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Harvard Study: Carnivore Diet Can Speed Weight Loss + Boost Overall Health — Top MD Reveals How Women Over 50 Can Benefit

It worked for Sharrell Kline, 64: She lost 100 lbs and got off all her meds!

Posts about the carnivore diet — a way of eating built exclusively around animal-based foods — have amassed 1.4 billion views on TikTok. And it’s no wonder because folks are crediting the strategy with stunning health turnarounds. “I personally quintupled my calorie intake and lost 23 pounds in 10 days,” shares functional medicine expert Anthony Chaffee, MD. Meanwhile, Sharrell Kline, 64, healed a debilitating skin condition and lost 100 pounds. And many others in their 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond report amazing carnivore diet results too. “They reverse diabetes and metabolic syndrome, alleviate autoimmune diseases, even lift major depression,” says Dr. Chaffee. There’s even recent Harvard research with a long list of potential carnivore diet results, everything from lifting brain fog and easing arthritis to soothing GI trouble and  deepening sleep. Read on to find out if the approach might be right for you.

What is a carnivore diet?

The gist of the carnivore diet is simple: You avoid plant-based foods in favor of animal-based options like dairy, eggs, fish, poultry, beef, lamb and pork. You drink water, milk or bone broth and season food with salt. People do get creative and make bread from cheese and eggs or “breading” from ground pork rinds. Some also allow coffee or spices. But, in general, there are no grains and no produce. Mostly it’s meat.

Yes, that sounds crazy at first. But consider this: “There’s evidence prehistoric humans were carnivores for 2 million years before eating vegetables,” says Dr. Chaffee, host of the Plant Free MD podcast. So the diet has a long track record of helping us survive and thrive.

Then there are the findings informally known at “The Harvard Carnivore Study.” It was actually the first formal research on the carnivore diet, amassing data on thousands of carnivore dieters (up to age 85) recruited from social media. Researchers found that among those included 89% reported higher energy, 91% cut cravings, 93% lowered blood pressure. Many other conditions improved as well and many got off meds. Says Dr. Chaffee: “Even if you try carnivore for a short time, it’ll give you a reference point for how amazing your body can feel.”

Related: The Carnivore Diet Surpasses Keto In Popularity: 5 Women Over 50 Explain Why and How It Worked For Them

Why the carnivore diet gets results

1. Carnivore lowers blood sugar

The ancient style of eating has big advantages in today’s age of highly processed food. For starters, it cuts most carbs, “so blood sugar and insulin come down to normal very quickly,” says Dr. Chaffee. The Harvard study found that 100% of type 2 diabetics got off injectable meds and 84% got off all diabetes meds. And since high insulin drives appetite and blocks fat burn, says Dr. Chaffee, lowering it “gets you in the right metabolic state for weight loss.”

Related: 5 Easy Lifestyle Tricks That May Help You Balance Your Blood Sugar

2. Carnivore shifts you into fat-burning mode

Carnivore is a stricter version of the keto diet. That means it keeps blood sugar so low, your body doesn’t make enough blood sugar to fuel itself. So your system then begins turning fat into an alternate fuel called ketones, explains Dr. Chaffee. When we’re running on ketones, burning of stored fat increases about 650%. Ketones also energize the brain and suppress appetite, he adds.

3. Carnivore eliminates irritants that can make you prone to weight gain

Carnivore is what scientists call an “elimination diet.” That simply means it eliminates ingredients that may be causing inflammatory or allergic reactions in the body. Carnivore actually cuts hundreds of plant compounds “that may trigger things like cravings, thyroid problems and inflammation without you realizing,” says Dr. Chaffee.

Dr. Chaffee discovered the diet during a University of Washington lecture on cancer. “A professor explained that plants make pesticides to defend themselves from being eaten,” says Dr. Chaffee. “A Brussels sprout, for example, has 130 natural carcinogens. The professor then said he doesn’t eat vegetables or let his kids eat vegetables. Because plants are trying to kill us.” Intrigued, Dr. Chaffee experimented with all-meat eating. He got leaner and fitter, even without exercise. He never got sick. Today, he prescribes the approach to patients, who often get equally great carnivore diet results.

Related: Top Doc Reveals the Simple Carnivore Diet Twist That Can Help Boost Fat Burning Fast

Is a carnivore diet safe?

Limited studies on Arctic people consuming only animal foods link the diet to “good health and longevity,” per the Harvard team. And while carnivores may have elevated “bad” cholesterol, the diet helped 84% improve heart issues. And 95% say their overall health improved.

While vegans can get sick without supplements, Dr. Chaffee adds, “we get all the nutrients we need from meat.”

Is carnivore right for you?

There’s abundant evidence of healthy vegans in the world. And most of us have eaten plants and felt fine. But for some, especially those who haven’t gotten great results from plant-based eating or who can’t control portions on omnivorous plans, carnivore is certainly worth a shot.

Dr. Chaffee notes that folks with GI issues and autoimmune disease often see a big difference in their symptoms. And, indeed, the Harvard team found that 87% of respondents with autoimmune issues reported that they improved or completely resolved once they began avoiding plant foods; meanwhile, 97% of GI woes improved or vanished.

