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Carnivore Diet vs Keto: Which is better for you?

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In our journey towards optimal health and wellness, many of us have encountered different dietary regimens that promise weight loss, improved mental clarity, and overall health benefits. Two such diets that have gained momentum in recent years are the Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet. With their emphasis on high fat and protein intake, both of these diets can seem quite similar. However, the main difference lies in their approach to carbohydrate intake and the types of foods that are consumed. In this post, we delve into the key differences between the carnivore diet and keto diet and help you decide which could be a better option for you.

The carnivore diet, exclusively comprising animal products, eliminates all plant-based foods, and focuses on high protein and zero carbs. On the contrary, the ketogenic or keto diet aims at ketosis through high-fat, low-carb intake, including animal foods, dairy, and low-carb vegetables. While both diets potentially aid weight loss and improve health, the choice between carnivore and keto depends on individual health goals and lifestyle preferences.

Different kinds of uncooked meats representing carnivore diet vs keto

Understanding the Carnivore Diet

The carnivore diet aims at the consumption of only animal foods, thus being an elimination diet that removes plant-based foods from your daily intake. Advocates like Shawn Baker argue that this approach to eating, which includes meat products, organ meats, and full-fat dairy, can offer significant health benefits.

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  • Rich in Essential Nutrients: Animal products are packed with essential nutrients like amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Organ meats, in particular, are a treasure trove of nutrients. For instance, liver, heart, and bone marrow are high in Vitamin B12, iron, and other essential nutrients that are difficult to obtain from plant-based diets.
  • Weight Loss: As with any restrictive diet, the carnivore diet often results in weight loss. This is mainly due to the reduction in calorie intake when food groups are limited. However, it's essential to understand that weight loss results vary greatly among individuals.
  • Improved Digestive Issues: Many carnivore dieters report improvements in gut health and digestive issues. This could be due to the elimination of potential allergenic or inflammatory foods typically found in a standard American diet, such as gluten or vegetable oils.

The carnivore diet is, essentially, a zero-carb diet. It’s crucial to note that the absence of carbohydrates may result in a state of ketosis, but it's not the main goal of the diet.

A Deep Dive into the Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet, often referred to as a low-carb diet or high-fat diet, significantly reduces carbohydrate intake while increasing healthy fats. The purpose is to put your body into a metabolic state of ketosis, where it burns fat for fuel instead of glucose. This diet includes animal-based foods, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables.

  • Weight Loss: A major reason a lot of people turn to the keto diet is for weight loss. By reducing carb intake and increasing healthy fats, the body is forced into ketosis, which can lead to significant weight loss. The diet also has a reputation for controlling hunger and maintaining energy levels, which can further assist with weight loss.
  • Improved Blood Sugar Regulation: The keto diet is known for its potential benefits in blood sugar management. By reducing carbohydrate intake, it helps regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which can be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Enhanced Mental Clarity: Some individuals report increased mental clarity and focus on a ketogenic diet. This could be due to the stable energy supply provided by ketones, the by-product of fat metabolism in the state of ketosis.

Carnivore Diet vs Keto: A Comparison

At a glance, both diets have their unique set of potential benefits and drawbacks. Here's a simplified chart summarizing the key differences.

Carnivore DietKeto Diet
Focus on animal productsIncludes animal products, low-carb vegetables, and healthy fats
No carb intakeLow to moderate carb intake
Does not include plant foodsIncludes low-carb vegetables
Mainly high proteinHigh fat, moderate protein
May lead to a state of ketosis but it’s not the primary goalAims at reaching the state of ketosis

Frequently Asked Questions about carnivore diet vs keto

1. Which diet is better for weight loss?

Both the carnivore diet and the ketogenic diet can contribute to weight loss, largely due to their low carbohydrate intake. However, weight loss depends on a myriad of factors including your metabolic health, calorie intake, and exercise regimen.

2. Can I switch between the Carnivore diet and the Keto diet?

Absolutely! Some people find a middle ground, often termed the 'ketovore diet', where they eat primarily meat (as in the carnivore diet), but also include some plant foods, like low-carb vegetables (as in the ketogenic diet). The key is to find what works best for your body and overall health.

3. Are there potential risks associated with these diets?

There can be potential risks with any restrictive diet. Both diets limit certain food groups which can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Also, the high intake of animal fats, particularly in the carnivore diet, could potentially increase the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases. It’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional before starting these or any drastic dietary changes.

4. Can these diets improve mental clarity?

Many individuals report improved mental clarity on both diets. This may be due to the elimination of processed foods, the stable blood sugar levels, or the switch to burning fat for energy.

5. Is it possible to follow these diets long term?

Long-term studies on the safety and efficacy of these diets are lacking. While some people have followed these diets for years and report improved health, it's always advisable to seek professional guidance before embarking on a long-term restrictive diet.

