Carnivore Diet Trend Raises Concerns Among Nutritionists

The carnivore diet, a TikTok craze, claims benefits but experts warn of risks and lack of scientific evidence, highlighting the need for reliable nutrition information to counter harmful online trends.

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Quadri Adejumo
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Carnivore Diet Trend Raises Concerns Among Nutritionists

Carnivore Diet Trend Raises Concerns Among Nutritionists

The latest dietary craze taking TikTok by storm is the 'carnivore diet', which involves consuming only animal products such as meat, fish, and eggs. Proponents of the diet claim it can lead to weight loss, improved blood sugar control, and clearer skin. However, the trend has raised red flags among nutritionists who warn about the potential risks and lack of scientific evidence supporting its purported benefits.

The carnivore diet has gone viral on TikTok, with the hashtag #carnivorediet amassing over 500 million views. Many influencers on the platform tout the diet as a way to shed pounds quickly, balance blood sugar levels, and achieve a glowing complexion. Some even suggest it can treat chronic illnesses like diabetes and autoimmune disorders.

But experts caution that the science behind these claims is far from settled. "There is no robust evidence to support the notion that a meat-only diet is healthy or sustainable long-term," said Dr. Lisa Sasson, a registered dietitian and clinical professor of nutrition at NYU. "Eliminating entire food groups can lead to nutrient deficiencies and other health problems."

Nutritionists point out that the carnivore diet is extremely restrictive, cutting out fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes - all of which are important sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. They worry that followers of the diet may be missing out on essential nutrients that support overall health.

Additionally, consuming large amounts of red meat has been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. The high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol in animal products could have detrimental effects on cardiovascular health if consumed in excess.

Why this matters: The popularity of the carnivore diet on social media highlights the influence that platforms like TikTok can have on people's health choices. It underscores the need for reliable, science-based nutrition information to counter potentially harmful trends that gain traction online.

The carnivore diet is not the only controversial nutrition trend to take off on TikTok recently. Other popular videos promote concepts like 'nutrient sequencing', which involves eating foods in a specific order to boost nutrient absorption, and the use of diabetes drug Ozempic for weight loss. However, experts emphasize that these trends often lack rigorous scientific backing and can even be dangerous if taken to extremes.

"It's crucial for people to consult with qualified healthcare professionals, such as registered dietitians, before making drastic changes to their diet," Dr. Sasson advised. "Rather than falling for the latest fad on social media, focus on eating a balanced, varied diet that includes plenty of plant-based foods. That's the tried-and-true path to long-term health and wellbeing."

Key Takeaways

  • Carnivore diet, consuming only animal products, claims benefits but lacks scientific evidence.
  • Experts warn of potential risks, nutrient deficiencies, and detrimental effects on health.
  • Trend highlights influence of social media on health choices, need for reliable information.
  • Other controversial trends like 'nutrient sequencing' and Ozempic for weight loss also lack scientific backing.
  • Experts advise consulting healthcare professionals and focusing on a balanced, plant-based diet.