Blog Nutrition Meal Plans Carnivore Diet Meal Plan: Pros, Cons, and Everything Else There Is To Know

Carnivore Diet Meal Plan: Pros, Cons, and Everything Else There Is To Know

Plant-based diets, like the Mediterranean diet, are considered the healthiest option for promoting longevity and warding off chronic diseases.

Experts highlight the benefits of incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes into one’s diet. Such eating habits are linked to improved heart health, better weight management, and lower cancer risk.

These facts lead one to question the growing popularity of the Carnivore Diet, an eating plan that sits at the opposite end of the dietary spectrum.

Can this way of eating, focusing solely on animal products and excluding all plant-based foods, truly offer health benefits? Or is it just a trend without substantial evidence to back its claims?

Let’s explore the Carnivore Diet meal plan, along with its pros, cons, and everything else there is to know, to help you make an informed decision about whether it’s right for you.

What Is a Carnivore Diet?

The Carnivore Diet, also known as the all-meat diet or zero-carb diet, is a high-fat and low-carb eating plan that consists of consuming only animal-based foods.

This includes meat, fish, eggs, and some dairy products like cheese and butter. It eliminates all plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and even processed foods.

The diet is based on the principle that our ancestors’ primary source of nutrition was animal-based, and that consuming a plant-free diet can lead to improved health and weight loss.

Despite its recent popularity, the concept of a meat-centric diet isn’t new. In fact, similar eating patterns have been practiced throughout history, with the Inuit and Masai tribes being notable examples.

However, the Carnivore Diet as we know it today is largely influenced by Shawn Baker, an orthopedic surgeon and athlete who popularized the approach after adopting it himself in 2016.

Nutritionists and health experts often question the validity of this diet, as it goes against the widely accepted recommendation of consuming a variety of plant-based foods for optimal health.

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What Does a Carnivore Diet Look Like?

On the carnivore diet you’re allowed to eat any animal-based food you want, as long as it doesn’t contain any carbohydrates.

This includes all types of meat like beef, chicken, pork, and lamb, along with fish and seafood.

Organ meats like liver and bone marrow are also encouraged for their nutrient-dense profile.

Some followers may include a small amount of dairy products like cheese and butter, while others may choose to eliminate them entirely.

A typical day on the Carnivore Diet might look like this:

  • Breakfast: Bacon and eggs cooked in butter
  • Lunch: Steak with a side of liver pâté
  • Dinner: Salmon cooked in olive oil with a side of bacon-wrapped asparagus

Or like this: 

  • Breakfast: Chicken liver and bacon omelette
  • Lunch: Ground beef stir-fry with mushrooms and peppers
  • Dinner: Grilled lamb chops with a side of buttered shrimp

Or even like this: 

  • Breakfast: Bone broth with added collagen peptides
  • Lunch: Beef bone marrow soup with extra beef chunks
  • Dinner: Salmon fillet cooked in ghee with a side of boiled eggs

While there are no strict guidelines on portion sizes, followers of the Carnivore Diet often consume large amounts of meat to make sure they are getting enough calories.

Snacks are not usually recommended on this diet, but if you do feel the urge to snack, you can choose from options like beef jerky, hard-boiled eggs, or cheese slices.

Our Highest Protein Meat guide has a complete list of protein-rich foods to help you decide what to include in your carnivore diet meal plan.

carnivore diet meal plan  

How Much Do I Eat In a Day on a Carnivore Diet?

There are no specific guidelines on how much to eat on the Carnivore Diet, as it focuses more on food choices rather than portion sizes. However, some people may follow a loose calorie count and aim for about 2,000-3,000 calories per day.

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Others may choose to eat until they feel full and satisfied.

The main rule of this diet is to avoid all plant-based foods and stick to animal-based ones, regardless of how much you eat.

Can You Eat 3 Meals a Day On a Carnivore Diet?

Yes, you can eat three meals a day on the Carnivore Diet. In fact, many followers of this diet prefer to stick to traditional meal times and have breakfast, lunch, and dinner as their main meals.

