Will an All-Meat Diet Kill You or Cure You?
No fruits, no vegetables, no grains, just beef. What is going on in these people’s intestines and arteries?
Mikhaila Peterson, CEO of Don’t Eat That and daughter of controversial psychologist and public figure Jordan Peterson, claims that she has cured herself of “multiple chronic severe idiopathic disorders” by eating nothing but beef, salt, and water. No fruits, no vegetables, no grains, just beef. She says her diet resolved her juvenile arthritis, hypersomnia, depression, anxiety, and skin problems and turned her into a “boss human.”
Based on standard dietary recommendations, Peterson and the thousands of people like her who identify as carnivores — not omnivores, carnivores — should be dead from vitamin deficiencies, heart disease, colon cancer, or constipation alone. Yet according to Instagram and online forums like Meat Heals, they’re thriving. In anecdotal testimonials, people say that eating an all-meat diet helped them drop 10, 20, 40, 80 pounds and cured them of depression, fatigue, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, joint pain, and insomnia.
How is this possible? And what is going on in these people’s intestines and arteries?
Low-carb, high-fat diets are not new. Atkins, paleo, South Beach, Whole30, and the ketogenic diet all subscribe to the same philosophy of limiting carbohydrates and having the majority of calories come from fat and protein. Initially considered sacrilege among doctors and dietitians, this way of eating has gradually gained popularity and scientific support, particularly as the overly processed, sugar-heavy Western diet has come under attack.
Low-carb diets are very good at helping people lose weight quickly and regulating blood glucose levels, and some doctors will now recommend them to treat type II diabetes. But any benefits obtained from these diets likely stem from what you’re leaving out rather than what you’re putting in. “The advantage of such a restrictive diet is that you cut out a lot of the processed foods, so no sugar, no refined carbs,” says Amy Reisenberg, a clinical dietitian at Stanford Health Care. “Right there, you’re cutting out a lot of the things that can contribute to being overweight…