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A Few Good Reasons To Consider An Animal-Based Diet

A Few Good Reasons To Consider An Animal-Based Diet

Have you heard of the new diet craze?

Ok, it’s not a craze, it’s not “new,” either, and it’s really just a new label on a way of eating that I’ve been talking about for a little over a year and a half now.

The “animal-based” diet is a play off the “ancestral diet,” and also supports many facets of the regenerative farming movement I’ve talked about recently.

Part of the reason I wanted to focus an article on the animal-based diet (or lifestyle) is to unpack the merits of this diet.

There’s an attack on using animal products in the diet.

Everyone is saying “plant-based is the future.”

And while I do believe eating the fruit of the earth (plants) can have benefits; I don’t believe we can throw the baby out with the bathwater and pretend that the way our ancestors ate, the way we’ve been eating as a species for eons, is now an evil way of living we need to depart from.

This article will not be advocating for my readers and my patients to adopt an animal-based diet. It’s just to present it for what it is.

But, after you read this you may find pursuing this kind of diet makes sense for you and your family.


Animal-Based Diets Explained

As would seem obvious, this diet (or way of living) means people who follow it build their dietary habits of eating foods that come from animals, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products while also reducing or even eliminating exposure to plant-based foods.

I don’t think you should have to eliminate plant-based foods, to be honest. But that’s a choice you can make for yourself.

Animal-based closely mirrors what carnivore diet adherents do, with some slight differences.  Those differences being you eat animal-based foods primarily while incorporating other kinds of food in as needed.

Recently this type of diet has gained popularity in paleo and ketogenic circles.

As you may know, the Paleo diet attempts to mimic what our ancestors did. Our ancestors were hunter-gatherers and subsisted mainly on meat and fish while relying on plants as needed.

Part of the reason animal-based diets have gained popularity in ketogenic circles is because of their focus on a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that includes meat, cheese, butter, and other animal products.

Animal-based plays right into that wheelhouse.

Animal-based diets aren’t a trend, and in reality, this diet is simply a traditional way of living that’s been rediscovered by people all over the world.

The benefits are so pronounced that it’s gaining a tremendous amount of steam with athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts looking to build muscle and improve their athletic performance.

You may not care about these guys, but it’s important to note that people like LeBron James and Tom Brady are now using animal-based diets to help maintain their peak physical condition into their later years.

That counts for something.

Something else that I think is equally important with the animal-based diet is when you do it right (meaning you pay attention to where your food comes from), it can help make our world a better place.

When you select the right animal products it’s far more sustainable than consuming plant-based foods that require large amounts of water, land, and other resources to produce.

The Benefits Of Animal-Based Diets

If I were to write about everything the animal-based diet could do for you it would require an entire book, which is why plenty of other physicians have written about it (or proxies of it like the carnivore diet).

But, what I’ll do is talk about the 2 things I think matter the most.

1 - Could Help Control Weight:

Obesity is a major concern for millions upon millions of  Americans.

It’s easily one of the leading conditions in the world.

If I were to be the czar of health in America (good thing I’m not), I’d tell people if you’re overweight, lose weight as fast as possible to feel better and limit the risk you’ll die early.

An animal-based diet can help with this.

Why is it that people who switch to an animal-based diet report significant weight loss?

A few reasons, one of the primary being animal products are high in protein, and diets high in protein help to prevent overeating because they keep you full for longer periods which helps to reduce cravings for unhealthy snacks.

Another big reason has to do with how eating healthy animal fats can help you burn body fat.  This is the ketogenic effect that I’ve talked about so many times.

There’s quite a bit of research to support that animal-based diets help control weight, too. For instance, studies show eating a lot of protein can also increase metabolism and help people burn fat (1).

It’s hard to get the same quality of protein and fat from plant-based sources (without having to do a ton of processing), which is why animal-based products are so much better.

Now I want to make it known that the quality of your food is also incredibly important. 

Animal products should be grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic, and sustainably raised animal products as often as possible.

Conventionally raised animal products tend to be a bit unhealthier as they have more inflammatory fats and toxins. 

2 - They Help Control Inflammation:

If there’s an argument to be made against the Standard American Diet, it’s that it causes inflammation.

And chronic inflammation is responsible for a ton of modern diseases.

Quality animal-based products, as well as a reliance on just a few kinds of plant-based products, contain a myriad of anti-inflammatory compounds such as omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, Omega-7s, mono-unsaturated fats, and more which have been shown numerous times to reduce inflammation in the body and potentially reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, and cancer [2][3].

There’s also more to this, as other animal products (like bone broth), offer us collagen, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body

Collagen is one of the main forms of protein found in connective tissues such as bones, tendons, and cartilage, that has been shown to reduce inflammation in the gut, joints, and other tissues [4].

Again, part of animal-based dieting is not saying you eschew all plant-based foods, it’s just that you choose to be selective about them.

Many people who practice animal-based diets opt to eat fruits and/or tubers which have loads of antioxidants known to help fight inflammation.

Animal Based A Way Forward For Better Health

I think it’s fair to say that the way people are eating now is not a healthy way forward.

An animal-based diet, fueled by regenerative farming as its main form of production could help renew the earth as well as human health.

As I said, I could write hundreds of pages on how this subject, but if people just experienced 2 of the benefits you saw above it would be a game changer.

Talk soon,

[1] - Halton TL, Hu FB. The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Oct;23(5):373-85. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2004.10719381. PMID: 15466943.

[2] Simopoulos AP. Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in edible wild plants. Biol Res. 2004;37(2):263-77. doi: 10.4067/s0716-97602004000200010. PMID: 15260202.

[3] Calder PC. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Nutrients. 2010 Mar;2(3):355-74. doi: 10.3390/nu2030355. Epub 2010 Mar 24. PMID: 22254109; PMCID: PMC3257651.
PMCID: PMC3257651.

[4] Huang L, Champeau D, Bissonnette M, Rouabhia M. Induction of interleukin-6 by bone morphogenetic protein-2 in human periodontal ligament cells involves p38 MAPK and JNK signaling pathways. Cytokine. 2010 Apr;50(1):9-16. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2009.11.015. Epub 2010 Feb 4. PMID: 20133118.

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