I ate nothing but meat for 30 days. This is what happened.
30 days a Carnivore
For the last 30 days I’ve been experimenting with the “Carnivore diet“, a meat only diet where carbohydrates from all sources are banned. Most people have shaken their heads, many have expressed the impossibility of health on a meat diet, while some have expected me to drop dead and one has even condemned the diet as vile and disgusting. However, my 30 day journey of full on meat action has been one of simple and delicious meat, impressive weight loss and interesting blood results.
I lost 7 kg (15.4 pounds) over 30 days. My weight on 21st October, the first morning, of the diet was 82.6 kg and my weight on the morning after finishing (the 20th November) was 75.6 kg. Weight loss was most significant in my first and last weeks on the diet. The significant weight loss is due to the complete absence of carbohydrates in my diet.
Strength and cardiovascular
Despite losing close to 10% of my body weight in a month, I have seen no loss of strength. Instead, I’ve been able to lift heavier weights (from 80 kg bench press to 90 kg bench press as an example). However, Cardiovascular activity was a different story, the first week was tough with running times as much as 30 seconds per km slower. By the second week of the diet, performance was relatively normal but getting started on the run was harder.
At the outset of the diet I was concerned about diarrhoea, something that quite a few people encounter when starting the diet. I didn’t experience constipation or diarrhoea. Instead, things become much more efficient downstairs (I only needed to visit the bathroom every three days or so).
The only time this wasn’t true was on the last days of the diet on 17 and 18th November when I had an upset stomach. This was probably down to a particular item of food I ate rather than the diet itself.
Blood test results:
On the 18th October, a few days before starting the diet, I took a blood test as a baseline. The baseline blood test results were normal across the board except for Total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol which were slightly above normal. I completed the diet overnight on the 19th of November (on the 30 day mark). After a slight mishap with my blood test on the 20th of November I had to have my bloods retaken on the evening of the 22nd of November.
My iron and protein levels are now slightly above optimal range, while my lipid results have some cause for concern. My total cholesterol increased from 5.6 to 6.8 mmol/L with LDL (Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol which is considered a bad cholesterol) increasing from 3.71 mmol/L to 5.1 mmol/h.
In contrast, my Triglycerides (a bad fat formed from excess calories) decreased while my HDL (High-density lipoprotein cholesterol which acts to remove excess cholesterol from blood) also decreased, but within optimal range.
This all means that my Non-HDL Cholesterol increased from 4.21 to 5.5 mmol/L and my Cholesterol to HDL ratio from 4.03 to 5.23.
What do these results mean?
It means my Cholesterol has increased and would be considered high. According to the NHS, high cholesterol and in particular high LDL, can increase the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Based on these results alone, most medical practitioners would probably tell me to stop the diet.
One of the reasons for the increase in LDL Cholestrol could be the temporary effect of rapid weight loss. There are other views which challenge the significance of LDL cholesterol. Dr Ken Sikaris, a chemical Pathologist considers that high cholesterol, even LDL, isn’t a bad thing. It depends on the level of Triglycerides. A Triglycerides level above 1.5 is cause for concern because Triglycerides interact with LDLs to make a small and hard cholesterol called sdLDL (small dense LDL). These are responsible for making fatty deposits in arteries as Dr Sikaris explains in full in the video below.
Reflecting on my results in this light, a predictor for sdLDLs is the ratio between Triglycerides and HDL. A result close to or under 1 is ideal. My Triglycerides result of 1.07 divided by my HDL result of 1.3 is 0.82:1. Surprisingly, this is slightly worse than my baseline ratio of 0.79:1. However, both the baseline and post diet results are good.
My 30 day experiment with the carnivore diet has resulted in substantial weight loss, better strength in the gym, easy digestion, as well as feeling and looking physically better. However, I’ve found cardiovascular activity more difficult and my blood tests show high levels of Iron, Protein and Cholesterol.
When I was a young and naive carnivore, back on the 21st of October, I thought that this would be a one off period of 30 days, that I’ll be in such a horrible state that I’d need to end the diet and do a Morgan Spurlock style detox. However, I’ve genuinely enjoyed the diet. I feel and look the healthiest I’ve been in years. Yet, I find the diet too restrictive. Herbs and sauces compliment meat in a fantastic way. I want to eat eggs and cheese again and enjoy the occasional drink with friends.
I’m thinking about going ‘carnivore light’. This is something I just made up, and maybe you could just call it “Low carb”. Essentially this will involve a generous amount of meat but also allow for vegetables, fruit, herbs and intoxicating drinks. After all, voluntarily eliminating everything but meat, water and salt is almost as bad as veganism! We’re fortunate to have an abundance and variety of food. Life, and food, should be enjoyed in discovery and outstanding taste.
No missed steaks
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