The Impact of Carnivore and Keto Diets on Athletic Performance

A significant point of interest for many is how different diets, including the carnivore and keto diet, can impact athletic performance. It's worth noting that both diets can affect energy levels and recovery, crucial elements for athletes.

The ketogenic diet is known for its ability to enhance fat oxidation, which can be beneficial for endurance athletes. However, the transition period, often referred to as the 'keto flu', might cause temporary performance drops due to decreased glycogen stores. Over time, the body learns to efficiently use ketones as an energy source, which may lead to consistent energy levels.

The carnivore diet, being high in protein, may offer benefits for muscle recovery and growth. The high intake of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, can aid in muscle repair post-workout. However, some athletes may find the lack of carbohydrates challenging, particularly those participating in high-intensity sports that primarily depend on glucose as a fuel source.

Adapting the Diets to Your Lifestyle

One of the key considerations in choosing a diet is how well it fits into your lifestyle. Both the carnivore and ketogenic diet require planning and preparation.

For instance, if you frequently travel or eat out, you might find the carnivore diet challenging as it eliminates a large group of foods commonly found in restaurant meals. On the other hand, the ketogenic diet, while still restrictive, offers more options, as you can include salads, vegetable sides, and dishes cooked in healthy fats.

Combining Carnivore and Keto with Intermittent Fasting

Another angle to consider is the combination of these diets with intermittent fasting, a practice that involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting. Both diets, due to their low carb nature, might complement well with intermittent fasting.

Fasting periods in intermittent fasting can help accelerate the process of reaching ketosis in the ketogenic diet, while carnivore dieters might find fasting easier due to the high satiety provided by a high protein diet.

Remember, if you're considering combining these diets with intermittent fasting, it's important to listen to your body's signals and adjust based on your health needs and goals. Always consult with a healthcare professional before implementing such changes.

Inclusion of Bone Broth in carnivore diet vs keto

Finally, it's worth noting the role of bone broth in both the carnivore and keto diets. Bone broth is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It can be an excellent addition to these diets, helping to ensure adequate nutrient intake, support gut health, and provide satiety.

In the carnivore diet, bone broth can help diversify your food intake, while in the keto diet, it can be a comforting, warm addition that fits perfectly within the macronutrient ratios. Regardless of the diet, including bone broth can be a beneficial practice for many.

In conclusion, remember that diets are not 'one size fits all'. The best approach is the one that suits your health goals, aligns with your ethical beliefs, fits into your lifestyle, and, most importantly, makes you feel your best. Be open to adjusting as you go along, and don't forget to consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to ensure you're meeting your nutritional needs.

Key Takeaways

  1. Primary Dietary Components: The carnivore diet revolves around the consumption of only animal products, including meat, organ meats, full-fat dairy, and bone marrow, thereby eliminating all plant-based foods. In contrast, the ketogenic diet's crux lies in limiting carbohydrate intake and emphasizing healthy fats, such as avocados, olive oil, and fatty cuts of meat, in addition to moderate amounts of animal-based foods.
  2. Potential Benefits: Both diets are associated with several potential health benefits. These include weight loss, due to reduced calorie and carb intake; improved mental clarity, possibly as a result of stable blood sugar levels; and better blood sugar regulation, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Some dieters also report increased energy levels and better gut health.
  3. Potential Risks: Despite the benefits, these diets also come with potential risks. These include possible nutrient deficiencies due to the exclusion of certain food groups, and the potential for increased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease due to high consumption of animal fats. It’s crucial to monitor one's health and consider professional guidance when following these diets.
  4. Carbohydrate Intake: While both diets are low-carb, they vary in their carb allowances. The ketogenic diet allows for some carbohydrates, predominantly from low-carb vegetables and certain dairy products, typically keeping the intake under 50g per day to maintain ketosis. On the other hand, the carnivore diet aims for virtually zero carbs, coming from animal products only.
  5. Individual Considerations: Choosing between the carnivore diet and the keto diet should ultimately hinge on individual health conditions, personal preferences, and lifestyle considerations. Factors such as food preferences, ease of meal preparation, dietary restrictions, and health goals should guide this decision. It's always recommended to consult with a healthcare or nutritional professional before embarking on a new diet plan.
  6. By weighing these factors and understanding the key differences between the carnivore diet and the keto diet, individuals can make informed dietary decisions that align best with their health and lifestyle goals.

In Conclusion: Carnivore diet vs keto?

In the quest to find the best diet for our individual needs, the carnivore diet and the keto diet each offer a unique approach to eating. While the carnivore diet offers simplicity and a high intake of animal proteins, the ketogenic diet provides a bit more flexibility with the inclusion of low-carb vegetables and a focus on healthy fats.

However, it's essential to remember that the best diet is not a one-size-fits-all. It's the one that you can stick with, that nourishes your body, and supports your health goals. Always consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet. With proper guidance and attention to your body's signals, you can determine the dietary path that leads to your optimal health and wellbeing.

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