Evidence-Based, Simplified Nutrition and Lifestyle Strategies

are humans carnivores

Are Humans Considered Carnivores?

are humans carnivores

Are humans considered carnivores? This common question leads us to explore our evolutionary roots and dietary history. Pioneering researcher Weston A. Price documented the exceptional health of hunter-gatherer societies and indigenous populations, such as the Inuit, who thrived on nutrient-dense, animal-based diets.


The Inuit, with their traditional diet of fish, seals, and whales, exemplify how humans can flourish on carnivorous diets. Historically hunter-gatherer societies relied heavily on meat, showcasing our ancestral inclination towards carnivory. Today, adopting a carnivore diet can offer numerous health benefits, such as improved mental clarity, reduced inflammation, and enhanced energy levels. Welcoming this diet aligns with our biological makeup, resolving many modern health issues.


Let’s take a closer look into the historical context, the benefits of the carnivore diet, and reasons why it might be worth considering for your wellness journey.


What Is the Carnivore Diet?


Carnivore Diet Food Pyramid


The carnivore diet, focusing solely on animal-based foods, offers several variations to suit individual health needs and goals. Here are some key variations:


  • Beef-Only Carnivore Diet: Focuses solely on beef, making it a straightforward and effective elimination diet. Ideal for those with autoimmune or chronic health issues. Long-term, it’s important to include various meats for nutritional balance.


  • Lion Diet: This stricter version includes only ruminant meats, salt, and water. It’s excellent for gut healing and autoimmune conditions, often used as a starting point before reintroducing other meats.


  • Nose-to-Tail Carnivore Diet: Promotes consuming all parts of the animal, including organs, for a comprehensive nutrient intake. Be cautious with liver and kidney consumption to avoid nutrient imbalances such as vitamin A toxicity, especially if you have liver conditions.


  • Meat-Only Carnivore Diet: Expands to all muscle meats while excluding organ meats, dairy, and eggs. Ideal for those who tolerate muscle meat and seek a foundational elimination diet.


  • Zero-Carb Carnivore Diet: Includes dairy, eggs, and all meats, focusing on foods with zero or minimal carbohydrates. Suitable for individuals without autoimmune issues who tolerate dairy and eggs well.


  • Carnivore Keto Diet: Combines low-carb, high-fat principles of the ketogenic diet with carnivore eating. Includes low-toxicity keto options such as avocados and coconut oil, ideal for metabolically healthy individuals who have mostly healed from chronic health issues.


  • Carnivore-Ish Keto Diet: Adds more ketogenic elements while staying meat-heavy. Includes alternative keto sweeteners and some nuts, perfect for metabolically healthy individuals without food addiction issues.


  • Animal-Based Diet: More inclusive, incorporating animal products, fruit, honey, and raw dairy. Generally only best for healthy individuals with high metabolic flexibility and elite athletes as mixing carbs and fats can be risky.


Choose the variation that aligns with your health goals and dietary needs for optimal results.


What Are the Benefits of the Carnivore Diet?


benefits of carnivore diet


The carnivore diet offers many, significant health benefits. This dietary approach emphasizes meat, fish, and animal products, eliminating plant-based foods entirely. Here, we delve into the comprehensive benefits of the carnivore diet and why individuals might consider this way of eating.


Nutrient Density and Bioavailability

Animal-based foods are rich in essential nutrients, including vitamins B12, D, A, and K2, as well as minerals such as zinc, iron, and selenium. These nutrients are more bioavailable in animal products, meaning the body can absorb and utilize them more efficiently compared to plant-based sources. For instance, heme iron from meat is absorbed better than non-heme iron from plants.


Improved Digestion and Gut Health

Many individuals experience significant improvements in digestion on a carnivore diet. By eliminating fibrous plant foods, which can be irritating for some people, digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often improve. Animal foods are digested more completely in the stomach and small intestine, reducing the risk of undigested food fermenting in the colon and causing discomfort.


carnivore diet for inflammation


Anti-Inflammatory Effects

The carnivore diet can have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Many plant-based foods contain compounds such as lectins, oxalates, and phytates, which can contribute to inflammation and autoimmune issues in sensitive individuals. By removing these potential irritants, inflammation levels can decrease, leading to improvements in conditions such as arthritis, eczema, and other inflammatory disorders.


