Is an Animal Based Diet Healthy?
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Is an Animal Based Diet Healthy?

Written by Emily Hirsch, MS, RDN on August 30, 2023


When it comes to nutrition, the health implications of an animal based diet have piqued the interest of many people, as many celebrities swear by this diet trend. If you’re looking to make informed dietary choices, understanding the potential impact of consuming an animal based diet is essential.

Is an animal-based diet healthy? What are the food groups found in the diet? What is the nutritional composition and potential health benefits associated with the diet? In this article, you will also find an animal based diet food list and an animal based diet meal plan to help take the guesswork out of this type of eating plan.

What Is An Animal Based Diet?

An animal based diet, also known as the carnivore diet, is a dietary pattern that primarily consists of eating foods derived from animals. This includes meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and eggs. The diet excludes all plant based foods, so following the diet would mean eliminating grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sweets.

People choose to adhere to an animal based diet for a variety of reasons. For example, people may gravitate towards an animal based diet for its perceived nutritional benefits. Animal based foods are rich in complete proteins, vitamins (like vitamin B12), and minerals (such as iron and calcium), which are important for various bodily functions and overall health.

Additionally, animal based diets provide an important source of dietary fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked with improvements in brain function, heart health, and inflammation regulation.

Moreover, animal based diets are known for their satiating effect due to their higher protein and fat content, which may help with weight management and feelings of fullness. For example, a recent study found that following a low-carb, high-protein diet like the animal based diet can help reduce body weight and fat mass.

It’s important to note that an animal based diet can vary significantly in its composition and quality, and not all animal products are created equal. For instance, grass-fed meat is nutritionally superior to vegetarian-fed meat as it is richer in vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats like omega-3’s.

Animal Based Diet Food List

Animal based foods embrace a wide range of nutrient-rich options derived from animals, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and eggs. These foods have long been part of human diets, providing valuable sources of protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

Animal-based proteins are considered complete proteins, as they contain all the essential amino acids needed for proper bodily function. Additionally, animal based foods provide important nutrients like vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Whether enjoyed for their taste or nutritional value, animal-based foods have been a cornerstone of human nutrition for centuries, playing a vital role in supporting overall health and wellness.

Beef, ground beef, steak, and beef liver

Steak and grilled vegetables

Beef, including ground beef, steak, and beef liver, offers a rich nutritional profile that can potentially support your health and well-being. It is a valuable source of high-quality protein, essential amino acids, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and other essential nutrients. These nutrients support muscle growth, energy production, immune function, along with cognitive health.

Chicken and turkey

Chicken and turkey are lean sources of protein that provide a wide range of nutrients which includes essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Chicken and turkey are wildly popular proteins as they are lower in saturated fat compared to red meats.

Additionally, these poultry options offer important vitamins and minerals like vitamin B6, niacin, selenium, and phosphorus, which support energy metabolism, immune function, and muscle development.

Fish and seafood including salmon, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, crab, oysters, and scallops

Fish and seafood varieties are nutrient-dense options with numerous health benefits. For example, not only do they provide high-quality protein, but they are often chock full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish and seafood also provide other important nutrients like vitamin D, selenium, and iodine. These nutrients support heart health, brain function, immune function, and may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Animal Based Diet Meal Plan

Meal planning on an animal based diet involves careful consideration of various food groups derived from animals to ensure you are eating a wide range of nutrients. An animal based diet does not restrict the timing or quantity of your meals but instead focuses on various animal foods to meet your nutritional needs.

Creating an animal based meal plan will involve incorporating different cuts of meat, poultry, and fish, along with dairy products and eggs, to meet your protein needs and provide a variety of essential nutrients. Attention to portion sizes, cooking methods, and food combinations can further enhance the nutritional value of meals while considering your unique dietary preferences and health goals.

Scrambled eggs with bacon

A classic animal based breakfast meal, like eggs and crispy bacon, is a popular choice for those following an animal based diet. Eggs provide high-quality protein, essential vitamins, and minerals, while bacon adds robust flavor and a savory element. If you’re looking for a lower fat option, you can always swap out the bacon for a leaner meat like turkey sausage.

Keto taco pie

Craving tacos but following an animal based diet? An animal based lunch meal like keto taco pie is a delicious option made with a flavorful combination of ground meat, taco seasoning, eggs, and cheese. The dish is chock full of protein, healthy fats, and bold flavors to leave you satisfied and nourished, ensuring you have plenty of energy to tackle your day.

Carnivore lover’s pizza

If you love pizza, but are unsure how to incorporate it into your animal based diet, look no further than the carnivore pizza. This zero carb pizza recipe has a delightfully crispy bacon crust with lightly seasoned sunny-side-up eggs on top. You can even add other toppings like cheese and pepperoni to enjoy the full pizza experience.

So, Are Animal Based Diets Healthy?

The question of whether animal based diets are healthy is complex and depends on various factors. This eating pattern provides essential nutrients like high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals that are important for your overall health and wellness. Additionally, an animal based diet offers a complete source of amino acids and can support muscle growth, immune function, and cognitive health.

However, the diet is low in fiber and tends to be high in sodium and saturated fat. Therefore, it’s important to approach animal based diets with balance and consideration for other food groups.

Choosing lean cuts of meat, poultry, and seafood, and sticking with less processed options is ideal. Furthermore, for many people, incorporating a variety of plant-based foods alongside animal products can help create a well-rounded and nutritious diet that is both satiating and healthy.

Before making any drastic changes to your diet, it’s always best to consult with your healthcare provider to personalize dietary recommendations based on your specific health conditions and goals.

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