Raw Vs. cooked? That's the question for a lot of carnivores. Especially the more seasoned folk who have been on this way of eating for some time and noticed they feel pretty good rare steak. But is raw meat actually better for you? Are the nurtients more bio-available? Is it the ultimate carnivore way? Or is it all just a load of glorified extremists who have weird taste for blood and no regard for personal health? Let's find out.
What is the raw meat diet?
If you’re searching for a new way to modify your eating habits, the raw meat diet might be for you. As the name suggests, it consists primarily of raw meat, although some versions do include raw eggs, fish, and dairy too.
Sometimes known as the raw primal diet, proponents believe that a diet of raw meat can enhance your health, but what exactly is it?
A strict raw meat diet consists of eating raw meat and nothing else. Although pork and poultry should never be consumed raw, you’ll find raw steak, beef, lamb and venison plentiful on the raw meat diet.
However, many people do consume other foods while on the raw meat diet. While raw dairy, fish, and eggs may not sound like the most appetizing thing on the menu, they can be eating alongside raw meat when you’re following this meal plan.
Now you know exactly what the raw meat diet is, it’s time to get to the big question…
Is it safe to eat raw meat?
If you thought the reactions you got from people when you told them you were on the carnivore diet were bad, wait until you tell people you’re following the raw meat diet and you’re guaranteed to get asked the same question; is it safe?
Contrary to popular belief, eating raw meat is safe, providing it’s prepared appropriately. Check out this guy who's been eating raw meat for years!
Similarly, you’ll need to ensure your food is sourced from hygienic and reputable providers if you’re going to be adding raw meat to your diet.
Many people assume that raw meat is dangerous because of the level of bacteria and/or parasites present in it. As the cooking process can kill bacteria and parasites, people presume that eating meat when it’s raw must be bad for you.
However, the vast majority of meat-borne diseases occur because of inappropriate food preparation or poor quality meat. While the risk of bacteria being present in raw meat is higher than in cooked meat, choosing meat from a reputable source and preparing it properly can mitigate this risk. In fact, a good quality piece of raw meat only carries a minuscule risk of making you unwell, as long as it’s prepared properly.
Of course, following a raw meat diet may not be the right choice for everyone. People with compromised immune systems may prefer to stick to a carnivorous diet without foraying into raw meat, for example. However, if you don’t have any underlying health issues, you source your meat properly and you prepare it well, there’s no reason to believe that consuming raw meat is bad for you.
Raw Meat Eating - The Science
People who practice raw meat eating consistently notice improved or eased digestion, feel lighter and have more energy. Why would this be? Surely cooking your food makes the nutrition more bio-available?
THE RAW FROG EXPERIMENT
In 1984, a Russian scientist named Alexander Ugolev did an experiment with 2 frogs — one cooked and one raw.
Each frog was placed into a cup that was filled with hydrochloric acid, the acid present in most carnivore stomachs.
The results were interesting to say the least. The raw frog completely dissolved while the pre-cooked frog remained mostly intact with only moderate changes to its surface.
The reason is that the cells in the raw frog underwent "autolysis" which means "self-destruction" when put in the HCl.
In other words, in the presence of hydrochloric acid, the raw frog digested itself. The cooked frog was unable to do this due to chemical changes caused by cooking.
THE POTTENGER CAT EXPERIMENT
In the 1930's, Francis Pottinger Jr conducted an experiment on more than 900 cats. SOme were fed raw meat and milk, other fed cooked and some fed a mixture of raw and cooked.
He noted that the cats fed with raw foods consistently had better health, physically and mentally, than their cooked meat counterparts.
Furthermore, the cats fed cooked food developed many issues which worsened with each generation of cooked food cat. The health issues were only reversed when the cooked fed cats were fed a raw meat diet and even then, it took several generations to restore full health.
Frogs and cats is all well and good, but what about humans?
THE WESTON A PRICE OBSERVATIONS
In the 1930's, Weston A. Price, a dental surgeon, documented the health of indigenous tribes people both in their native environment and those who had moved to cities.
He found that the indigenous people that ate their ancestral diet of animal foods, raw and cooked were free of most modern disease and had perfect dental development. While those in modern cities, on the then Standard American Diet had poor facial development and many diseases.
He hypothesized that the rise in agriculture caused many vitamin decencies. So much so that he was able to reverse many diseases and change the facial structure by giving patients an animal based, raw food diet.
The pros of a raw meat diet
The high protein nature of a carnivorous diet can certainly boost your energy and minimize the risk of autoimmune illnesses, but a raw meat diet has other benefits too. Take a look at the pros of a raw meat diet to see if it’s right for you:
Raw beef contains a high amount of B vitamins, for example, which promotes cell health, enhances brain function, increases energy levels and helps to prevent infections. In addition to this, fans of the raw primal diet argue that cooking meat makes it harder to digest, which implies that switching a from medium steak to steak tartare could have a positive impact on your gut.
Furthermore, the cooking process tends to kill a significant number of enzymes that are present in raw meat. As many people believe that consuming some of these enzymes can be good for you, the increased number of enzymes present in raw meat could have a beneficial effect on your health.
