Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the large intestine or colon.
It is characterized by abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding, and can significantly reduce the quality of life for those who suffer from it.
While there is no cure for UC, there are a variety of treatments that can help manage symptoms, including dietary changes.
One such dietary approach that is gaining popularity for its potential benefits in managing UC is the Carnivore diet. In this blog post, we’ll explore five reasons why you should consider the Carnivore diet for ulcerative colitis.
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The most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis (UC) include abdominal pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding. These symptoms are all related to the digestive system.
It’s quite obvious that digestion is related to diet. There is no specific diet that has been proven to cure UC (yet), but certain foods and nutrients can exacerbate or alleviate the symptoms of the disease.
If certain foods have the power to aggravate or relieve symptoms, then there is undeniably a link between diet and UC.
What is the Carnivore Diet?
The carnivore diet is a type of diet that consists of eating only animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
The carnivore diet is a low-carb, high-fat, and high-protein diet. All plants, including fruits and vegetables are excluded.
To learn more about the Carnivore diet, start here.
Can the Carnivore Diet treat Ulcerative Colitis?
If ulcerative colitis is a digestive problem, made worse by certain foods, then it makes sense to say that the Carnivore Diet has a high likelihood of helping UC symptoms.
The Carnivore Diet for ulcerative colitis (UC) offers a solution of greatly reducing symptoms, without any medication and associated long-term medication side effect risks.
The extreme elimination of most foods removes anything that has the potential to cause a flare-up, while at the same time providing ultimate nourishment.
There are side effects of the Carnivore Diet of course (read our article on Carnivore Diet side effects), but it is useful to weigh these side effects against the long-term side effects of medication.
6 Reasons To Consider The Carnivore Diet For Ulcerative Colitis
1. The Carnivore Diet removes all fibre.
One of the biggest challenges for people with ulcerative colitis is finding foods that are easy to digest. Any quick search for ulcerative colitis trigger foods will reveal a long list of items including grains, breads and pasta, various fruits and vegetables, and nuts and legumes. These foods have a lot of differences between them, but one commonality is that they are all relatively high in fiber.
Obviously, the Carnivore Diet is a completely fiber-free diet.
Fiber is one of the most talked about points when it comes to vegetables and grains being healthy. However, studies are starting to find that it might not be so good for some people.
This study found that some fibers can have detrimental effects in persons with irritable bowel disease. Even the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation agrees, stating that insoluble fibers can aggravate symptoms (*)
When reducing fiber, many will turn naturally to a ketogenic diet. Due to it’s restricted carbohydrates, it will naturally have less fiber.
However, often what is included are low-carb vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. These all high insoluble fiber that can make symptoms worse.
In his book Fiber Menace, author Konstantin Monastyrsky lays out the case for the damage caused to the body by fiber, and how it affects everything it touches, from first bite to exiting the body. He takes you on the journey, literally called “Fiber Carnage” from the teeth, to the esophagus, the stomach, the small intestine and the large intestine.
This is why the Carnivore Diet for ulcerative colitis is greater than the ketogenic diet for ulcerative colitis. It removes ALL fiber, as opposed to just most.
2. The Carnivore Diet can reduce inflammation
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory condition, which means that reducing inflammation is key to managing the symptoms.
The Carnivore diet is a high-fat, high-protein and low to zero carbohydrate diet that is based primarily on animal products such as meat, fish and eggs. By eliminating carbohydrates and removing all fiber, the carnivore diet can help reduce inflammation and soothe the symptoms of UC.
Animal-based foods are also rich in fatty acids, including omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
This study found that a ketogenic diet, when utilized for ulcerative colitis, “significantly reduced inflammatory responses, protected intestinal barrier function and reduced the expression of related inflammatory cytokines”
Further, the study found that a ketogenic diet was beneficial for inflammation but a low-carbohydrate diet was not. This is an interesting finding, as it infers that either the higher-fat or much lower carbohydrate aspect of the ketogenic diet is superior.
The Carnivore diet, by nature, is a ketogenic diet as it contains virtually zero carbohydrates.
This is why the Carnivore Diet for ulcerative colitis is greater than the ketogenic diet for UC. The Carnivore Diet can reduce inflammation even more so than the ketogenic diet.
It does this by eliminating all carbohydrates and fibers from the diet.
3. The Carnivore Diet can reduce symptoms
Many people with UC report significant improvement in symptoms when following the carnivore diet.
By eliminating fiber and other foods that can trigger inflammation and irritate the gut, the carnivore diet can help reduce symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding.