Dr. Chaffee says carnivore eating can also offer hunger and cravings relief far greater than other ways of eating, including traditional keto.

It also may be a good option if you have symptoms of inflammation, such as joint pain or skin issues. Every body is different, and while plants may not kill you, “tolerating something doesn’t make it good for you,” Dr. Chaffee notes. He adds that plant toxins can build up our systems over time and become problematic as we age. So even if plants seemed to help you at one time, if you’re struggling now, it’s a possible reason carnivore might get the results you want.

Another nice benefit for folks over 50: Carnivores get loads of protein, collagen and fatty acids that help stave off and potentially reverse age-related muscle and bone loss, memory issues and metabolic issues. Adds the doc, “Many people lose 10 to 20 pounds and feel a decade younger in the first month.”

Related: This Elimination Diet Will Heal Your Gut to Fight Aging and Disease

Carnivore diet results: Wendy Myers, 48

When Wendy Myers contracted Lyme disease, meds did little for the Oregon mom’s pain. Replacing processed junk with protein and produce made it worse. “I thought I’d have to give up the food service job I love,” recalls Wendy, 48. Her husband, Jake, found Dr. Chaffee and carnivore on the internet.

Wendy was skeptical, but Jake decided to try it. When he got healthier and she got sicker, “I agreed to go carnivore for six weeks.” She started off with steak for breakfast, burgers for lunch and steak for dinner. Gradually adding variety, “pork made me achy again, but other than that, my pain was almost gone by the end of the first week.” She ate when she was hungry and until she was full, yet lost 13 pounds that week too. “It was more than I’d lost on my old starvation diets.”

Wendy admits the switch was an adjustment. “But as I listened to my body, foods that make me feel bad became less tempting,” she says. Today, she’s off pain meds and is down 81 pounds. She’s also off meds for heartburn, migraines and depression. “It’s the healthiest I’ve been in my entire life, despite my Lyme disease,” she marvels. “Everything is better. I’m braver, stronger and happier. Please try this diet. It can do amazing things!”

Carnivore diet results before and after: Sharrell Kline, 64

Before and after photos of Sharrell Kline who got carnivore diet results and lost 100 lbs
Andres Orellana

“Since age 20, I was either gaining or dieting — shakes, Atkins, WeightWatchers,” recalls Washington state retiree Sharrell Kline, 64. “My carb addiction always won.” It wreaked havoc on her health too. She developed a connective tissue disease, migraines and psoriasis that left her hands bleeding. Then meds for her hands made her hair fall out.

Searching for a natural solution, “I found carnivore.” Sharrell and her husband, Andrew, began phasing out processed food, carbs and most plants. New mainstays: bunless burgers, air-fried chicken and salmon with Costco seasoning. “Two or three meals is plenty. I didn’t even need snacks,” says Sharrell. Her fingers healing, “I finally felt brave enough to buy a scale.” She lost 100 pounds in about a year — and Andrew’s down 70. She sometimes still wants donuts, but the trade-off is more than worth it. “We’re at our high-school weights and take no meds at all anymore. We’re thankful every day we started when we did!”

Easy carnivore diet guidelines and sample meals

A carnivore diet is simple: Enjoy eggs, dairy, fish and meat; aim to eat when hungry and stop when full. Salt to taste. Sip plenty of water. (Have autoimmune issues or inflammation? Start with just beef, lamb and water, which removes even more potential trigger foods. This is sometimes called a “Lion’s Diet.” As you feel better, test other options; permanently avoid any that cause symptoms to flare.) Dr. Chaffee is a purist, but many carnivores allow coffee and herbs/spices. Find meal ideas below at YouTube’s “Kitchen Carnivore” channel.

Sample carnivore breakfast

Enjoy eggs, any style, with optional nitrate-free bacon, sausage or lox. On the go? Grab pre-cooked hardboiled eggs.

Sample carnivore lunch

Create your own carnivore charcuterie board with an assortment of sliced meat, cheese and optional pork rinds.

Sample carnivore dinner

For a simple DIY surf and turf, pair shrimp cooked in butter with a grilled steak or bunless burger.

Bonus recipe: Carnivore chicken nuggets

Plate of carnivore chicken nuggets

This carnivore twist on a drive-thru favorite helps you slim and heal. It serves 6.


  • 2 lbs. ground chicken
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 cup crushed pork rinds


  • Mix chicken, cheese, egg and 1 tsp. salt. Chill 20 minutes.
  • In shallow bowl, mix pork rinds, salt and optional seasoning.
  • Drop nugget-size spoonfuls of chicken into pork mixture; press to coat well. Arrange on sheet; bake at 425ºF until golden, flipping once, about 12 minutes per side.

Click through for more stories on women using low-carb plans to transform their bodies:

Top Doc Reveals the Secrets of Women Who’ve Lost 150 Lbs With No Loose Skin

Protein Bread for Weight Loss: “Here’s the Recipe That Helped Me Drop 70 lbs at Age 69”

“I Lost 224 Lbs — More Than Half My Size! — With This Keto Hack That Cured My Cravings”

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