However, since there are no strict rules on meal timings or snacking, some people may choose to follow an intermittent fasting approach and only eat  one or two meals per day.

Since the diet eliminates carbohydrates, and emphasizes filling protein and fat-based meals, followers often report feeling full for longer periods, which reduces the need to snack or constantly eat throughout the day (12).

Are There Any Health Benefits of a Carnivore Diet?

The main benefit of the Carnivore Diet is weight loss. 

It’s argued that by eliminating all carbohydrates and processed foods, the body is forced to use fat as its primary source of energy, leading to rapid weight loss. The diet is high in fat and protein, two satiating macronutrients that can help curb cravings and reduce overall calorie intake.

If you’re able to stick to a restricted diet like the Carnivore Diet, then it may also help with weight management in the long run. However, the weight loss experienced by followers may be attributed to a caloric deficit, rather than any unique properties of this specific diet.

Any other carnivore diet benefits are either anecdotal (they lack scientific evidence) or achievable through more sustainable dietary approaches.

Read more: A Beginner Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan To Fit Your IF Journey

Supporters of this diet claim the following benefits, but more research is needed to confirm their validity:

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Healing Autoimmune or Chronic Disease

The Carnivore Diet is sometimes touted for its potential to heal autoimmune or chronic diseases (2). Proponents argue that removing plant-based foods can reduce inflammation, a key driver of such conditions.

While anecdotal evidence from individuals claiming significant improvement exists, it’s important to approach these claims with caution.

Scientifically, there’s limited empirical evidence supporting the diet’s efficacy in healing autoimmune conditions. Additionally, the exclusion of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains—rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber—could potentially deprive the body of essential nutrients required for overall health (5).

The complexity of autoimmune conditions necessitates a well-rounded diet and professional medical advice, rather than a restrictive eating plan based on anecdotal successes.

carnivore diet meal plan  

Curing Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

The Carnivore Diet’s purported ability to cure Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is another claim circulating among its advocates.

They argue that by eliminating fibrous and fermentable carbohydrates, which bacteria feed on, the diet can starve harmful gut bacteria. However, the evidence supporting this claim is scant.

Furthermore, a diet heavy in meat and lacking in fiber might exacerbate gastrointestinal issues for some individuals, including constipation or imbalanced gut microbiota (4).

Given the complexity of gut health and the need for a diverse microbiome, removing whole categories of plant-based foods could potentially do more harm than good.

Effective SIBO treatment requires a nuanced approach, often including antibiotics or probiotics, making reliance on a carnivorous diet for relief not scientifically justified.

Better Glucose Control

Another benefit often cited by Carnivore Diet enthusiasts is better glucose control, attributed to the elimination of carbohydrates. Some individuals report improved blood sugar levels, but this is largely self-reported data rather than from peer-reviewed research.

While a reduction in carbohydrates can indeed lower blood sugar levels (3), this is not unique to the Carnivore Diet and can be achieved with less restrictive diets that still allow for a balanced intake of nutrients.

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Furthermore, the long-term impacts of such an extremely low-carbohydrate intake on overall health, including potential effects on the cardiovascular system and kidneys, remain unclear. It’s important to consider that managing blood glucose levels effectively can involve a variety of dietary approaches, not solely the exclusion of carbohydrates.

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Reasons Not to Go On the Carnivore Diet

The extreme and restrictive nature of the Carnivore Diet may pose several risks for individuals, making it unsuitable for most people.

Here are some reasons why you should not try this diet:

Nutrient Deficiencies

Eliminating entire food groups, like fruits, vegetables, and grains, can lead to nutrient deficiencies. The lack of dietary fiber may cause constipation and negatively impact the gut microbiome (4).

In addition, some essential vitamins and minerals are only found in plant-based sources. A strict meat-only diet could result in deficiencies in Vitamin C, folate, potassium, and magnesium, potentially leading to various health complications (9).

Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases

The exclusion of plant-based foods in the Carnivore Diet can lead to high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol intake. Excessive consumption of these nutrients has been linked to various chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes (7).

Additionally, the lack of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables may increase the risk of cancer, inflammation, and other age-related diseases (5).

