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Digestive Differences on Plant-Based, Carnivore, and Zero Carb Diets


On the carnivore and zero carb (CD/ZC) diets, individuals often experience significant changes in their bowel habits compared to traditional plant-based diets. Unlike plant-based diets, which often results in more regular(and often stinky) bowel movements, CD/ZC diets primarily consist of animal products that are fully digested in the stomach and absorbed in the small intestine. This efficient digestion process leaves minimal residual matter for fermentation in the colon, resulting in reduced stool volume and frequency. Many adherents report stools with almost zero odor, small in volume, and sometimes not occurring daily, which can be a stark contrast to the experience on plant-based diets.


Understanding the Role of Fiber and Plant Matter:

A pivotal aspect of the CD/ZC diet is the absence of plant matter, which plays a crucial role in digestive processes and stool composition. Unlike animal products, which are fully digested and absorbed before reaching the colon, plant-based foods contain indigestible components such as fiber. These indigestible plant components, including fiber-rich foods like beans, wheat, onions, garlic, oats, and cruciferous vegetables, can reach the colon relatively intact.

Plants Rotting in the Colon:

When plant matter reaches the colon, it becomes subject to fermentation by gut flora, leading to the production of foul-smelling gas and potentially contributing to discomfort and irregular bowel movements. This process of plant matter fermentation in the colon contrasts sharply with the digestion of animal products, which leave minimal residual matter for fermentation. The absence of plant matter in the CD/ZC diet results in stools that are often odorless, small in volume, and less frequent, reflecting the efficient digestion and absorption of animal-based nutrients.

Why Fiber Isn't Necessary:

Insoluble fiber, found abundantly in plant-based foods, is often touted for its role in promoting regular bowel movements and supporting digestive health. However, recent insights suggest that fiber might not be as essential as once thought. While fiber fermentation by gut flora contributes to stool bulk and texture, excessive fiber intake can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort and bloating, particularly in individuals with sensitive digestive systems.

In essence, while fiber plays a role in promoting regular bowel movements, its indispensability in the diet is subject to debate. Individuals on CD/ZC diets often find that their digestive health improves, with reduced bloating, gas, and irregular bowel movements, despite minimal fiber intake. Understanding the nuances of digestive physiology and tailoring dietary choices to individual needs can optimize gut health and overall well-being.



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