Is there anything worse than being promised rippling abs only to end up with explosive diarrhea?
That seems to be the main take away many ~experiential~ journalists (see: here) have got from their one or two weeks on the carnivore diet: a regime of meat, salt and water.
But even though some nutritionists call it micronutrient-suicide – a fibreless, scurvy inducing regime whose only benefit comes via placebo, others reckon it’s an energy-boosting weight loss program that can cure arthritis, anxiety and autoimmune diseases – and get you shredded while you’re at it.
And while – in the past – things like the Keto diet would have stretched the palettes of the world’s cross-fit warriors and Bondi hipsters, now low carb dieting has gone so mainstream that average dudes are considering more extreme iterations like the carnivore diet.
Enter: Joe Rogan, the archetypal “average dude” whose down to earth comedy and insightful MMA commentary has been so successful that his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience is one of the most widely downloaded on the planet.
From psychedelic explorers to politicians, from Elon Musk to dieticians, no topic is undiscussed. As we reported two weeks ago, Joe is doing a month-long experiment with the carnivore diet. On Sunday he took to Instagram to share how things have improved since the two-week point (the point where most journalists who have tried the regime have given up).
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Carnivore diet update: lost 12 pounds, feel amazing. Lots of aches and pains went away, and I have improvements in my vitiligo. I’m impressed. I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep eating like this but this month was very beneficial. Edit: the explosive uber diarrhea stopped around 2 weeks in. It’s been totally normal last two weeks. Shout out to @whoop too for sponsoring the podcast and creating a dope fitness tracker!
“Carnivore diet update: lost 12 pounds, feel amazing. Lots of aches and pains went away, and I have improvements in my vitiligo [skin blotches]. I’m impressed,” Joe captioned a video that shows his new physique. Even better: “the explosive uber diarrhea stopped around 2 weeks in. It’s been totally normal last two weeks. “
“I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep eating like this but this month was very beneficial.”
That’s a big change from two weeks ago, when he wrote: “I trust my butthole about as much as I trust a shifty neighbour with a heavy Russian accent that asks a lot of personal questions.”
But just because Joe now looks like an even sharper piece of corned beef than usual, does that mean the carnivore diet will work for you? Here’s what the science says.
What is the carnivore diet, exactly?
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Even within this, there are multiple categories. Some people restrict themselves only to beef, salt and water, while others consume a variety of meats (not eggs or cheese though) plus salt and water. Joe, for instance, included liver and bacon.
What are the benefits of the carnivore diet?
According to Healthline, “It’s claimed to aid weight loss, mood issues, and blood sugar regulation, among other health issues.” It also works in a similar fashion to the keto diet in that by cutting out carbs – once you get over the initial slump, if you can, your energy is supposedly more evenly regulated.
What are the drawbacks?
If you don’t have type two diabetes or epilepsy (two conditions a low carb diet is sometimes used to treat), it’s an expensive way to live, and cutting out the fibre and nutrients of vegetables, according to the vast majority of nutritionists is a foolish risk to unnecessarily take.
What are the risks?
An energy slump, and explosive diarrhea in the short term, scurvy (and worse) in the long term. This risk is magnified if you buy poor quality meat.