Constipation and Digestive Issues

The Carnivore Diet can lead to constipation and other digestive issues, primarily due to the lack of fiber. High protein intake from meat can also cause problems like bloating or stomach discomfort in some individuals (14).

Moreover, imbalanced gut microbiota from a lack of plant-based foods may contribute to digestive issues (13).

Risk of Developing Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

Recent research has linked high-protein diets, like the Carnivore Diet, to an increased risk of developing Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) (6).

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This condition is characterized by excess fat accumulation in the liver and can lead to serious health complications like cirrhosis and liver failure.

The high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol from meat in this diet may contribute to the development of NAFLD, making it a risky choice for those at risk or already diagnosed with this condition (1).

Lack of Sustainable Approach

The Carnivore Diet is extremely restrictive, making it challenging to sustain in the long term. It also eliminates a vast array of food choices and can lead to disordered eating patterns or an unhealthy relationship with food.

This diet does not teach healthy and balanced eating habits, making it difficult to transition back to a varied and nutritious diet without proper guidance.

While short-term weight loss may occur on the Carnivore Diet due to its restrictive nature, this approach is not sustainable and may lead to rapid weight regain once a person resumes their regular diet.

Potential for Adverse Side Effects

The drastic dietary changes that come with the Carnivore Diet might cause some adverse side effects, such as eating disorders, fatigue, headaches, diarrhea, and muscle cramps.

Furthermore, relying heavily on animal products may increase the risk of food poisoning from undercooked meat (8).

Read more: Vegan Weight Loss Meal Plan and Prep Tips

carnivore diet meal plan  


  • Can You Eat Meat 3 Times a Day?

You can eat meat three times a day, provided it is part of a healthy and balanced diet. According to the USDA, adults should aim for 5-6 ounces of protein daily (11), which can be met with a combination of animal and plant-based sources. That said, eating meat for every meal, as part of the Carnivore Diet may not provide enough variety and nutrients to support overall health.

  • Can I Have a Cheat Day on a Carnivorex Diet?

You can have a cheat day on a carnivore diet, provided you maintain your daily protein intake and do not overconsume carbohydrates. However, incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet is always recommended for optimal health and nutrient balance (10).

  • Can You Eat More On Carnivore Diet?

Eating more on the Carnivore Diet is not advised, as it may lead to excessive intake of saturated fat and cholesterol. It’s important to prioritize a balanced intake of nutrients from various food groups for overall health and wellness.

  • What Does an 80/20 Carnivore Diet Look Like?

An 80/20 Carnivore Diet refers to a more balanced approach where 80% of daily calories come from animal products, while the remaining 20% is comprised of plant-based foods. This allows for a varied intake of nutrients and might be a more sustainable option than a strict meat-only diet.

The Bottom Line

The Carnivore Diet may seem appealing for its simplicity and radical testimonials, but the purported benefits concerning autoimmune diseases, SIBO, and glucose control lack robust scientific backing.

These claims hinge mostly on anecdotal evidence and limited self-reported data, failing to provide a solid foundation for adopting such a restrictive nutritional strategy.

It’s important to consider the broader implications of your dietary choices, ideally under the guidance of healthcare professionals, to be sure you’re supporting your health comprehensively.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Association of fish and meat consumption with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study (2023,
  2. Carnivore diet: what if we only ate meat? (n,d,
  3. Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base (2015,
  4. Dietary Fiber Gap and Host Gut Microbiota (2017,
  5. Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables1 (2012,
  6. High Protein Diet and Metabolic Plasticity in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Myths and Truths (2019,
  7. Health Risks Associated with Meat Consumption: A Review of Epidemiological Studies (2015,
  8. Meat Safety—I Foodborne Pathogens and Other Biological Issues (2017,
  9. Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets (2013,
  10. Plant-based diets and long-term health: findings from the EPIC-Oxford study (2022,
  11. Protein Foods (2020,
  12. Protein, weight management, and satiety1(2008,
  13. The Impact of Diet and Lifestyle on Gut Microbiota and Human Health (2015,
  14. Yes, You Can Definitely Eat Too Much Protein (2023,
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