Eating a carnivorous diet means you might miss out on your usual daily dose of vitamin C. Normally found in fruits and vegetables, you’ll need to find another way to consume this crucial vitamin when you’re following a meat-only diet.
Fortunately, a raw meat diet enables you to get the vitamin C you might otherwise be missing. People assume that meat contains no vitamin C at all, but this isn’t the case. It’s actually the cooking process which eradicates the vitamin C from meat because it’s a heat-sensitive vitamin. And check out how much Vit C is in liver!
When you consume meat raw, there’s no heat to get rid of the vitamin C. As a result, you can follow a carnivorous lifestyle while still getting your daily dose of vitamin C when you incorporate raw meat into your diet.
Cooking meat can produce a range of potentially carcinogenic compounds, including Advanced Glycation End-Products, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, and Heterocyclic Amines. While some scientists believe the number of carcinogens produced in the cooking process is negligible, others maintain they are a significant risk to health.
Either way, a raw meat diet means you won’t be consuming them and won’t need to worry about the potential risk they carry.
A raw meat diet is easy to follow and doesn’t require you to undertake complicated mathematical equations before you reach for a snack. If you’re fed up with counting calories, limiting your food intake and spending all your time thinking about your next meal, the raw meat carnivorous diet can be a welcome change. What’s more, you’ll free up some extra time when you don’t have to cook everything in advance, and you can drastically reduce the amount of washing up too!
The cons of a raw meat diet
Like all food plans, the raw meat diet can have some drawbacks, such as:
DIFFICULTY SOURCING GOOD PRODUCE
When you first embrace the raw meat diet, you may be wary of where you get your meat from. It’s good to be wary because finding a high-quality source of meat is critical. While it can be tricky to find a retailer you trust, once you get on the raw meat diet, you’ll find butchers, stores, and restaurants you can trust.
For many people, the cost associated with a raw meat diet can be troublesome. Buying high-quality meat can be more expensive than you’d like, so there’s no real way to avoid the extra price tag. However, any diet should consist of premium quality foods, so the raw meat diet may not add as much to your shopping bill as you expect.
If you don’t live in a culture where raw meat is routinely consumed, you’re going to be something of a novelty. Fortunately, the unwanted attention doesn’t last long. In today’s society, new lifestyle choices are becoming much more mainstream, so the raw meat diet really isn’t as out there as it first sounds. Plus, once people see the benefits it brings, they’ll be reaching for the sashimi and steak tartare themselves.
With relatively few drawbacks and some major potential benefits, it’s easy to see why the raw meat diet is becoming increasingly popular. If you want to try a raw meat, carnivorous diet, check out these 5 ways to keep your meals safe and satisfying…
5 Tips to eat raw meat safely
1. FREEZE MEAT FOR 14 DAYS
When you freeze fish and meat, it kills the potentially harmful pathogens which are found in all raw meats and fish. By keeping your food frozen for at least 14 days, you’re getting rid of the potentially harmful extras and making your meals much, much safer.
2. EAT FRESH
As soon as your meat and fish have defrosted or thawed, keep it very cold and eat it straight away. Allowing raw meat to sit at room temperature will let bacteria flourish, and this is where problems can arise. By keeping your meat very cold and eating is immediately after it’s thawed, you’re practicing proper food preparation and keeping your meals fresh.
3. EAT HIGH QUALITY
If you’re unsure where your meat or fish has come from, don’t risk consuming it. Although it’s always important to source high-quality foodstuffs, it’s even more important when you’re eating a raw meat diet.
On any carnivorous diet, it’s essential that you start by evaluating the care of the animals which are providing the meat you’re eating. As well as looking for providers who practice high standards of animal care, you’ll want to consume meat which comes from pastured animals only.
When animals are grass-fed, it’s better for them and better for you. Many farms now offer direct-to-door food services, so you can source high-quality meat straight from your farmer. By cutting down the elements in the supply chain, you have more control over where your meat comes from and how it’s sourced.
4. TRY CITRUS
It’s not unusual for chefs to sear raw fish in lemon or lime before it’s consumed, and this is something you can easily do at home. Citrus can kill the potentially harmful pathogens which could be found in raw meat or fish. By soaking in lemon and/or lime, you can sear the meat or fish and eradicate contaminates. As an extra measure for keeping your food safe, this is certainly worth doing.
5. ADD RAW EGGS
Raw eggs can be a central component of the raw meat diet, so don’t be afraid to incorporate them. People tend to have the same fears about raw eggs as they do about raw meat but the same rules apply; source your eggs from a high-quality provider or farmer and there’s no reason they can’t be a nutritious and welcome addition to the raw meat diet.
Put simply, raw meat is safe when correctly purchased and prepared and it can be an extremely healthy choice.
