The ‘no carbs’ or ‘carnivore’ diet has been trending recently and, as someone who works day-in and day-out with clients who are struggling with anything from uncomfortable ‘unexplained’ symptoms and health goals they just can’t reach to those suffering with autoimmune and chronic conditions, I find it extremely worrying!
Yes, cutting out carbs is a temporary solution to quickly dropping some pounds, but the ‘no carbs before Marbs’ is not a sustainable diet. The carnivore diet is an extreme version of a no-carbohydrate diet, where fruit and vegetables are also forgone. This is extremely dangerous long term.
Why People Do a No-Carb or Low-Carb Diet:
- Quick weight loss strategy
- Issues with bloating
- Pain or cramps
- Gaining weight rapidly
- To try and ‘cleanse’
Why People Follow a Carnivore Diet:
- When people eat fruit and/or vegetables they either: gain weight; experience blood sugar spikes; bloat; get gas; struggle with acid reflux.
The truth is, these ‘diets’ don’t address ANY of the issues listed above, they only TEMPORARILY mask the symptoms. The foods they are eating are not the problem (this doesn’t go for processed, high in refined sugar foods), the issue is that their gut microbiome is not healthy, and therefore not well equipped to digest the foods effectively, help balance hormones or optimise nutrient absorption and boost the metabolism.
In fact, opting for a carnivore or low-carb diet will do more harm than good and, in the long run, exacerbate the issue.
Why You Shouldn’t Cut Carbs
The Brain Runs on Glucose
We can make our brain run on ketones, sure. However, our brain was built to run on glucose. Did you know your brain is 90% fat? Because of this people confuse anatomy and physiology and misunderstand that, just because your brain is technically fat, it doesn’t mean that you should fuel it with fat.
Your brain runs predominantly on glucose and is SUPPORTED BY omegas, including omega 3s, omega 7s, omega 6s and omega 9s. The omegas aid brain-based development and neurological function. This is not fuel. In the same way the mitochondria are bacteria, but they don’t need bacteria to make them run. They need oxygen or glucose.
Rather than cutting out carbs, you need to regulate your blood sugar. While you’re at it you need to look at regulating the HPA axis, cortisol and catecholamines, because if those spike, your blood sugar will also spike, whether you consume sugar or carbohydrates or not.
We Only Have One Stomach
Are intestines being long, although not as long as a herbivore – we don’t have multiple stomachs, like a cow – means that we are not equipped for a diet absent of carbohydrates. We have one stomach and therefore we cannot take in a massive amount of cellulose, leaves or plant-based food. We can consume some, just like we can consume some meat or flesh.
In fact, our intestines are built to break down carbohydrates to feed the bacteria in the gut, make certain vitamins such as our B and K Vitamins and to manufacture serotonin.
Sure, there is B12 in animal-based products, but we are meant to ferment to a degree and break down carbohydrates to create short chain fatty acids in the colon. We also need the antioxidants that are predominantly from plants to prevent free radical damage, premature ageing, wrinkles and overall inflammation that can lead to diseases such as cancer.
The long and short of it is that we are BUILT to consume carbs and to BENEFIT from the nutrition that carbohydrates supply us with.
The Bottom Line
If you are practicing a low/no carbohydrate or carnivore diet for any of the reasons that are listed at the top of this article, then you need to look further inward. Why are you unable to lose weight? Is it purely down to your diet or is something else going on? See this post on why you may be struggling to lose weight. Are you trying to cut sugar cravings? Why were you getting sugar cravings in the first place? Read this post to learn more on this subject. Are you bloating or showing other symptoms of IBS? Read here for what to do.
Basically, you need to get to the root cause of why you are feeling the need to cut out carbohydrates at all, until then you will only be masking the symptoms.
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