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August 28, 2023

Carnivore vs Keto: Which Is Better for Weight Loss?

Rina Ahluwalia

Both the Carnivore and the Keto diets promote ketosis, a metabolic state of relying on fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Despite similarities, these two diets have major differences, and this article tries to go through the Carnivore diet vs Keto diet to find out which is better for weight loss. Join me in reading all about Carnivore vs Keto to find the best one that suits your aims.

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Carnivore vs Keto: Which Is Better for Weight Loss?

What Is a Carnivore Diet?

The Carnivore diet is a high-protein, high-fat, and extremely low-carb diet, allowing animal products, from meat to poultry, seafood and eggs, and excluding plant-based foods, i.e., fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds.

The main objectives of the Carnivore diet are fat melt, weight loss, and general health. Following a Carnivore diet is easy, as it includes the following rules.

  • Eat animal-based foods
  • Avoid plant-based foods
  • Limit or avoid seasonings and additives
  • Drink water and animal-based beverages like bone broth
  • Avoid processed foods

These are the main information you could get about the Carnivore diet. Now, let’s move on and learn about the Keto diet to start comparing the Carnivore diet vs keto diet.

Learn More: What Is The Carnivore Diet? Myth vs Fact

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What Is a Keto Diet?

The ketogenic or keto diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that tries to create a state of ketosis for the body. Ketosis means burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.

Simply put, the diets that aim to create ketosis try to make some changes in the dieters’ eating habits to make their bodies rely on fat instead of carbohydrates, which leads to fat burn and weight loss.

The keto diet mainly aims to create and maintain the ketosis metabolic state by setting the following rules.

  • Consume small amounts of carbohydrates, around 20-50 grams a day, or about 5-10% of total daily calories, to achieve ketosis.
  • Eat high-fat foods, i.e., get 70-75% of daily calories from healthy fats like avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, butter, and fatty cuts of meat.
  • Consume moderate amounts of protein, i.e., 20-25% of daily calories, from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and tofu. Consuming too much protein must be avoided as it can be converted into glucose, which slows ketosis.
  • Eat non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, and peppers.
  • Avoid most sugars and grains, i.e., bread, pasta, rice, cereals, sweets, and sugary beverages.
  • Monitoring ketone levels to make sure you are in a ketosis state. To do so, you can buy GKI Blood Glucose and Ketone Meter Kit with special discounts for the 5MinuteBody community.
  • Drink enough water.

If you’ve noticed, these two diets are quite similar, and the rules we need to follow to reach a ketosis state are provided in both the Carnivore and the Keto diets. So, does it mean that the Carnivore diet is a version of the keto diet?

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Is the Carnivore Diet a Keto Diet?

Yes, the Carnivore diet can be a version of the ketogenic diet as both aim to create the state of ketosis in the dieter’s body by limiting or removing the intake of carbs.

The Carnivore diet is a more restrictive form of the ketogenic diet, as it removes or minimises plant-based foods and focuses on animal-based products only.

So, now that we know these two diets are quite similar at heart let’s glance at their main similarities and differences in the following section.

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Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet at a Glance

The table below displays the main similarities and differences between the Carnivore diet vs Keto diet. In the section below the table, we’ll review the Carnivore diet vs Keto diet food list, so you learn what exactly you can eat on each diet.

Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet: Food List

Let’s take a closer look inside the Carnivore diet vs Keto diet and see what kinds of foods are allowed and avoided in these two diets, to decide which one can be a better choice for us.

Foods to Eat

The carnivore diet allows dieters to eat the following food groups.

  • Meat: Beef, lamb, pork, organ meats, bacon, etc.
  • Poultry: Chicken, turkey, duck, etc.
  • Fish and other seafood: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, crab, shrimp, etc.
  • Eggs: Whole eggs, including the yolks.
  • Dairy (optional): Cheese, butter, heavy cream.
  • Animal fats: Lard, ghee, tallow, bone marrow.
  • Salt

Learn More: Free Ultimate Carnivore Diet Food List

The Keto diet allows you to eat the following food groups.

  • Healthy fats: Avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and ghee.
  • Meat: Beef, lamb, pork, organ meats, bacon, etc.
  • Poultry: Chicken, turkey, duck, etc.
  • Fish and other seafood: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, crab, shrimp, etc.
  • Eggs: Whole eggs, including the yolks.
  • Non-starchy vegetables: Leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, etc.
  • Full-fat dairy: Cheese, heavy cream, Greek yoghurt.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds.
  • Berries (in moderation): Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries.
Keto Diet: Food List

Foods to Avoid

The Carnivore dieters need to avoid the following food groups.

