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The Carnivore Diet vs. Keto Diet: Results, Meal Plan and Food List

The Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet: which of these two low-carb diets can help you reach your ideal weight, reduce inflammation, and find a healthier lifestyle? To find the answer, we must analyze each one and check their pros and cons, rules and logic, similarities, and most importantly, their differences because they both focus on promoting ketosis with high-fat and low-carb foods but in different ways with different results.

The Carnivore Diet vs. Keto Diet: Results, Meal Plan and Food List
  • The Keto Diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carbohydrate diet focused on pushing the body into a ketosis state to burn fat as an energy source instead of carbohydrates.
  • The Carnivore Diet is also a high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carbohydrate diet, which focuses on meat as the food source.
  • These two diets are very similar in rules, logic, and food list but the Carnivore Diet has a more strict approach than the Keto Diet for carbohydrate consumption, as it eliminates all plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • If you want more diversity in your meal plan and love to have fruits or vegetables in your diet, the Keto Diet can be the better option. But if you have high insulin sensitivity or want to lose weight more quickly, we recommend the Carnivore Diet.

What Is a Keto Diet?

The Ketogenic (or Keto) Diet is a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet that has become popular in recent years. The primary goal of the Keto Diet is to put the body into a metabolic state called ketosis, where fat becomes the primary energy source instead of carbohydrates.

The focus of the Keto Diet is the reduction of carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day [1]. This carb restriction forces the body to seek alternative fuel sources and leads it to break down fat and produce ketones, organic compounds that can be used as energy.

As a result, the body shifts from relying on glucose (from carbohydrates) to relying on fat and ketones for fuel. To achieve this state, the Keto Diet emphasizes consuming a high proportion of healthy fats (up to 70-80% of the total daily calorie intake).

The main rule of the Keto Diet is to have high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb foods in your meal plan.

Learn More: What Is Ketovore Diet? Meal Plan, Food List

Dr. Eric Westman:

"The Ketogenic Diet has shown promise in various health conditions, including weight loss, epilepsy, and type 2 diabetes. Its emphasis on low-carbohydrate intake and ketosis as a metabolic state offers potential benefits for many individuals seeking improved health outcomes."

What Foods Are Allowed on the Keto Diet?

The Keto Diet emphasizes consuming foods high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates. Here are some of the main food groups allowed on the standard Keto Diet.

OilsOlive oil, Avocado oil, Coconut oil, Butter, Ghee
Proteins Meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey), Eggs, Seafood (salmon, tuna, shrimp), Cheese, High-fat dairy (heavy cream, full-fat yogurt)
Low-Carb Vegetables Leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula), Broccoli, Cauliflower, Zucchini, Eggplant, Bell peppers, Mushrooms, Tomatoes
Beverages Water, Unsweetened coffee and tea, Bone broth, Sparkling water
Condiments Salt, Pepper, Herbs, Spices

The logic of this diet, which is pushing the body into the ketosis state with high-fat foods, can help you in many aspects.

The Benefits of the Keto Diet

There are many potential benefits related to the Keto Diet, such as:

  • Weight Loss
  • Improved Blood Sugar Control
  • Better Heart Health
  • Anti-Cancer Features
  • Mental Benefits
Keto Diet Boosts Weight Loss

A study published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism compared the effects of a ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet on weight loss and metabolic health. The study found that participants on the Ketogenic Diet experienced greater reductions in body weight, body fat percentage, and improvements in markers of metabolic health compared to those on the low-fat diet.

Weight Loss

The Keto Diet can help weight loss, by forcing your body to burn fat for energy rather than relying on glucose from carbohydrates. By reducing carbohydrate intake and shifting the body into a state of ketosis, the Keto Diet helps create a calorie deficit, lowers insulin levels, and increases fat-burning, which all lead to weight loss [2].

Improved Blood Sugar

The Keto Diet can help control blood sugar by reducing carbohydrate intake, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity [3].

Keto Diet Improves Blood Sugar Levels

A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that individuals following a Ketogenic Diet experienced significant improvements in glycemic control and reductions in medication use for type 2 diabetes management.

Better Heart Health

The Keto Diet can improve several heart disease risk factors, for example, it can lead to a decrease in triglyceride levels, which are a type of unhealthy fat in the blood that can increase the risk of heart problems. Also, the Keto Diet can raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels, which is good for heart health [4] [5].

