Why You Should Care About Joe Rogan’s Bowel Habits
The popular podcaster is currently trying the carnivore diet and his toilet doesn’t like it.
It's the new year and we’re being inundated with diet advice on our social media streams. Whilst the majority of these recommendations seem to be yet another iteration of ‘veganuary’, going against the grain of popularity is the behemoth of podcasting Joe Rogan. Rogan is doing the carnivore diet for the first month of the year to try and shed some of the weight he didn’t like the look of when he recently took his shirt off and made the internet think he was pregnant.
A carnivore diet is as simple as the name suggests. A definition from the healthline website:
The Carnivore Diet is a restrictive diet that only includes meat, fish, and other animal foods like eggs and certain dairy products. It excludes all other foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. Its proponents also recommend eliminating or limiting dairy intake to foods that are low in lactose — a sugar found in milk and dairy products — such as butter and hard cheeses. The Carnivore Diet stems from the controversial belief that human ancestral populations ate mostly meat and fish and that high-carb diets are to blame for today’s high rates of chronic disease.
The carnivore diet has done the media rounds in the past few years due in large part to two of its well known advocates; psychiatry lecturer come public intellectual Jordan Peterson and, his daughter, Mikhaila, both of whom have claimed that the diet is something of miracle cure for various health ailments, from autoimmune disorders to mental health issues.
Unless you’re a protein guzzling gym monkey, the thought of your entire diet consisting of this one food group - which national guidelines tell us should only make up ten to thirty-five percent of our diet - probably seems like a recipe made for gastric disaster. And if Joe Rogan’s experience of the diet so far is anything to go by, then you wouldn’t be far wrong. On a recent Instagram post Rogan gave us all the sordid details in typically comedic fashion:
“Carnivore diet update; the good and the bad. Let’s start with the bad. There’s really only one “bad” thing, and that thing is diarrhoea.
I’m not sure diarrhoea is an accurate word for it, like I don’t think a shark is technically a fish. It’s a different thing, and with regular diarrhoea I would compare it to a fire you see coming a block or two away and you have the time to make an escape, whereas this carnivore diet is like out of nowhere the fire is coming through the cracks, your doorknob is red hot, and all hope is lost. I haven’t shit my pants yet, but I’ve come to accept that if I keep going with this diet it’s just a matter of time before we lose a battle, and I fill my undies like a rainforest mudslide overtaking a mountain road.
It’s that bad. It seems to be getting a little better every day, so there’s that to look forward to, but as of today I trust my butthole about as much as I trust a shifty neighbour with a heavy Russian accent that asks a lot of personal questions.”
As funny as this post might seem (does toilet humour ever get old?), if we look past the punchlines we can see that Rogan is describing some relatively serious bowel related side effects to the carnivore diet. Side effects that anyone who is considering trying out this latest exclusionary diet should take note of if they want to avoid a prolonged period of solitary confinement to their lavatory.
Not all of us have a cushy enough lifestyle whereupon frequent toilet trips would only be a minor grievance. I imagine that running your own podcast, as Rogan does, in your own studio, on your own timetable, gives you a certain amount of freedom when it comes to your toilet trips. The same couldn’t be said for your average nine to five office worker, or a worker in any other amount of relatively run of the mill jobs.
I worked part-time as a shop assistant in a high street clothing store to get a bit of extra money while I was at university and I can distinctly remember the painful squirming of having to hold in a number one for longer than was comfortable, due to my boss not wanting the staff to have more than one toilet trip while they were on the cash register. I can’t begin to imagine what kind of pain I would have gone through if I’d been doing the carnivore diet whilst I worked there and I started getting some Rogan-esque bowel trouble whilst I was confined to that shop floor.
Various nutritionists have openly criticised the carnivore diet and if we are to believe what they say, diarrhoea should be the least of our worries if we decide to embark on the all meat lifestyle.
Liz Weinandy, RD, dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre in Columbus highlighted some of these potentially dangerous side effects; vitamin deficiency (particularly C and E), a lack of fibre in your diet (the probable reason for Rogan’s diarrhoea, though it can also cause constipation apparently, which is of course just as pleasant), kidney problems and, most worryingly of all, you have an increased risk of developing gastric cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer have done a study, published in the Lancet in 2015, the results of which concur with Weinandy’s claims about cancer risk.
Like any other diet, the carnivore diet is generally embarked upon by people trying to loose weight, as was the case with Joe Rogan. Scientific studies continue to show us that weight loss is entirely dependant on being in a caloric deficit and that the micronutrients that this deficit is composed of is largely irrelevant to weight loss. Despite this information being widely available, it seems that we are all determined to find that one way to loose weight which makes the process easier and quicker. No one likes loosing weight and, understandably, when we’re doing something that we don’t like we are always going to look for a way to minimise the pain. Sometimes, holding an illusory belief that this one special diet we are on has some kind of superpower at shedding fat, provides us with enough psychological motivation to stick with the diet - we feel kind of special, as if we have accessed a fat loss cheat code in the game of weight management. But such psychological benefits are often short lived and in the long term, if this special diet that we are on is exclusionary in nature, like with the carnivore diet, it seems that we are bound to encounter side effects.
Joe Rogan’s bowel habits should be a lesson to us all, weight loss is never easy, but an exclusionary diets won’t solve this problem, it’ll probably just give us a whole lot more.
Thanks For Reading,