Now and then, the health sector stuns the world. Not a single day passes by without new experiments, findings, and products.
There are countless varieties of diet people follow nowadays like keto, vegan, Mediterranean, and more. One such diet that emerged creating a buzz is the lion diet.
The followers claim that this diet has magically cured their long-term ailments. The lion diet is said to have numerous benefits.
However, the diet has also received backlash and has been viewed as flawed. In this article we discussed all of Lion Diet, read ahead to find out.
What Is Lion’s Diet?
Lion’s Diet is a very restrictive diet style that may be considered as a pool of several dieting styles. It holds common grounds with the keto diet, carnivore diet, and intermittent fasting.
It is a tough diet to follow which allows only meat from ruminant animals. It allows only beef, lamb, deer, bison, and goat.
This is different from a meat-eating diet, better known as the carnivore diet as it prohibits fish, poultry, and pork and focuses only on grass-feeding mammals like cattle and sheep.
The only seasoning allowed is salt so you have to skip spices, sauce, and everything except the meat of ruminant animals.
Beverages are prohibited and only water is allowed. It is often practiced as intermittent fasting with a large fasting window.
As the name suggests, the idea is to skip meals for one to two days and eat like a lion. The rest of the days, usually one big meal is allowed.
The Origin Of Lion Diet
It was founded initially by Mikhaila Peterson. After suffering from chronic illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and such ailments.
After failing to see no improvement, she started cutting out on several foods. Soon she cut gluten, then shifted to a keto diet, and later adopted the carnivore diet. All these combined led to the origin of the lion diet.
After she reported improvement in the symptoms like inflammation, pain, and blood sugar levels, her father gave it a try.
Later the diet was found to help reduce weight, curb appetite, and management of depression and anxiety.
How Is The Lion Diet Practiced?
It is a technique of eliminating all foods and eating just beef, lamb, and other ruminant meat. It is to be practiced this way for weeks till the symptoms like inflammation, blood sugar, etc start improving.
Once the symptoms are in remission, other foods could slowly be introduced to the diet. This step will help check for foods that cause allergies or worsen the symptoms of chronic illness.
Thus, you may cut those foods short and enjoy the rest after some time. Abruptly including all the foods back into the diet may show adverse effects, so the process has to be slow.
For following the lion diet, one needs patience and self-control as it is a tough diet to follow. Only one big meal a day is permitted and it is a very restrictive other food items.
Potential Benefits Of The Lion Diet
The lion diet followers have stated several benefits of this diet.
However, the evidence is less. Since the lion diet is also a form of the ketogenic diet and carnivore diet. Some proven benefits one could reap following a lion diet are,
May Improve Gut Health
It is believed that it sustains the growth of the gut microbiomes while reducing inflammation.
Studies have also found a low-calorie diet helps in improving gut health. Thus, it is recommended for autoimmune disorders.
Therefore, the lion diet might be an effective tool to treat or at least reduce symptoms of problems like leaky gut.
May Reduce Exposure To Antinutrients
Plants contain certain compounds that benefit their growth but hinder ours. These plant toxins accumulate in the body making it difficult to absorb nutrients.
Thus, these are termed antinutrients. Soy is an excellent protein source but also contains phytoestrogen. This antinutrient reduces fertility in both males and females.
Similarly, phytic acid present in legumes reduces the ability to absorb zinc, magnesium, copper, and more such minerals.
So even if plant foods provide enough nutrition, the net intake is reduced due to toxins and antinutrients. This effect is eliminated with the use of the lion diet as it restricts plant foods.
May Reduce Inflammation
C reactive protein and IL-6 are makers of inflammation that may be controlled by the lion diet. Studies suggest that a diet low in carbs and high in fat might lower inflammation post-12 weeks.
Several factors contribute to this benefit. The lion diet eliminates plant toxins and may improve gut health and insulin sensitivity.
Moreover, it provides fat content and not complex carbs. Choosing cuts of meat high in fats may give better results.
May Reduce Fiber Intake
Although fiber is essential, an excess may cause problems. Some studies also depicted a negative role of fiber considering human health.
It may instigate gas, bloating, abdominal pain, loose stools, and a lot more. It may also lead to infertility in females by causing anovulation.
So, the lion diet may help those suffering from side effects due to high fiber content.
May Boost Your Mental Health
One of the advantages of using this diet plan is said to be decreased anxiety and depression. Not only this, but it may also help those suffering from brain disorders.
It is believed to delay the onset of epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.
May Be An Effective Weight Loss Diet
Initially, the lion diet was not used as a weight loss method. Although, it could just be an additional advantage.