Anti-Cancer Features

A 2018 research proved that the Keto Diet can have anti-cancer features, as it can help reduce inflammation and starve cancer cells of their preferred fuel source, glucose [6].

Mental Benefits

The Keto Diet can boost mental focus, cognitive function, and mood stability, by pushing the body into a state of ketosis, which can lead to improved energy levels, mental clarity, and positive neuroprotective effects [7] [8].

Another low-carb and high-fat diet with many potential benefits is the Carnivore Diet, which can be more strict than Keto but can bring better results.

Learn More: The Best Low-Carb Pasta Types and Brands for Ketogenic Diets

Dr. Shawn Baker:

"The Carnivore Diet has gained attention for its simplicity and potential health benefits. By focusing on animal-based foods and eliminating plant foods, some individuals report improvements in weight management, energy levels, and overall well-being."

What Is the Carnivore Diet?

The Carnivore Diet is focused only on the consumption of animal-based foods and eliminates all plant-based foods. In this diet, only ruminant meat, poultry, seafood, fish, organ meats, eggs, limited dairy products, and animal fats are allowed.

Hydration is also important in this diet and it is recommended to drink water, bone broth, or other non-caffeinated and non-sweetened beverages [9].

This diet also focuses on high-fat and low-carb foods but is a little different from the Keto Diet.

Learn More: Long-Term and Short-Term Side Effects of The Carnivore Diet

What Foods Are Allowed on the Carnivore Diet?

The focus of the standard Carnivore Diet is on high-fat and low-carb animal-based foods, and plant-based foods are eliminated. The following table shows some of the main food groups allowed on the Carnivore Diet.

MeatBeef, Pork, Lamb, Veal, Organ meats
Poultry Chicken, Turkey, Duck, Goose, Eggs
Fish and Seafood Salmon, Tuna, Shrimp, Lobster, Crab, Mussels, Oysters
Dairy Butter, Heavy cream, Cheese, Greek yogurt, Sour cream
Fats and Oils Lard, Tallow, Bacon grease, Duck fat
Beverages Water, Coffee, Tea, Bone broth, Sparkling water

Avoiding carbohydrates by eliminating fruits and vegetables along with focusing on animal-based foods can provide many benefits for your body.

The Benefits of the Carnivore Diet

By starting the Carnivore Diet, you can achieve many health benefits, such as:

  • Weight Loss
  • Improved Insulin Sensitivity
  • Improved Gut Health
  • Reduced Inflammation
  • Simplicity and Completeness
  • Mental Clarity and Energy

Weight Loss

The Carnivore Diet can be effective for weight loss by eliminating carbohydrates and consuming satiating animal-based foods. This diet can create a calorie deficit that leads to fat loss. Also, the high protein and fat content of the Carnivore Diet can help you feel full longer [10] [11].

Improved Insulin Sensitivity

The Carnivore Diet's elimination of carbohydrates and sugar can help improve insulin sensitivity. It’s an important advantage for those with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes, as it can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the need for medications [12].

Improved Gut Health

Removing plant-based foods containing anti-nutrients and fiber that are difficult to digest, can help improve gut health and reduce gastrointestinal issues [13].

Reduced Inflammation

By eliminating plant-based foods that contain inflammatory compounds, the Carnivore Diet can help reduce overall inflammation in the body. It can also help those suffering from autoimmune conditions or chronic inflammatory issues [14].

Simplicity and Completeness

The Carnivore Diet is a simple approach to eating, and the Carnivore Diet recipes are affordable, and easy to make, even for those with no cooking experience. It also provides a complete set of foods sufficient for the body so that our bodies need no other foods [15].

Mental Clarity and Energy

Stable blood sugar and ketone production in the Carnivore Diet can improve mental clarity and maintain energy levels [16].

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

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 almost all plant-based foods and focuses on animal-based products only.

But what different results can be achieved by eliminating plant-based foods? Let’s compare these two diets to see which can better fit our needs and goals.

Learn More: Is Sour Cream Keto? The Best Sour Cream to Buy

The Carnivore Diet Vs. Keto Diet

To help you decide more easily about these two diets, we have provided the following table that compares their main features.

