The Lion Diet is a diet that anecdotal sources claim can help transform your life and improve your health.
Followers of the Lion Diet have reported a long list of benefits associated with the diet, including decreased inflammation, improvements in mood, and relief from issues like headaches, insomnia, and allergies.
However, others have dismissed the plan as unsustainable, unhealthy, and ineffective, noting that it’s overly restrictive and extreme.
This article explores the Lion Diet, including what it is, how it works, and whether it’s safe.
Diet review scorecard
- Overall score: 1.25
- Weight loss: 1
- Healthy eating: 0
- Sustainability: 1
- Whole body health: 1.5
- Nutrition quality: 3
- Evidence based: 1
BOTTOM LINE: The Lion Diet eliminates all foods except salt, water, and meat from ruminant animals. In addition to being high in saturated fat, it’s unsustainable and likely to lead to nutritional deficiencies.
The Lion Diet is a meat-based eating pattern that focuses on eliminating most ingredients from the diet to identify potential food sensitivities.
It was originally created by Mikhaila Peterson, a lifestyle blogger and podcast host who claims she was able to improve her health by making these changes to her diet.
According to her website, those who follow the Lion Diet have reported improvements in energy levels, mental health, and symptoms of digestive and autoimmune conditions.
It’s similar to the Carnivore Diet, which is a diet plan that permits you to consume only animal products like meat, fish, and poultry.
However, the Lion Diet is even more restrictive, allowing only foods from certain types of animals along with water and salt.
The Lion Diet is a meat-based eating pattern that proponents claim improves health by eliminating ingredients from your diet to identify possible food sensitivities.
On the Lion Diet, you can consume only salt, water, and meat from ruminant animals, including cows, sheep, and deer.
Limiting your diet to these specific foods is believed to help sustain your body while removing other variables in your diet that may be contributing to health issues.
Although there are no official guidelines on how long you should follow the diet, anecdotal sources recommended waiting until your symptoms subside and then reintroducing foods slowly.
According to Peterson, you may need to follow the diet for several weeks before starting to add foods back into your diet.
This is intended to help you identify which foods trigger your symptoms so you can eliminate them from your diet.
Some variations of the diet also involve intermittent fasting practices such as abstaining from food for 16–20 hours at a time or eating just one large meal per day. However, this is optional.
The Lion Diet involves eating only salt, water, and meat from ruminant animals. According to proponents, you should follow the diet until symptoms of potential food sensitivities improve and then slowly reintroduce foods into your diet.
The Lion Diet sets very strict guidelines about which foods it permits.
Foods to eat
The Lion Diet allows only a few specific foods — primarily meat from ruminant animals. The plan requires followers to eliminate all other foods.
Here are the foods that are allowed:
- meat from ruminant animals, including beef, lamb, goat, bison, and deer
Foods to avoid
All other food groups apart from the ingredients listed above are banned on the Lion Diet.
This includes not only foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds but also meat from nonruminant animals, poultry, and seafood.
Here are some examples of foods to avoid on the Lion Diet:
- Fruits: apples, peaches, plums, berries, melons, pears, bananas
- Vegetables: potatoes, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, peppers, carrots, mushrooms
- Grains: bread, pasta, quinoa, oats, buckwheat, rice
- Legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, cashews
- Seeds: chia seeds, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
- Dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, butter
- Meat from nonruminant animals: bacon, ham, pork chops, rabbit meat
- Poultry: chicken, turkey, duck, goose
- Seafood: salmon, trout, anchovies, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, lobster
- Fats: olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, avocado oil, margarine
- Beverages: coffee, tea, soda, juice, beer, wine
Note that the diet allows you to reintroduce these foods into your diet slowly over time.
However, you should completely eliminate these foods for several weeks after starting the diet, or until your symptoms completely subside.
The Lion Diet allows you to eat only salt, water, and meat from ruminant animals. It requires followers to eliminate all other foods and beverages.
Although the Lion Diet is not specifically intended to promote weight loss, it will likely cause weight loss if you follow it for an extended period of time.
This is because it eliminates most food groups, including many items that are often high in calories, such as snacks, added sugar, and processed foods.
Most types of meat that the diet encourages are also relatively low in calories.
