Here you will find a carnivore diet food list to help you learn what you can and can't eat on a carnivore diet. I've also included a printable PDF with the foods that are allowed and not allowed to be eaten on a carnivore diet so that you can easily reference it at any time.
What is the carnivore diet?
Before we get to the carnivore diet food list, I wanted to give you a quick introduction as to what the carnivore diet is, as it has been gaining popularity in the last few years. The carnivore diet is where you only eat foods that come from animals, and avoid any foods that come from plants. It sounds pretty extreme, but this elimination diet has many positive reviews and testimonials. People who try it say it helps with many different health problems and that it can help with many things including weight loss, blood sugar regulation, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, mood, energy, sleep, digestive issues, focus and more. Of course, like any other diet or nutrition changes, before considering the carnivore diet, be sure to discuss it with your doctor and other healthcare practitioners.
The carnivore diet is based on the idea that our ancestors evolved eating mainly meat and fish, and that the high intake of carbohydrates and plant based foods that is common now is responsible for many different health issues and diseases.
It is also based on the idea that the high intake of plants that is often recommended is not ideal for health. Plants naturally produce a number of different chemicals and compounds to help protect themselves from pray including things like oxalates, salicylates, phytic acid or phytates, lectins, and more. It's felt that these chemicals and compounds can be harmful to the human body, so by avoiding them by avoiding plant foods your health will improve.
The carnivore diet is different from other elimination diets or low carb style diets such as paleo (although by definition a paleo diet isn't actually a low carbohydrate diet) or keto, in that the carnivore diet aims for a zero carbohydrate intake. So even though the goal of a carnivore diet isn't to put your body in ketosis, this would happen naturally given the lack of carbs on the diet.
A carnivore diet is basically a combination of an extreme ketogenic diet, and elimination diet, both of which can help with various health problems. However, it should be noted that so far there have been no studies examining a carnivore diet to help prove or disprove any of the health claims associated with it.
By removing plant foods, carnivore diets contain little or no:
And this is the reason why this diet is often cited to be so helpful for many different chronic health conditions and digestive issues.
In order to follow a carnivore diet, you need to stick to animal-based foods. But, not all animal products are allowed on a carnivore diet, so in this post I've included a carnivore diet food list that outlines which foods are allowed, and which foods aren't allowed on a carnivore diet to make following this type of diet that much easier.
Carnivore Diet Food List
Foods to Eat on a Carnivore Diet:
- Meat - this includes any type of unprocessed meat including beef, lamb, pork, game meats, chicken, turkey, etc.- you would need to avoid processed meats like hot dogs and deli meats which include fillers, sugars and other ingredients which aren't allowed on a carnivore diet.
- Fish - any type of unprocessed fish such salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, crab, scallops, shrimp etc.
- Other animal products including eggs, bone marrow, lard, bone broth (made without vegetables), etc.
- Full fat and low lactose dairy products (in small amounts) including butter, heavy cream, ghee, hard cheese, etc. - ideally raw dairy is preferred on a carnivore diet
- Seasonings including salt, black pepper, herbs and spices. Be sure to avoid any seasonings with sugars or carbohydrates.
Foods to Avoid on a Carnivore Diet
- High-lactose dairy products such as soft cheese, milk, yogurt, etc.
- All additives including but not limited to, nitrates, artificial flavours, natural flavours, nitrites, MSG, etc.
- Nuts and seeds
- Imitation meats or plant based meats
- Beverages other than water
In order to do the carnivore diet properly, you need to follow a nose-to-tail approach. This means that you are including organ meats in your diet to ensure that you are getting adequate vitamins and minerals. If you don't include organ meats you could become deficient in various vitamins and minerals. And in extreme cases even develop problems like vitamin C deficiency or scurvy. As I mentioned before, the carnivore diet is an extreme elimination diet so it needs to be approached with caution.
You also want to ensure that the meat and fish you are eating are naturally raised. This means pasture raised meats (ie. grass fed and grass finished beef) and wild fish. Because of this, the carnivore diet can be rather expensive to do and not everyone could afford to do it properly. If you are not familiar with the differences between naturally raised meat and factory farmed meats I've written about it before in my post The Biggest Mistake You Can Make On The Paleo Diet.
Carnivore diet shopping list:
If you are thinking of trying a carnivore diet, I've created a handy printable PDF carnivore diet shopping list or carnivore diet food list for you.
To get the list simply leave your email below and it will be sent to your inbox.
Carnivore diet meal plan:
If you are thinking about trying a carnivore diet, I highly encourage you to discuss it with your doctor first, as there are some people where this type of diet may not be ideal depending on your underlying health conditions, the medications you take etc. I also encourage you to do more research before just starting it on a whim. My favourite resource for the carnivore diet is the book The Carnivore Code by Dr. Paul Saladino. His book is full of great information, studies explaining how plants and plant chemicals can be harmful to our health, and he does a great job of really breaking down the science behind this diet.
But if you are thinking about trying a carnivore diet and aren't sure what you could even eat on a diet like this, here is a sample 3 day carnivore diet meal plan:
Sample Carnivore Diet Meal Plan
- Breakfast: Steak and eggs
- Lunch: Salmon and fried duck
- Snack: Bacon
- Dinner: Ground beef patties
- Breakfast: Eggs with bacon
- Lunch: Tuna and hard boiled eggs
- Snack: Sardines
- Dinner: Bone broth and roasted chicken
- Breakfast: Chicken livers and scrambled eggs
- Lunch: Turkey burgers
- Snack: Hard boiled eggs
- Dinner: Roasted salmon
You'll note that on a carnivore diet, counting calories and macros is not recommended. Portion sizes will also vary depending on the person. The goal is to eat when you are hungry, and finish eating when you are full.
I hope you found this helpful! If you have tried a carnivore diet please share your experience in the comments. I would love to hear from you!
Frequently asked questions:
Nope. The true carnivore diet only allows water. However, many people eat a more flexible carnivore diet where they will add beverages like coffee or tea.
A carnivore diet eliminates all foods from plants and only allows you to eat food from animals. By doing so it naturally eliminates all carbohydrates and would put you into ketosis. It is basically an extreme version of a keto or low carbohydrate diet which limits, but does not entirely omit the amount of carbs that you can eat, with the goal of getting your body into ketosis.
I highly recommend the book The Carnivore Code by Dr. Paul Saladino. It is the best resource I have found so far and is full of really great information.
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