FeatureCarnivore DietKeto Diet
Diet’s Focus High fat and protein, almost no carbohydrates High fat and protein, low carbohydrates
Allowed Foods Ruminant meat, poultry, seafood, fish, organ meats, eggs, limited dairy, animal fats Ruminant Meat, poultry, seafood, fish, organ meats, eggs, dairy, low-carb vegetables, some nuts, and berries
Prohibited Foods High-carb, sugary, processed, and plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds High-carb (bread, pasta, sugar, etc.)
Health Benefits Weight loss, improved digestion, increased energy levels, reduced inflammation, and improved blood sugar control Weight loss, improved blood sugar control, reduced inflammation, and improved heart health
Sustainability Generally sustainable with proper meal planning Generally sustainable with proper meal planning
Fat Intake 70-80 percent of total daily calories 60-75 percent of total daily calories
Protein Intake 20-30 percent of total daily calories 15-20 percent of total daily calories
Carbohydrate Intake 0-5 percent of total daily calories 5-10 percent of total daily calories

The above table shows the basics of the Carnivore Diet vs. the Keto Diet. The following sections will go through these two diets in detail, regarding their

  • Logic,
  • Rules,
  • Carbohydrates,
  • Calories,
  • Meat,
  • Dairy,
  • Drinks, 
  • Fruits and Vegetables, and
  • Side Effects

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 why our ancestors were meat eaters.

Also, The Carnivore Diet is based on the idea that plant-based foods can be harmful to our health because of many anti-nutrients and toxins like lectins and oxalates. The Carnivore Diet's approach is to completely remove any potential sources of these toxic substances from the diet.

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 boosts fat-burning and weight loss.

While the Keto Diet is focused on low-carb foods, some non-starchy plant-based foods, like fruits and vegetables, are allowed in this diet.

Learn More: Can You Eat Cheese on a Keto Diet? How Much?

Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet: Rules

You can see the comparison of the Carnivore Diet vs. Keto Diet's main rules in the following table.

The Carnivore Diet's main rulesThe Keto Diet’s main rules
Eating only animal-based foods Limiting carbohydrate intake
Avoiding plant-based foods Increasing fat consumption
Eating healthy animal fats Eating protein in moderation
Avoiding processed foods Consuming non-starchy vegetables
Avoiding or strictly limiting Carbohydrates Minimizing processed foods
Increasing the protein intake

Carnivore Diet vs. Keto Diet: Carbohydrates

The Carnivore Diet is an extremely low-carb and high-fat diet that eliminates all plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. By excluding these carbohydrate-containing foods, the Carnivore Diet keeps carbohydrate intake at less than 5% of total calorie intake.

This low carbohydrate intake is designed to put the body into a state of ketosis, which forces the body to adapt and learn to efficiently burn fat and utilize ketones for energy.

The Keto Diet is also a low-carb diet, but it allows for a slightly higher intake of carbohydrates because some fruits and vegetables are allowed in this diet.

Adding low-carb plant foods provides room for a more diverse nutrient intake, as many fruits and vegetables are rich sources of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that can be beneficial for overall health. Normally on a Keto Diet, carbohydrates make up around 5-10% of total calorie intake.

FeatureCarnivore DietKeto Diet
Carbohydrate Intake 0-5 percent of total calories 5-10 percent of total calories
Allowed Carbohydrate Sources None Low-carb vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds
Restricted Carbohydrate Sources All plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, etc.) High-carb foods (bread, pasta, sugar, etc.)

Carnivore Diet vs. Keto Diet: Calories

The specific calorie intake of the Carnivore Diet and the Keto Diet can vary depending on individual needs, sex, and health goals.

FeatureCarnivore DietKeto Diet
Calories Intake 1600-2000 calories daily for women, and 2000-3200 calories daily for men 1500-1800 calories daily for women, and 1800-2200 calories daily for men

Remember that you should consult with a healthcare professional to determine the exact calorie intake in your diet based on your activity level, metabolic needs, and health status.

Carnivore Diet vs. Keto Diet: Meat

The Carnivore Diet is focused on animal-based foods, especially meat. On this diet, you can eat a variety of high-quality and minimally processed meats, including beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and fish. 

The Keto Diet includes meat as an important component and main focus, but other foods are also allowed. While the Keto Diet emphasizes high-fat and low-carb foods, it allows for a more balanced approach that includes a variety of animal-based and plant-based foods.