  • Plant-based foods: Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
  • Processed foods: Sugary snacks, refined grains, vegetable oils, and processed meats.

Keto dieters must avoid or limit the following food groups.

  • High-carbohydrate foods: Bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, sugary drinks, sweets.
  • Processed foods: Snack foods, processed meats with added sugars.
  • Most fruits: High-sugar fruits like bananas, grapes, and mangoes.

The above sections were the basics and the must-knows about the Carnivore diet vs Keto diet. The following sections will go through these two diets in detail, covering the two diets’

  • Logic,
  • Rules, and approach to
  • Meat,
  • Drinks,
  • Fruits,
  • Vegetables,
  • Dairy, and their
  • Benefits and
  • Side effects

to answer the question: “Which one is better for weight loss?”. Keep scrolling!

Learn More: Carnivore Diet Fasting: Types, Food List & Meal Plan

Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet

Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet: Logic

  • The Carnivore diet’s main logic is that animal-based foods are enough for a  healthy body as they provide necessary nutrients; that’s because our ancestors were meat eaters.
  • The Keto diet focuses on achieving a metabolic state of ketosis to change the body’s energy source from carbohydrates to fat. The Keto diet’s logic is that fewer carbohydrates mean lower insulin levels, which increases fat burning and weight loss.

Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet: Rules

The Carnivore diet's main rules:

  • Eat only animal-based foods
  • Avoid plant-based foods
  • Eat fat intake as much as you can
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Avoid or strictly limit Carbohydrates
  • Increase the protein intake

The Keto diet’s main rules:

  • Limit carbohydrate intake
  • Increase fat consumption
  • Eat protein in moderation
  • Consume non-starchy vegetables
  • Minimise processed foods

Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet: Meat

  • The Carnivore diet heavily focuses on meat as the primary source of nutrition, and many Carnivore diet recipes include beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and organ meats as the main sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
  • The Keto diet also considers meat as a main component of the diet but does not merely focus on the meat and includes macronutrients as well, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and oils.

Learn More: What Is BBBE Diet? Meal Plan, Side Effects, and Food List

Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet: Drinks

  • The Carnivore diet takes water as its primary beverage and focuses on proper hydration. It also allows bone broth as a drink or food. Some versions of the Carnivore diet may allow zero-calorie drinks, like black coffee or tea, with no sweeteners.
  • The Keto diet allows for many other drinks plus water as long as they don’t interfere with the low-carbohydrate, high-fat principles of the diet. It allows unsweetened tea and coffee, herbal tea, low-carb milk alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, etc., sparkling water, and diet sodas.
Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet and Food Choice

Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet: Fruits

  • The Carnivore diet excludes all fruits for their carbohydrate and sugar content and focuses on obtaining fruits’ vitamins from animal sources.
  • The Keto diet only allows low-carb fruits, including berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

Carnivore vs Keto Diet: Vegetables

  • The Carnivore diet excludes vegetables, as it believes they are unnecessary for obtaining essential nutrients. However, some versions of the Carnivore diet may allow limited amounts of non-starchy vegetables like lettuce or cucumber.
  • The Keto diet allows low-carb non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard, arugula, and lettuce), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage), zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, and green beans.

Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet: Diary

  • The Carnivore diet allows limited dairy products, including cheese, butter, heavy cream, and other high-fat dairy products if tolerated by the dieters.
  • The Keto diet includes various dairy products as a source of healthy fats and protein, including cheese, butter, heavy cream, Greek yoghurt, unsweetened low-carb almond milk or coconut milk.

Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet: Benefits

Here are the main benefits of the Carnivore diet vs Keto diet, which can help you compare them with your goals and see which diet can be best for you.

The Carnivore Diet Benefits

  • Simplicity: The Carnivore diet is a simple approach to eating, and the recipes are delicious and fast to make, even for those with no cooking experience.
  • Nutrient Density: Animal-based foods are good sources of essential nutrients, including protein, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Weight Loss: Low carbohydrate intake can result in fat melt and weight loss.
  • Reduced Inflammation: Avoiding allergens and anti-nutrients found in plant-based foods can reduce inflammation.
  • Mental Clarity and Energy: Stable blood sugar and ketone production in the Carnivore diet can improve mental clarity and maintain energy levels.