Weight Loss and Metabolic Health

Many people turn to the carnivore diet for weight loss and metabolic improvements. This diet is inherently low in carbohydrates, leading to reduced insulin levels and increased fat burning. Individuals often report a reduction in body fat, particularly visceral fat, which is linked to metabolic diseases. The high satiety from protein and fat also reduces overall calorie intake, promoting sustainable weight loss.


Simplified Eating and Food Choices

The simplicity of the carnivore diet appeals to many. With a focus solely on animal products, meal planning and food choices become straightforward, reducing decision fatigue and making it easier to adhere to the diet. This simplicity can be particularly beneficial for individuals who struggle with dietary restrictions or complex meal plans.


carnivore diet for mental health studies


Enhanced Mental Clarity and Mood Stability

We have found in our clinical practice that clients on a carnivore diet have enhanced mental clarity and stabilized mood. The brain thrives on fats and proteins, and the absence of sugar and processed carbohydrates helps maintain stable blood sugar levels, reducing mood swings and enhancing focus. Additionally, the diet’s rich supply of omega-3 fatty acids and other brain-healthy nutrients supports cognitive function.


Healing of Chronic Conditions

Those on the carnivore diet report significant improvements in chronic health conditions. These include autoimmune diseases, chronic pain, and even mental health disorders. By providing a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet, the body can better repair and regenerate tissues, leading to improved health outcomes.


Sustainable Energy Levels

Switching to a carnivore diet often leads to more stable and sustained energy levels throughout the day. Without the blood sugar spikes and crashes associated with carbohydrate consumption, energy levels remain consistent, reducing fatigue and enhancing overall productivity.



Cardiovascular Health

While initially counterintuitive, research reports that a carnivore diet can improve cardiovascular health markers. Individuals see improvements in triglyceride levels, HDL cholesterol, and reductions in markers of systemic inflammation, which are all linked to better heart health.


Hormonal Balance

Animal fats play an important role in hormone production. By consuming adequate healthy fats from animal sources, individuals may experience better hormonal balance. This can be particularly beneficial for those with thyroid issues, adrenal fatigue, or reproductive health concerns.


You can learn more about some of the incredible benefits the carnivore diet has to offer here.


Who Should Try the Carnivore Diet?

The carnivore diet can benefit various individuals and be customized to suit different needs. People with chronic digestive issues such as bloating, gas, or chronic gut conditions can experience optimal gut healing. Those with autoimmune conditions or chronic inflammation can benefit from the diet’s anti-inflammatory effects, as it removes plant compounds such as lectins and oxalates that can trigger immune responses.


For weight loss and improved metabolic health, the carnivore diet’s low carbohydrate content helps reduce insulin levels and promotes fat burning. Those struggling with mental health concerns such as mood swings, brain fog, or anxiety might experience improved mental clarity and stability due to the diet’s focus on nutrient-dense, brain-healthy foods such as omega-3 fatty acids.


Essentially, anyone with any background interested in healing certain chronic health issues or looking to optimize their wellness can try the carnivore diet. Since the diet can be customized, individuals with certain animal food restrictions can still create a sustainable dietary plan.


Are Humans Considered Carnivores?

While humans have historically eaten meat-heavy diets, we are technically considered omnivores as we have both the physiological and anatomical features to consume and digest both animal and plant foods. Our dietary adaptability supports our omnivore capabilities as a survival mechanism during times when animal foods were not available during our evolution.


The carnivore diet has roots deeply embedded in human history. Throughout history, humans have adapted to various environments, with many early societies relying heavily on meat for sustenance. This dietary practice is evident in both historical hunter-gatherer societies and some modern-day indigenous tribes.


Hunter-gatherer societies, which existed for tens of thousands of years, thrived by hunting animals and gathering plant foods. However, in many harsh climates, especially during the Ice Ages, plant foods were scarce, and animal meat became the primary food source. These early humans were highly skilled hunters, relying on large game such as mammoths, bison, and deer for their nutritional needs. Their diets were predominantly carnivorous, rich in proteins and fats, which provided the necessary energy for their survival.


The Inuit people of the Arctic are a prime example of a society that has historically depended on a carnivorous diet. Living in a region where vegetation is sparse, the Inuit traditionally consume a diet composed mainly of fish, seals, whales, and other marine mammals. This diet, high in omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients, has supported their health and well-being for generations. The Inuit’s ability to thrive on such a diet showcases the viability of carnivorous eating in sustaining human health.


Similarly, the Maasai tribe in East Africa is known for its predominantly animal-based diet. The Maasai consume large quantities of meat, milk, and blood from cattle, which are central to their culture and nutrition. This diet provides them with ample protein, fats, and micronutrients, contributing to their robust health and physical endurance.


