If you’re a regular user of TikTok, you might have seen influencers promoting the raw meat diet as a way to improve health.
These content creators claim that eating uncooked meat provides numerous health benefits, including improved digestion and increased energy levels.
But is there any scientific evidence to back up these claims, and more importantly, is it even safe to eat raw meat?
What is the Raw Meat Diet?
The raw meat diet is exactly what it sounds like: consuming raw, uncooked meat as the primary source of nutrition.
Advocates of this diet claim that cooking destroys essential nutrients, making it difficult for the body to absorb them. Therefore, they assert, eating raw meat is the best way to get all the necessary nutrients and improve overall health.
Does Cooking Meat Destroy Nutrients?
It is true that cooking meat can reduce the nutrient content of some vitamins, such as C and B vitamins. However, the impact is generally not significant enough to cause any major health concerns.
While nutrient insufficiencies are a common problem that can cause serious health issues, there is no strong evidence that our cooking processes are a meaningful contributor to vitamin deficiencies. Nutrient deficiencies are much more likely to be caused by a lack of variety in the diet or inadequate intake of plant-based foods.
This would suggest that the raw meat diet is not a solution for nutrient deficiencies—and may actually be more likely to cause one, due to the restrictions on other food groups that provide essential nutrients.
In fact, cooking meat can also increase the availability of some nutrients like iron and zinc,
which can be difficult to absorb in raw meat.
Is the Raw Meat Diet Safe?
Cooking meat is an important step in reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses. Raw meat can harbor harmful bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and listeria that can cause serious health problems.
Here’s a simple way to think about it: the harmful bacteria that thrive in raw meat can also thrive in the meat of your own body.
While some people may have tried the raw meat diet and not gotten sick, this does not mean that it is safe. There is no way to know which batch of meat might be contaminated with harmful bacteria. Health organizations warn that the risk of foodborne illness is simply too high to justify any potential benefits of the raw meat diet.
There are much safer ways to get all the necessary nutrients without risking your health. A
balanced diet that includes a variety of plant-based foods, cooked meats, and dairy products can provide all the essential nutrients needed for a healthy body.