Since the carnivore diet is a zero-carb diet, the benefits you get from eating a carnivore diet are similar to the benefits you get from intermittent fasting.
Before we get to it, I need to clarify the fact that Intermittent fasting means meal timing—when you eat your meals.
Do you eat throughout the day or do you eat one or two meals in a compressed window?
In the former, you are spiking your hormones during the day. This inhibits fat loss for reasons we aren't going into today. Simply put, it screws up your hormones and thus appetite and hunger signals.
The flip side is eating one or two or three meals within a "feeding window." Then outside of the feeding window, you don't eat, thus making it a "fasting window."
My favorite way to practice intermittent fasting is using an 18-20 hour fast and a 6-8 hour feeding window.
This has evolved from the 16/8 I started with years ago—this still is a great place to start for most people... just skip breakfast and eat your first meal 4-6 hours after waking up.
Now back to the carnivore diet.
One of the primary reasons eating a carnivore diet pairs so well with intermittent fasting is the nutrient-rich nature of animal foods.
Steak is a nutrition powerhouse. It is also full of satiating protein and fat.
It's very hard to overeat steak. And afterward, you aren't hungry. You are full. Your body feels content. You don't need to eat soon after.
Compared this to eating sugar, carbs, or other highly palatable foods, and you have the opposite effect: you are hungry and more likely to eat soon after. (This is due to the lack of nutrition in these foods.)
This makes sense considering your appetite's mechanism is getting your body the nutrition it needs to survive and repair, which is why eating processed garbage just leads to eating more processed garbage—because your body is STRUGGLING to get the nutrition it desires so it has to keep eating.
I would say this is the single greatest benefit of the carnivore-based approach: the appetite and satiety effects.
The reason a keto or carnivore diet gets results for people is it focuses on getting people off the foods that wreak havoc on hormones, which are the carb and sugar-filled foods.
When you focus on the number of carbs and sugar you are consuming, you start to eat less. If you're like me, when you start paying attention to your carb intake—especially sugar intake—you'll be amazed by how much there actually is in the food supply.
By removing the bulk of carbs from your diet, you get a myriad of benefits, including insulin sensitivity, appetite control, improved gut bacteria, and more. You also end up eliminating many of the fake foods from your diet since most of these fake foods are carb-based.
Naturally Full, Naturally Fast
The satiety benefits of a carnivore diet mean you are hungry less often. So you end up pushing meals back or wanting to skip a meal here and there without even trying.
This is your body getting closer and closer to its natural state—something we all have.
Before you know it, you're waking up each day with no desire for breakfast and you go hours on end without thinking about food.
It is life-changing.
Soon after that, you'll be able to go entire days without eating or thinking about food.
Should you start a carnivore diet before intermittent fasting or vice versa?
I think everyone should start by moving closer to a carnivore or flexible carnivore diet.
If you compare that to intermittent fasting, you can see the focus on food quality.
If you are eating Twinkies and drinking coke all day, but you start utilizing intermittent fasting, all that means is if you eat Twinkies and coke within your feeding window.
That is not ideal.
While intermittent fasting is always better than not fasting, you must focus on the quality of the food you are eating. This is the foundation of human nutrition.
So focus on going carnivore first and then let your fasting routine come to you naturally as you start getting results.
Who wants to fast when you can eat this?! Fortunately your body knows best, so it will.
CARNIVORE + IF RECAP
Let’s recap why carnivore eating and intermittent fasting are the perfect match.
Intermittent fasting helps control hormones. This stabilizes appetite and leptin levels, which leads you to eat less. This helps your body find its natural setpoint for weight and appetite.
Carnivore is low or zero carb diet. Since carbs affect hormones the most, you give your body a break and your hormones reset.
Compare this to the Standard American Diet and way of eating three meals a day full of carbs, low-quality fats, and industrialized animal foods. Then you have snacks. I won't even go there... it's bad.
This low-quality diet and frequency eating ruins hormones. This leads to chronically elevated insulin levels, which obviously promotes fat gain. This increases insulin resistance, which makes it harder to lose body fat and stabilize hormones and appetite.
Finally, intermittent fasting is a first Principle of human health. It is how our ancestors lived: with an inconsistent and constantly varied food supply. Hunter-gatherers fast. Plain and simple.
Since a carnivore diet is a first principle of human health—flexible carnivore, I should say—combining it with intermittent fasting is one of the best things you could do for your health and well-being.
Here are some tips:
- If you aren’t hungry, don’t eat.
- Skip meals here and there.
- Extend your fasting window here and there.
- Sometimes break your fast early and sometimes break it later.
- Overeat at times. Under-eat at times.
- Mix things up often.
- And make the base of your nutrition healthy animal products