From the era of pro-ana (pro-anorexia) sites to the excesses of social networks, the Internet has always been a haven for bad ideas when it comes to finding inspiration for weight loss. Today, it is on TikTok that dangerous trends are born. And among the most sadly popular of the moment, we find the “Animal Based” movement, or carnivorous diet. Or the art of eating exclusively animal products.
Vegetarians regularly take waves of criticism, vegans even more so. All over the world, and particularly in France, country of beef bourguignon and blanquette, many people find it hard to imagine a meal without meat. But there are also people who eat only meat, eggs, dairy products. No fruits or vegetables, no cereals… It may seem strange, and yet this carnivore diet, or “Animal Based” in English, is promoted by accounts that have thousands of views on TikTok, despite the dangers that this form of feeding represents.
Video. “They are considered the enemies of weight loss yet they are essential”
Carnivorous diet: meat, meat and more meat
On TikTok, there are many accounts that promote the carnivore diet, but we will not mention them here so as not to promote them. There are recipes of all kinds, including a recipe for “carnivorous soup” made from minced meat, cream cheese and milk. Men and women repeat that “vegetables are a scam”, that “fiber is useless”, and explain that they eat “between 800 grams and 1.5 kilos of meat a day”. A few fruits from time to time, not the slightest vegetable on the horizon. Enough to make all the nutritionists on the planet shudder. And yet, this diet was promoted by a famous American doctor, Dr. Paul Saladino… Also known for having developed a range of food supplements to accompany his program. On his shirtless Instagram account, he does not hesitate to proclaim that vegans are liars, that the agriculture necessary for a vegetarian diet is more polluting than that necessary for a carnivorous diet, and that plants do not contain antioxidants. So many assertions that have been refuted by many specialists.
Especially since it is based on a false preconception: that the carnivorous diet would be that of our prehistoric ancestors. Plants are often described there as toxic foods, and followers of this movement affirm it: prehistoric men ate only meat and did very well. This assertion in itself is widely disputed by scientists and historians alike, who assert that finding meat in prehistoric times was not so easy, and that the latter also ate, if not essentially, plants: fruits, vegetables and other roots, much more accessible on a daily basis.
Food dangerous to health
But beyond food, it is serious misinformation related to “carnivorous food” that worries health specialists. Followers of the carnivore diet claim that it is the best solution for losing weight, gaining muscle, improving the appearance of their skin, their transit… Which may be true in the short term, but not necessarily on the long term. Numerous studies have proven that the vitamins and fibers provided by fruits, vegetables and starchy foods are essential for good digestion, good assimilation of proteins, and good health, under penalty of developing a certain number of deficiencies. On the contrary, the consumption of meat (and more particularly red meat) in large quantities has been implicated and could be responsible for cardiovascular problems, accelerate the aging of the body, and could even create a breeding ground for the development of cancers. .
In addition to its highly restrictive side, which could be compared to that of a mono-diet, the carnivorous diet can cause problems at different levels, starting with transit. But against constipation, the followers of this diet have the solution: they use (and abuse) laxatives, often used in the context of dangerous diets. On the website of the Cleveland Clinic, physician-dietician Kate Patton goes even further by absolutely recommending against this diet “especially if you suffer from chronic problems such as hypertension, high cholesterol, passive heart attack, heart problem or stroke, or if you have digestive problems.”
The specialist affirms it: the carnivorous diet is rich in saturated fats and increases the level of bad cholesterol, but can also cause problems with the kidneys because of its high sodium content. If she confirms that this kind of diet will lead to weight loss, since the body will have no other choice but to dig into its fat reserves to have energy, she affirms it: “For me, it is not a recommendable program.”
An opinion shared by Anne-Laure Laratte, dietician-nutritionist, who affirms: “The brain and the muscles are gluco-dependent, they need carbohydrates. Apart from meats and dairy products, they do not provide much, if any, for the meat. Difficult to be healthy in these conditions.” The French specialist also mentions various health problems that can develop: “Scurvy is an example. Kidney problems, in the event of excess protein too. Normally, you need 0.8 to 1g of protein per kilo of Above 1.5g/kg of body, kidney problems may appear. Kidney failure, in particular because proteins are large molecules to be filtered. Not to mention digestive cancers in the event of excess red meat.. .”
Video. “You will lose pounds very quickly but it will be terrible for your digestive system”
“I thought I had found the miracle diet, I started losing my teeth”
Amanda (first name changed for reasons of anonymity) is a 28-year-old American who has fallen into the trap of a carnivorous diet. “I came across the first videos almost a year ago. The promise was even more enticing than those of all the express diets I’ve been able to do in the past. By eating only animal products, followers announced that they had lost several tens of kilos in the space of a few months.
The young woman was not suspicious, because the benefits of protein have always been touted in the context of weight loss. “Whether it’s the Dukan diet or the high-protein diet, there are plenty of diets where animal protein is presented as the ideal food for reaching satiety quickly, without filling up on calories. So I said to myself: why not! And indeed, from the end of the first week, my weight loss was already well underway with 3 kilos less on the scales.” However, any doctor will tell you: 3 kilos in a week is too much. Healthy and lasting weight loss means losing about a kilo a week, often less, but certainly not more, or risk putting your health at risk.
Amanda’s goal, to lose 15 kilos, was achieved in six weeks, and the young woman was over the moon. “I didn’t feel in good shape, I was tired all the time, like in slow motion. I wasn’t hungry, but I had no energy.” It’s normal: without sugar or vitamins, his body did not receive the necessary nutrients to function properly, and the effects were quickly felt. “After two months, my gums started to hurt. One day, one of my teeth came loose. I was in a panic. My dentist didn’t understand what was happening until let’s talk about my diet.” Severely deficient in ascorbic acid, Amanda had caught scurvy, a disease which has become extremely rare and whose consequences can be terrible.
Today, she has returned to a normal diet, and unsurprisingly: “I have gained weight, but without the slightest regret. My blood tests prove that I am in better health than when I did not I only ate meat, and I regained my energy. I think I could have lost my health if I hadn’t had this alert from my dentist.” The proof that you should always listen to your body rather than commercial speeches.
>> Children on a diet: “I was 8 or 9 when my mother decreed that I was too fat and had to eat less”
>> “Lose 5kg before summer!” : stop being fooled by express diets, it’s a scam
>> Desperate to lose weight: “I ate cotton and I made myself vomit drinking salty coffee”