Muh fiber and Vitamin C!
Two of the most common concerns around the carnivore diet involve the complete lack of fiber and vitamin C.
In my opinion, those aren’t issues for concern.
Let’s talk vitamin C first.
On a low/no carb diet, less vitamin C is required than on a higher carb/glucose-based diet.
Why is that? Glucose and vitamin C are very similar. Similar molecular structure. Similar uptake mechanisms. They literally compete for uptake in the body—with glucose winning out preferentially.
On higher carb diets, we see an uptick in endogenous vitamin C production. This would suggest that the body is perhaps utilizing less of the exogenous vitamin C (from our food) in favor of glucose absorption.
More vitamin C is needed in a glucose-based metabolism. How do we know this? We would expect that if a lower carb diet meant lower vitamin C—then we would make more endogenously. But we don't, we tend to make less endogenous vitamin C on low carb diets.
Not only that, but meat has vitamin C. The amount of vitamin C needed to prevent scurvy is 10mg/day. On a Carnivore or low carb diet—it would be even less.
And since on a Carnivore diet the meat Vitamin C isn’t competing with glucose for absorption—you’re even better off.
Fiber is seen as an internal pipe cleaner—improving regularity and digestion. In reality, that’s not exactly the case.
We can’t use fiber as energy—so what’s it good for? Well, our gut bacteria love it and they can digest it. They ferment it, creating gases that are either released out the other end (you’ve done it before) or lead to cramping and bloating.
Okay—but what’s so bad about farting and bloating? Well let’s look at the science. In a met analysis on fiber, we see that fiber had no evidence supporting its protective qualities from colon cancer and bowel problems.
It seems that fiber can simply mitigate some of the more damaging aspects of plants (like rapid rise in blood sugar from carbs). It’s probably a welcome addition on a standard American diet where it will help decrease some of the constantly high blood sugar. On a meat-based diet? Unnecessary at best, harmful at worst.