In addition, the high-fat content of the carnivore diet can help promote satiety and reduce cravings, which can be beneficial for people with UC who may struggle with weight loss and appetite control.
4. The Carnivore Diet can help heal the gut.
In addition to reducing inflammation and being easy to digest, the carnivore diet can also help heal the gut.
Animal-based foods are rich in nutrients that are essential for gut health, such as collagen, gelatin, and glycine. These nutrients are important for maintaining the integrity of the gut lining, which can become damaged in people with ulcerative colitis.
By providing the body with these nutrients, the carnivore diet can help promote gut healing and reduce symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
5. The Carnivore Diet can lead to increased nutrient absorption.
When we take the above four points and add them together we can end up with increased nutrient absorption.
Remove fiber, add in healthy animal foods –> leads to reduced inflammation –> leads to reduced symptoms –> leads to gut healing –> leads to increased nutrient absorption.
People with ulcerative colitis are at specific risk of malnutrition as UC can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.
So, how does the Carnivore Diet help with increased nutrient absorption?
The Carnivore Diet helps because we need the double whammy of nutrient-dense, easily digestible food, combined with the complete removal of all trigger foods.
6. The Carnivore Diet is simple.
One of the benefits of the carnivore diet is its simplicity. Unlike other dietary approaches, the carnivore diet involves eating only animal products and eliminates the need to count calories or track macronutrient ratios.
For people with UC who may struggle with meal planning and preparation, the simplicity of the carnivore diet can make it easier to stick to and maintain long-term.
What is the best diet for Ulcerative Colitis?
Carnivore Diet vs Vegan Diet for Ulcerative Colitis
When most people think of turning to nutrition to reverse their disease, the general consensus is that vegetables are the best thing for you. Most people will turn to the vegetarian or vegan diet in an effort to get healthier. While it might be better than a standard American diet, when it comes to ulcerative colitis the vegan diet might actually make it worse.
Consider the above points of fiber, gut healing and simplicity in the context of a vegetarian or vegan diet.
A vegan or a vegetarian diet is going to include far too much fiber and will aggravate the gut.
To cut down on fiber and maintain a vegan/vegetarian diet is going to require eating very highly-refined and ultra-processed foods just to manage hunger.
Many of the nutrients required for gut-healing are completely lacking on a vegan or vegetarian diet.
There is no plant-based collagen or gelatin.
Omega-3s, which can calm inflammation, are limited in their ability to convert to the fatty acids required (*) when they are plant-based Omega-3s.
How many ingredients go into a simple vegan or vegetarian dish?
Now consider the context of cooking a vegan dish but with the specific requirements of avoiding UC flare-ups.
A constant high intake of vegan and vegetarian foods is going to inevitably drive fiber and inflammation higher, not to mention being overly complicated.
Overall gut health – if the vegan diet cannot address the requirements for overall gut health, it cannot be expected that it will help UC. In fact, due to the points above, the vegan diet might make ulcerative colitis worse.
What is the best meal plan for Ulcerative Colitis?
Given the above information, we would suggest the best meal plan for ulcerative colitis is a Carnivore Diet meal plan.
Here is a sample 3 day Carnivore Diet Meal plan for ulcerative colitis.
- Eggs and Bacon
- Chicken Wings
- Eggs and sausages
- Rib-eye steak
- Bacon Cheeseburgers (no bun or toppings)
- Ham and Cheese Omelet
- Lamb Chops
- Beef Brisket
Some additional resources that can provide further information on the Carnivore Diet and how it relates to health.
Fiber Menace by Konstantin Monastyrstky
An eye opening read on why fiber is not the health champion that is commonly proclaimed.
Fiber can be actually quite detrimental to the health and integrity of the gut leading to a host of ongoing chronic conditions.
This will make you rethink not only cereal, but super-fibrous vegetables as well.
Carnivore Cure: Meat Based Nutrition by Judy Cho, NTP
Judy uses the Carnivore Diet as an elimination diet to find the way back to health.
She provides easy to understand infographics and really focuses on the healing aspects of the Carnivore Diet.
The Carnivore Diet by Shawn Baker, MD
The original and classic book in the Carnivore Diet space.
An excellent read on the how and why more people should be eating a carnivore diet.
The go-to Carnivore Diet book.
The Carnivore Diet is a type of diet that consists of eating only animal products. It has great potential to assist with Ulcerative Colitis symptoms naturally. It removes fiber and can reduce inflammation, reduce symptoms, improve nutrient absorption, and best of all it is simple.
The superpower of the Carnivore Diet is that it may have the ability to treat the root cause of these symptoms, rather than simply manage them as medication does.