Dr Shawn Baker: Ignore the haters – the Carnivore Diet is not a scam
Dr Shawn Baker is no stranger to criticism and controversy. That’s because the former orthopaedic surgeon actively courts it. It’s hard not to have a target on your back when you spend a significant part of your waking life preaching the life-extending qualities of eating nothing but red meat – or the so-called Carnivore Diet, which is the title of his globally best-selling book on the subject.
He posts multiple times on social media – his Instagram and X accounts are a combination of videos of him tucking in to an enormous Flintstones-sized chargrilled beef steaks, anecdotes from people who claim they cured their life-threatening illnesses once they switched to an all-meat diet, and vegan-bating and -bashing memes that mock the ethical and environmental claims on the virtues of not eating meat and eschew the various benefits of eating vegetables. (Baker himself claims not to have eaten a single veggie for more than seven years, with no noticeable issues.)
His posts, especially those on the benefits of meat, the inconsequence of fibre, and the harm of sugar and carbohydrates, have drawn ridicule from prominent and respected nutritional scientists, including fellow Unfiltered contributor Dr Layne Norton. But Dr Baker couldn’t care less.
A carnivore conspiracy?
Other notable Carnivore diet advocates, including Paul “Carnivore MD” Saladino and the now-disgraced Liver King – whose claims that his incredible lean and ripped physique was down to following his set of ancestral tenets, including eating raw liver and testicles, was destroyed by email evidence of a $20,000-a-month steroids habit – have also happily courted controversy to attract attention from the social media algorithm to whip up real-world demand for their products and services. (Dr Baker doesn’t hold back on whether his carnivore colleagues have helped or hindered his mission to promote an all-meat diet as a therapeutic nutritional strategy.)
And, as he reveals in our exclusive interview, Dr Baker claims to be “down six or seven million dollars” since retiring from his lucrative career as an orthopaedic surgeon. The exact reason for his enforced retirement, having first been struck off by the New Mexico state medical board, is also covered in our conversation.
In a honest and wide-ranging interview, Dr Baker also offers nuance around some of his more outspoken public statements on the carnivore diet, admitting it’s not an approach for everyone, and why he only ever suggests is a therapeutic option for people struggling to solve existing medical conditions through more established routes, include pharmacology and surgery.
He also explains why he thinks so many of his biggest fans have an inherent distrust in the establishment, with a huge overlap in carnivore diet advocates and far right, anti-vaccine and conspiracy theory groups and movements.
Dr Shawn Baker on carnivores, conspiracy and far right activists
Dr Shawn Baker on the limitations of blood work to track health
Main photo: Emerson Vieira