Consuming raw beef is dangerous, as it can harbor illness-causing bacteria, including Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Shigella, and Staphylococcus aureus, all of which are otherwise destroyed with heat during the cooking process ( 2 , 3 , 4 ).What are the disadvantages of eating raw meat? ›
Raw meat may contain harmful bacteria including Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter and E. coli that can cause food poisoning. These bacteria are destroyed when meat is correctly cooked.What are the negative effects of the raw food diet? ›
If the roots are peeled and well-cooked, they are safe to eat. But if they are eaten raw or undercooked, they can lead to things like diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting.Can you live off of raw meat? ›
It is possible to survive on a raw food diet, but there are some health risks associated with it. Some of the studies that have been done on people who have lived on raw food diets for a long time have shown that they tend to be underweight, so there's a risk of just not getting enough calories in you.What do you call someone who eats raw meat? ›
omophagy (əʊˈmɒfədʒɪ) / (ˌəʊməˈfeɪdʒɪə) / noun.Is raw meat healthier than cooked? ›
Raw food is not any healthier than cooked food. Cooking decreases some nutrients, yet increases others. It also destroys certain harmful compounds and kills bacteria.Why do I crave raw meat? ›
"If your body is craving meat, it may be due to low iron status. Focus on eating chicken, fish or beef if you're a meat eater, or pairing high iron plant based foods, like spinach and dark leafy greens, with a Vitamin C-containing food to increase your dietary iron sources," says Shaw.Why do vegans look older? ›
Inge Theron, who is the founder of Face Gym, is actually a fan of the vegan diet, but she admits it has some drawbacks as far as how it can make you look. She told the Evening Standard that most vegans exhibit a marked lack of elasticity in their facial skin due to a lack of collagen and elastin.What's the healthiest diet to be on? ›
- The flexitarian (mostly plant-based) and DASH diets tying for second place.
- WW (formerly Weight Watchers) in fourth place. It assigns point values to foods, with more nutritious choices having fewer points.
Yes. Black Coffee will, inevitably, be your best option if you're vegan. Less so, admittedly, if you're a raw vegan, however, seeing as it's most commonly served hot. What's more, whether you're choosing Black Coffee, Cold Brew Coffee, Iced Coffee or any other variety, the beans must still be roasted.
It is literally possible to starve to death even while filling one's stomach with raw food. In the wild, people typically survive only a few months without cooking, even if they can obtain meat.Why can you eat raw beef but not chicken? ›
The reason why you can't eat raw chicken, compared to other types of meat, is because bacteria can easily survive the processing procedure. Salmonella lives in the intestines of chickens and, due to the way the meat is processed, these parts can easily contaminate the rest of the chicken and remain there when sold.Is lean meat the healthiest meat? ›
Choosing lean meat and poultry as part of a healthy diet can help reduce someone's risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and early death. Experts advise that people choose meat that is at least 90% lean and cut off any visible fat. Skinless poultry, beef sirloin, and 95% lean ground beef are healthier choices.Do you get more protein from raw meat? ›
Both beef and raw beef are high in protein.
Beef has 77% more protein than raw beef - beef has 25.4g of protein per 100 grams and raw beef has 14.4g of protein.
“Meat is packed with vitamin B12, a nutrient that's essential for providing long-lasting energy,” says Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, and author of Eat Dirt.How do you feel if you have not eaten meat for two days? ›
You may feel tired and weak if you cut meat out of your diet. That's because you're missing an important source of protein and iron, both of which give you energy. The body absorbs more iron from meat than other foods, but it's not your only choice.Why is it so hard to stop eating meat? ›
Culture and habits die hard, and eating animals is common in most cultures. The human body is durable and pliant, and so there are many long-lived meat-eaters, who appear to provide evidence against the truth that animal foods are unnecessary and harmful.Do vegans smell better? ›
Research suggests vegetarians have more attractive and pleasant body odor compared to meat-eaters. However, specific vegan foods like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and garlic can cause body odor, too. Sulfur compounds are the biggest reason, but many biochemical components in food can affect your sweat.Why are vegans so moody? ›
Amino acids come from protein. Your body uses them to make important brain chemicals that help with your mood. If you don't have a well-planned vegan diet, you might not get enough protein. This means you may not consume enough amino acids, which could cause depression symptoms.Do vegans get wrinkles faster? ›
Vegans likely age slower than meat-eaters on average. Studies show people eating more vegetables get fewer wrinkles. Antioxidants from plant foods also reduce the oxidation and inflammation behind aging. However, vegans eating a diet high in refined carbs may not experience anti-aging benefits.
- Eat plenty of soluble fiber. ...
- Avoid foods that contain trans fats. ...
- Don't drink too much alcohol. ...
- Eat a high protein diet. ...
- Reduce your stress levels. ...
- Don't eat a lot of sugary foods. ...
- Do aerobic exercise (cardio) ...
- Cut back on carbs — especially refined carbs.
- Atkins Diet. #1 in Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets. ...
- HMR Program. #2 in Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets (tie) ...
- OPTAVIA. #2 in Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets (tie) ...
- Biggest Loser Diet. #4 in Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets (tie) ...
- Keto Diet. #4 in Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets (tie) ...
- WW (Weight Watchers) Diet. ...
- Jenny Craig Diet. ...
- Nutrisystem Diet.
In her book "The Scandi Sense Diet," she details a plan that the beauty and health blog Get the Gloss called "the simplest diet in the world." Under the diet, each meal should consist of four handfuls of food — one handful of protein, one of carbohydrates, and two of vegetables — plus a spoonful of fat.