For example, a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of cooked bison ribeye contains 150 calories, while 3 ounces (85 grams) of cooked beef flank provides 224 calories (
However, keep in mind that the diet may not supply enough calories to meet your daily needs, which could actually make it harder to sustain weight loss in the long term.
In fact, decreasing your calorie intake too much can slow your metabolism and change levels of specific hormones that control your hunger and appetite, which could increase the risk of weight regain (
Although the Lion Diet is very low in calories and may lead to weight loss, it could actually make it more difficult to maintain weight loss long-term.
The Lion Diet is focused on eliminating foods from your diet and slowly reintroducing them. The intention is to determine which foods contribute to issues like inflammation, fatigue, and digestive problems.
Studies show that elimination diets could be effective for several conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, and inflammatory bowel diseases (
Studies have found that your diet may also affect other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, acne, and depression (
Therefore, identifying specific foods that cause symptoms associated with these conditions could be beneficial.
However, keep in mind that the elimination diets typically recommended for these conditions are not as restrictive as the Lion Diet. Instead, they usually focus on eliminating specific foods or food groups that are known to cause symptoms.
There have not been any studies on the Lion Diet specifically, and it’s not recommended as a treatment for any health condition. In fact, consuming large amounts of red meat may lead to flare-ups in people with certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis (
It’s best to talk with a healthcare professional before trying an elimination diet to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients and avoid negative health effects.
Like other elimination diets, the Lion Diet is intended to help you identify which foods in your diet may be causing symptoms. However, the recommended elimination diets for most health issues are not usually as restrictive.
There are several drawbacks associated with the Lion Diet.
One of the main issues of the Lion Diet is that it’s extremely restrictive, lacking many key vitamins and minerals.
In fact, it completely eliminates many healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. This makes it difficult for you to get the nutrients your body needs.
Untreated nutritional deficiencies can cause a wide variety of issues, including weakness, impaired immune function, bone loss, pain, bruising, anemia, and neurological problems (
The Lion Diet is also lacking in fiber, an important compound found in plant foods that can support regularity, blood sugar control, and heart health (
What’s more, the diet is also very low in calories. Decreasing your calorie intake too much can cause serious side effects, including fatigue, headaches, nausea, and dizziness (
High in saturated fat
Animal products, including meat, are very high in saturated fat.
Although saturated fat can be part of a healthy diet, you should consume it in moderation.
In some people, saturated fat can increase levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease (
While most research shows that saturated fat is not directly linked to a higher risk of heart disease, experts recommend limiting your intake to less than 10% of total daily calories (
Because the Lion Diet consists entirely of meat, being on this diet will likely cause you to consume much more saturated fat than recommended.
In addition to being potentially very unhealthy, the Lion Diet is difficult to follow and unsustainable in the long term.
Since the diet offers little to no flexibility, it can be nearly impossible to eat out at restaurants or enjoy food in other social settings while following the diet.
Eliminating certain foods from your diet can also increase food cravings, making this diet even more challenging to stick to (
It also promotes unhealthy eating habits and may not be suitable for those with a history of disordered eating.
The Lion Diet is high in saturated fat and lacks other key nutrients. It’s also very difficult to follow and unsustainable long-term.
Although elimination diets can be effective for certain health conditions, the Lion Diet is difficult to follow and unsustainable, and it lacks important nutrients.
It can also be dangerous and may increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies and other health problems over time.
If you’re experiencing inflammatory or digestive symptoms and want to test out an elimination diet, consider experimenting with one food group at a time to determine whether that type of food has any effect on your symptoms.
Alternatively, elimination diets like the low-FODMAP diet can be effective for identifying triggers if you have digestive issues or irritable bowel syndrome.
If you suspect you may have a food allergy or sensitivity, you may also want to consult a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for you and whether you may benefit from making changes to your diet.
If you suspect you may have a food allergy or sensitivity, there are many steps you can take to find your food triggers that are healthier and less extreme than the Lion Diet.
The Lion Diet is a meat-based elimination diet that supposedly helps you identify which foods are negatively affecting your health.
Although elimination diets can be effective for certain conditions, the Lion Diet is unsustainable and high in saturated fat, and it lacks key nutrients.
If you believe certain foods in your diet may be causing symptoms or negatively affecting your health, it’s best to speak to a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for you.