The Keto Diet Benefits

  • Weight Loss: The Keto diet can increase and speed up weight loss for the metabolic state of ketosis and low insulin levels.
  • Blood Sugar Management: Consuming low levels of carbohydrates can stabilise blood sugar and help those with insulin resistance or diabetes. How Can a Carnivore Diet Cure Diabetes Type 1 and 2?
  • Increased Satiety: Consuming healthy fats and moderate protein on the Keto diet increases fullness and decreases cravings, resulting in lower calorie intake.
  • Potential Mental Benefits: The Keto diet can boost mental focus, cognitive function, and mood stability.
  • Potential Health Benefits: Research shows that the Keto diet can help patients involved with epilepsy, neurodegenerative diseases, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet and Ketosis

Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet: Side Effects

Let’s take a look at the other side of the story, i.e., the side effects of the Carnivore diet vs Keto diet, to find out potential harms and be able to prevent them and maximise positive results.

The Carnivore Diet Side Effects

The Keto Diet Side Effects

  • Keto Flu: Going through ketosis, some Keto dieters may experience flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, and irritability. 
  • Nutrient Deficiencies: Excluding some fruits and whole grains in the Keto diet may result in deficiencies.
  • Digestive Issues: Some digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea, or changes in bowel movements are common the Keto dieters.
  • Potential Ketoacidosis: Although it’s quite rare, some dieters with special conditions like type 1 diabetes may develop ketoacidosis, i.e., excessively high levels of ketones in the blood.

Learn More: Carnivore Diet vs Paleo Diet: What Are The Differences?

The Differences Between the Carnivore Diet and the Keto Diet

Now that we know almost everything about the Carnivore diet vs Keto diet, let’s review their main differences here to be able to answer the main question: “Which one is better for weight loss?” in the following section.

Food Choices:

  • Carnivore Diet: Only animal-based foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, and animal fats, and no plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.
  • Keto Diet: Low-carbohydrate, high-fat foods, including meat, poultry, fish, non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats (such as avocado, olive oil, and nuts), dairy products, and some low-carb fruits.

Macronutrient Composition:

  • Carnivore Diet: High protein and fat, with minimal or no carbohydrates.
  • Keto Diet: Moderate-protein, high-fat, and low-carbohydrates

Approach to Plant-Based Foods:

  • Carnivore Diet: Excludes plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.
  • Keto Diet: Includes non-starchy vegetables, some low-carb fruits, and some plant-based fats like avocados and olive oil.

Long-Term Sustainability:

  • Carnivore Diet: Its long-term sustainability is under debate and is more suitable for the short term.
  • Keto Diet: It can be a long-term lifestyle for weight management, blood sugar control, and other health benefits.

Research and Scientific Support:

  • Carnivore Diet: Limited scientific research supporting its long-term effects and health outcomes, and is mainly supported by individual experiences.
  • Keto Diet: More extensively studied regarding its effects on weight loss, epilepsy management, and some medical conditions.

Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet: Which Is Better for Weight Loss?

So, after all the details we’ve learned about the Carnivore diet vs Keto diet, let’s decide which one can be a better option for weight loss.

Both of these two diets have been reported effective in weight loss, but remember that choosing one of them as better heavily depends on individual circumstances and various factors, including individual metabolism, adherence, and general calorie balance.

  • The Carnivore Diet's focus on high-fat, high-protein animal-based foods can boost satiety and decrease overall calorie intake, which can result in weight loss. Also, the Carnivore diet excludes processed foods and refined carbs to reduce calorie intake, which can lead to weight loss.
  • The Keto diet creates a state of ketosis, which can promote fat burning and weight loss. Consuming large amounts of fat and moderate protein increases satiety, which decreases calorie intake and helps weight loss. Also, the Keto diet aids in regulating insulin levels, which improves weight management.

As you may have understood by now, despite the difference between the Carnivore diet vs Keto diet, both these two diets can promote weight loss. But since the Carnivore diet also includes ketosis, it can add to its benefits.

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This article analysed the Carnivore diet vs the Keto diet regarding weight loss and thoroughly compared their similarities and differences from various aspects.

The Carnivore diet emphasises animal-based foods and excludes processed carbohydrates to decrease calorie intake and promote weight loss.

The Keto diet is built up on ketosis, reduced hunger, and insulin regulation, which can increase fat burning and result in sustainable weight loss.

All in all, choosing one of these two diets as the best one for weight loss depends on many factors, including individual needs and goals.

I hope this article can help you make the best decision to reach your fitness and health goals. But make sure to consult a healthcare professional before making drastic changes to your eating habits.

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