spices and seasonings smh

  19. Tree ChildU.S.A on December 8, 2022 at 11:59 pm

    I was the same way about being against it ! But I have had success with it for sure … but I grow a garden every year so I’m not a true carnivore. Summer months I eat vegetables I love my vegetables

  20. Teresa Helman on December 12, 2022 at 10:53 am

    After hitting the ER with excruciating pain and swelling several times I switched to conivore two wks ago , has been two wks and still waiting for a scheduled apt with a gastrooligist, insurance still has given that ok. My primary is thinking colitis auto immune. I’ve seen great results since starting conivore my concern is blurry vision that comes with it, trying to figure out electrolytes ect. my biggest challenge to this is I’m getting repulsed by nothing but meat and it’s getting harder for me with every meal. I know the meds I was prescribed to help with inflammation in the large colon has detrimental affects on liver and kidneys so not thrilled with that protocol either. Please if anyone knows how to do this correctly without blurred vision I’d love some feedback I’m not doing this for weight loss I’m doing this because the only thing that doesn’t bother my stomach is meat. I can’t imagine eating nothing but meat and fat from now on but I also don’t care to end up in ER on regular basis swelled up and in agony. I’ve researched electrolytes and minerals on this but everyone seems to have different ideas on what you need to add. Anyone else have this blurred vision on this and no it’s not caused by dehydration I’m drinking plenty of water. And does the gross aversion to only meat go away over time ?

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