Since the lion diet limits all types of food except ruminant meat, the chances of overeating and munching on processed foods decreases.
Moreover, it allows only one meal a day which may cause a significant drop in calorie consumption. As a result, one might witness shredding.
Risks Associated With Lion Diet
High In Saturated Fats
When it comes to healthy fats, the goal is to include unsaturated fats. But the fat content of ruminant meat is saturated which does not have a good reputation when it comes to health.
According to several studies, red meat was found to be the culprit of high cholesterol, sodium, and increased risk of cardiac diseases.
As the diet prohibits all foods except ruminant meat, such elimination may pave the way to deficiencies. It does not allow enough fiber, carbs, vitamins, and minerals to find a way into the plate.
If the concentration of phosphorus exceeds a certain limit, it may harm the body. When following a keto diet, the phosphorus levels may get too high.
Thus, it may deteriorate bone health by reducing calcium, causing muscle cramps and numbness.
Affected Thyroid Hormone
Long-term ketosis signals the body of a low-carb environment. So, it slows down metabolism and the conversion of T4 into T3 hormone.
This effect might be observed even after taking medications. To avoid this, one must slowly introduce low-carb and low-toxin foods into the diet.
A prolonged lion diet may lead to elevated blood sugar levels. It is similar to going into a famine state. Insulin resistance may also shoot up as a result.
Limited To Small Population
Since the lion diet is a meat diet, it leaves out a huge population of vegetarians and vegans. Moreover, it limits even poultry, pork, and fish making it difficult even for meat lovers.
Foods To Avoid On A Lion Diet
The spectrum of foods allowed in the lion’s diet is very small. Foods allowed are ruminant meat like beef, lamb, and bison. Additionally, water and salt are permitted.
The foods prohibited are everything else you could think of. Fruits, vegetables, grains, poultry, fish, pork, and even beverages are not allowed.
The lion diet is an extremely tough one to follow. It works on the mechanism of eliminating foods and slowly introducing them back to check for faulty foods triggering inflammation and allergies.
Although the diet may relieve symptoms of chronic illness, it might make you prone to deficiencies. If you wish to follow this diet, consult your doctor first.
Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
- Anna Reik and Christina Holzapfel. Randomized Controlled Lifestyle Intervention (LION) Study for Weight Loss and Maintenance in Adults With Obesity—Design and Methods. Front Nutr. 2020; 7: 586985. Published online 2020 Nov 10. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2020.586985
- Anna Reik and Christina Holzapfel. Randomized Controlled Lifestyle Intervention (LION) Study for Weight Loss and Maintenance in Adults With Obesity-Design and Methods. Front Nutr. 2020 Nov 10;7:586985. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2020.586985. eCollection 2020. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33240920/
- G Sarwar Gilani, Kevin A Cockell, and Estatira Sepehr. Effects of antinutritional factors on protein digestibility and amino acid availability in foods. J AOAC Int. 2005 May-Jun;88(3):967-87. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16001874/
- Nicola M McKeown, George C Fahey, Joanne Slavin, et. al. Fibre intake for optimal health: how can healthcare professionals support people to reach dietary recommendations? BMJ. 2022; 378: e054370. Published online 2022 Jul 20. doi: 10.1136/bmj-2020-054370
- Joseph Firth, James E Gangwisch, Alessandra Borsini, et. al. Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing? BMJ. 2020; 369: m2382. Published online 2020 Jun 29. doi: 10.1136/bmj.m2382
- Facts about saturated fats. Date Of Publication: June 22, 2022. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000838.htm
- Orlando M. Gutiérrez. Sodium and phosphorus-based food additives: persistent but surmountable hurdles in the management of nutrition in chronic kidney disease. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2013 Mar; 20(2): 150–156. doi: 10.1053/j.ackd.2012.10.008
- Amir Babiker, Afnan Alawi, Mohsen Al Atawi, et. al. The role of micronutrients in thyroid dysfunction. Sudan J Paediatr. 2020; 20(1): 13–19. doi: 10.24911/SJP.106-1587138942
- Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow. Food taboos: their origins and purposes. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2009; 5: 18. Published online 2009 Jun 29. doi: 10.1186/1746-4269-5-18.
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Alisha Matthew has been a practicing nutritionist since 2016. She holds a master’s degree in nutrition from the University of IOWA. She is a staunch believer in improving the human health index by educating people about nutrition and the importance of nutrition in leading a healthy and happy life. Her long-term goal is to keep educating people on general health and keep herself updated with the latest trends in the field of health.