Every so often there comes out a bombastic headline to the tune of “NEW SCIENTIFIC DIET HELPS YOU LOSE WEIGHT AND BE HEALTHY”. As BJJ athletes, there are many people that are interested in learning more about improving their diet and the way they eat. What you eat back home translates to performance on the mats – which can either be good or bad. And you definitely don’t want to have a bad performance in BJJ as this would mean that you will be literally destroyed by everyone. That being said, the subject that we have today on the menu is the carnivore diet. This diet has risen into the mainstream in the near past and there are many proponents of this diet that claim its miraculous effects on the human body. But is this true? Read the rest of this review in order to find out just how your body and your BJJ performance will be impacted should you adopt the carnivore diet.
What’s the carnivore diet about?
Have you read your biology? There are three main types of organisms in terms of feeding habits. These are the herbivores, the omnivores, and the carnivores. The first category consists of organisms that thrive on eating plant foods only. The second group thrives on eating both plants and meat – and the carnivores thrive only on eating meat. Well, the main question that we have here is, what kinds of organisms are humans?
The carnivore diet states that humans thrive on eating meat, period. So, it preaches that we should all ditch every non-meat product for consumption – including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, dairy, etc. Right off the bat, this sounds very suspicious to many people. After all, wasn’t frequent meat consumption linked with heart disease and a plethora of other health problems?
The Advantages of the carnivore diet
Let’s start out by stating the obvious – the carnivore diet will forbid you to eat the “feel-good” foods like candy and other sugar and sodium laden products. And right off the bat, this will indeed serve to help you lose some weight and slim down – and even improve your complexion and your general health.
There are many essential nutrients in meat that many people should consume more of – like vitamin A, iron, and vitamin B12. In fact, vitamin B12 deficiencies are very common in the vegan and vegetarian crowds – and this is not a laughing matter, as it can pose a serious threat to one’s health.
Eating only meats means that you will eliminate a vast portion of any kind of sugars. And this will help bring you to a state of ketosis – when your body lacks said sugars. This will definitely help you trim down and lose some weight.
Many of the proponents of the carnivore diet claim that the phytonutrients, available in many plant foods, are actually very bad for the human body. So, by adopting an all-meat diet, one can save himself the trouble of fighting off the phytonutrients.
There are many “high-status” people that swear by how good the carnivore diet really is. Notable proponents of the carnivore diet are Dr. Shaun Baker, Dr. Jordan Peterson, and even Joe Rogan. They all swear that they have had excellent results by adopting the carnivore diet. For example, Dr. Shaun Baker holds several strength records in various categories – and he claims to only eat meat. Dr. Jordan Peterson has had a lot of health problems all throughout his body – and he claims that many of these simply vanished once he decided to adopt the carnivore diet. And finally, Joe Rogan, the known sceptic, has recently tried out the carnivore diet and he claims that he has had some surprisingly good results.
And of course – there are several cons to adopting the carnivore diet. Many of the proponents of this diet claim that there were – and still are – indigenous populations of people all around the world that only consume meat and that are extremely healthy. But if you dig a little deeper below the surface, you will see that this is not really the case. While it’s possible to sustain yourself on eating mostly eating meats, there are several scientific studies that show a positive correlation between meat consumption and heart disease – even in the indigenous people.
Also, by restricting your diet to only consuming meats – you will be missing out on many other nutrient-dense foods. We all know that plant foods are extremely rich in various vitamins that you need for your body to operate healthily – so the last thing that sane person should want is to eliminate plants from his or her diet altogether. Eating only meat will serve to increase nutrient imbalances –and this is not something that you should be willing to do if you want to be healthy.
And remember the phytonutrients that we have talked about in the previous section? Well, there are scientists and biologists that claim that the “damage” they do to our bodies is actually good in the long run, as it helps increase the strength and endurance of our bodies. This process is called hormesis.
Carnivore Diet for BJJ
So, finally, how does the carnivore diet relate to your BJJ performance? It all depends on your individual circumstances. For example, you may have a body that responds favorably to increasing your meat consumption. And vice-versa.
The effect that you will most likely readily observe is that you will trim down on your weight. This will serve to increase your endurance and your mobility on the mats – especially if you have had problems with being overweight in the past. Also, your strength and energy levels will rise as you have implemented a powerhouse food as your main dietary source – with a lot of calories and nutrients. Also, the placebo effect will likely do its thing, too – by thinking that you will get better, you will actually get better.
But don’t mistake this for beneficial yet – especially in the long run. The nutrient imbalances that you will likely experience are simply not worth it. Also, your cardiovascular health may be at stake here – so it’s best to be careful with implementing the carnivore diet for your BJJ practice.
In the end, we recommend that you resist jumping onto the fad diet bandwagon – as many people do. The truth is that there are no clear cut guidelines for the “perfect diet” – such a thing simply does not exist. Some people may thrive on eating meat – others may destroy their health beyond all repair. The smartest thing to do – not only in terms of BJJ, but in terms of life in general – is power your diet from many different kinds of foods – and see how your body responds. Your body is an ongoing experiment – perhaps it will thrive on meat today, and tomorrow on plants. So, have a little bit of both.
The problem arises when the so-called purists come out and begin claiming that everything besides meat is poison. We firmly believe that this is not the case. And we hope that you will continue slaying people on the mats, regardless of your diet.
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