A nutritionist has warned of the dangers of the so-called “lion diet” that has taken TikTok by storm, with the hashtag reaching 16.5 million views so far.
You may have heard of the “built-in shower,” “butter boards,” and endless gourmet and diet hacks, and the latest (and more extreme) trend involves people eating salt, water, and red meat for a month.
But Claudia Le Feuvre, nutrition therapist at healthy aging platform Goldster, cautioned that more than just a trend that’s driving many to completely overhaul what they eat, it’s “an outdated diet” that can have unintended health consequences.
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The “lion diet” was coined by podcaster and TedEx speaker Mikhaila Peterson in 2018 and reportedly cited obvious benefits for issues like fatigue, intolerance, gut issues, and autoimmune symptoms. And now people are trying it around the world.
For example, @roryskitchen, a TikTok user with over 220,000 followers and nearly three million “likes”, documents his diet journey by claiming he had the best night of sleep in the first video and then continuing to feel it. He’s uncomfortable at times and says he feels that what he’s been doing lately is working.
But Le Feuvre was not convinced. “TikTok may be full of clever tricks, but I would advise people to skip this trend,” he says. So why do people think a diet based heavily on red meat will help them?
“I understand that people do this because it provides temporary relief from some of their symptoms, but there are far superior ways to identify and address underlying food intolerances and triggers,” says Le Feuvre.
“Beef [for example] It is a very low allergenic food, so while the lion diet may seem like an easy and good solution for people with IBS, underlying food intolerances and inflammation triggered by food allergens, it is not a long-term or healthy solution.”
A better way to identify triggers might be an elimination diet, where you temporarily cut out certain foods and record results, under the guidance of a professional, to see what could be causing the problem.
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“The biggest risk of the lion diet is that you’re only eating beef, so you’re missing out on other nutrients like healthy fats, fiber, and all the vitamins and minerals that come from fruits and vegetables. In the long run, it’s lacking in important nutrients,” warns Le Feuvre.
While the long-term consequences of the diet are not known for certain, Le Feuvre also notes that “salt is not beneficial for fluid retention and blood pressure.”
While some choose to eat raw meat, there is more to consider. “Consuming raw beef can be potentially dangerous due to the risk of becoming infected with toxoplasmosis, especially if someone is pregnant. [a common infection that you can catch from the poo of infected cats, or infected meat] So I recommend you skip that too.”
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Le Feuvre says the effects of the lion diet are likely to include bad breath (bad breath), hemorrhoids, high cholesterol, constipation, hemorrhoids, and very low energy because you’re missing out on too much fiber and good nutrients from carbohydrates. “In short, I’m not a fan and would highly recommend people skip trying this TikTok trend.”
“If you’re still unsure, please talk to your doctor and ask if there’s a dietitian or nutritionist they’re working with and seek expert advice, because it’s a fad diet,” she adds. It’s probably wise to think twice before trying any diet you see on TikTok, because lately they’ve been called to ‘maintain the toxic diet culture’ among teens.
The NHS points out that while red meats such as beef, lamb and pork can be a good source of protein, eating too much red and processed meat increases your risk of bowel cancer.
To maintain a healthy and balanced diet, the Eatwell Guide recommends that people aim to eat at least five servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day, higher-fiber starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, rice or pasta, and some dairy products as staple meals. or dairy alternatives, eat beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat or other proteins, use small amounts of unsaturated fats and spreads, and drink six to eight glasses of fluids a day.
Watch: Eating processed meat ‘increases heart disease risk by one-fifth’