FeatureCarnivore DietKeto Diet
Meat Intake The main source of calories and nutrients One of the main components
Meat Types Allowed All types of meat (beef, pork, lamb, chicken, fish, etc.) with emphasis on minimally processed meats All types of meat (beef, pork, lamb, chicken, fish, etc.) with emphasis on minimally processed meats

Carnivore Diet vs. Keto Diet: Dairy

Dairy products are allowed on both the Carnivore Diet and the Keto Diet, including cheese, heavy cream, butter, and ghee. Dairy provides a source of fat and protein essential for optimal health and bodily functions, like nutrient absorption and muscle maintenance.

Carnivore Diet vs. Keto Diet: Fruits and Vegetables

The Carnivore Diet eliminates all plant-based foods, including fruits and vegetables. This approach is based on the belief that plant-based foods contain toxins like lectins, phytates, and oxalates that can harm human health [17]. As a result, the Carnivore Diet focuses solely on animal-based foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

In contrast, the Keto Diet allows low-carb vegetables, and, in some cases, small portions of low-sugar fruits.

FeatureCarnivore DietKeto Diet
Fruit Intake No fruits allowed Small amounts of low-sugar fruits, such as berries, allowed in moderation
Vegetable Intake No vegetables allowed Low-carb vegetables, such as leafy greens, and some other non-starchy options, are allowed and encouraged

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. the Keto Diet, to find out potential harms and be able to prevent them and maximize positive results.

The Carnivore Diet Side Effects

  • Nutrient Deficiencies: Some say excluding plant-based foods in the Carnivore Diet may result in deficiencies in nutrients and vitamins, like vitamin C. But it’s not scientifically proven and there are many ways to maximize the intake of Vitamin C on a Carnivore Diet.
  • Digestive Issues: Some Carnivore dieters may experience digestive problems like constipation or diarrhea in the early weeks of the diet, known as the adaptation period. But they usually fade away as the body adapts to the new eating habit. Learn about the Carnivore Diet Constipation, and how to fix the Carnivore Diet Diarrhea.

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, known as Keto flu.
  • Nutrient Deficiencies: Excluding some fruits and whole grains in the Keto Diet may result in deficiencies in some individuals.
  • Digestive Issues: Some digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea, or changes in bowel movements are common among Keto dieters during the early weeks of starting Keto.
  • Ketoacidosis: Although it’s quite rare, some dieters with special conditions like type 1 diabetes may develop ketoacidosis, excessively high levels of ketones in the blood.

Now that you have more information about these two diets, let's go through the reasons to start each.

Learn More: A Low-Carb Diet: Your Free Beginner Guide

Reasons to Start the Keto Diet

One key advantage of the Keto Diet is its flexibility and allowing low-carb foods, such as low-carb plants. It can be a good option for those who want a more balanced and diverse diet.

The Keto Diet also allows you to add berries, and some nuts and seeds to your meal plan, but they’re not allowed on the Carnivore Diet.

So, if you love vegetables, nuts, and fruits and don’t want to delete them from your diet completely, it’s better to start the Keto Diet.

Reasons to Start the Carnivore Diet

One key advantage of the Carnivore Diet is its potential for more effects on weight loss and insulin sensitivity, especially in those who suffer from type 2 diabetes.

The Carnivore Diet can induce ketosis more efficiently than the Keto Diet by eliminating carbohydrates and focusing only on animal-based foods.

Additionally, the Carnivore Diet can be a food option for those struggling with food cravings and a lack of satiety on other diets. The high-fat and high-protein features of the Carnivore Diet can lead to a reduction in overall calorie intake.

For some people, the simplicity of the Carnivore Diet can be appealing. With only animal-based foods allowed, there is no need to constantly monitor carbohydrate intake or plan complex meals with various plant-based ingredients. 

Also, if you have negative experiences with plant-based foods, such as digestive issues or autoimmune reactions, the Carnivore Diet can be the best choice.


The Carnivore Diet prioritizes animal-based foods and excludes processed carbohydrates to decrease inflammation and calorie intake and promote weight loss.

The Keto Diet is based on ketosis to reduce hunger and regulate insulin levels, which can increase fat-melting and result in sustainable weight loss.

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

To decide which of these two diets, Carnivore or Keto better aligns with your body's needs and health goals, you can Remember that if you want to start the Carnivore Diet or Keto Diet, it’s better to consult a healthcare professional.

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