In addition to the Inuit and Maasai, the Sami people of northern Scandinavia have traditionally relied on reindeer herding and hunting. Their diet includes reindeer meat, fish, and other animal products, adapted to the harsh Arctic environment where plant-based foods are limited.


These examples focus on how various cultures have thrived on carnivorous diets tailored to their environments. Modern research supports the idea that humans can maintain health and vitality on diets rich in animal products, reflecting our evolutionary adaptation to such eating patterns.


Even today, some tribes and communities continue to adhere to their traditional carnivorous diets. The Hadza of Tanzania, one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes, consume a diet that includes a significant portion of meat from hunting. They also gather honey, fruits, and tubers, but animal foods are a crucial part of their nutrition.


The history of carnivorous diets among humans is extensive and varied, demonstrating adaptability and resilience in diverse environments. From ancient hunter-gatherers to contemporary indigenous tribes such as the Inuit, Maasai, Sami, and Hadza, the reliance on animal-based foods has been a cornerstone of human survival and health.


Weston A. Price



Weston A. Price, a prominent early 20th-century dentist and researcher, extensively studied the diets of various indigenous populations worldwide. His findings revealed that these groups, who consumed traditional diets rich in whole, unprocessed foods, exhibited exceptional dental health and overall well-being. Unlike the modern Western diet, which is high in processed foods, refined sugars, and grains, traditional diets are nutrient-dense and varied, including animal products, dairy, seafood, and some plant-based foods.


Price observed that populations adhering to their ancestral diets had minimal incidence of chronic diseases, tooth decay, and dental deformities. In contrast, those who adopted Westernized diets experienced a significant decline in health, marked by increased dental caries, malocclusion, and degenerative diseases. His research emphasized the importance of whole foods and the detrimental impact of processed foods on health.


Although Price’s beliefs were more inclusive than the strict carnivore diet, his work emphasized the crucial role of nutrient-rich, traditional foods in maintaining health. He advocated for the consumption of organ meats, raw dairy, fermented foods, and seafood. His findings show the negative consequences of modern dietary habits and the benefits of returning to more traditional, whole-food-based diets.


Closing Thoughts On the Carnivore Diet and Its History

Are humans considered carnivores? While we are technically omnivores, history and recent research supports that plant foods should be considered more as supplemental survival foods. Our diets should always be meat-heavy whether you’re on a carnivore diet or not.


Hunter-gatherer societies and indigenous populations, such as the Inuit, relied heavily on meat for sustenance. Pioneering researcher Weston A. Price documented the exceptional health of these groups, who consumed nutrient-dense, animal-based diets. The Inuit, for example, thrived on fish, seals, and whales, demonstrating how humans can flourish on carnivorous diets.


The carnivore diet, focused on consuming animal-based foods, offers numerous health benefits. It provides essential nutrients, improves digestion, and reduces inflammation. Many individuals report enhanced mental clarity, stabilized mood, and sustained energy levels. The diet’s simplicity also makes meal planning straightforward, which can be beneficial for those struggling with dietary restrictions or complex meal plans.


Price’s research draws attention to the negative impacts of the modern Western diet, high in processed foods, refined sugars, and grains, which have led to increased dental decay, chronic diseases, and overall health decline. Although Price’s dietary recommendations were more inclusive than the strict carnivore diet, he emphasized the importance of nutrient-dense, traditional foods.


Modern adaptations of the carnivore diet can be tailored to individual health needs. The carnivore diet, rooted in historical and contemporary evidence, offers a viable path to improved health and well-being.


Work With Our Trusted Carnivore Diet Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioners

The Nutrition with Judy practice is honored to be a trusted carnivore diet practitioner support serving clients from around the globe. We’re passionate about helping our clients achieve root-cause healing in order to lead the best quality of life possible that’s nearly symptom-free. Our team is dedicated to providing nuanced nutritional tips for your wellness journey. We welcome you to explore our free resources and are always available to support you through personalized protocols. Our Symptom Burden Assessment (SBA) is the perfect starting point for discovering your root cause and is required to work with our team— you can learn more in-depth about this powerful tool here.

Start your root-cause healing journey today and contact us any time with any questions or concerns.


DISCLAIMER: This content is for educational purposes only. While we are board-certified in holistic nutrition and are nutritional therapy practitioners, we are not providing medical advice. Whenever you start a new diet or protocol, always consult with your trusted practitioner first.

Nutrition with Judy

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