Carnivore Diet vs Paleo Diet: Rules
Carnivore diet has four simple rules:
- Consume animal-based products (from meat to seafood, poultry and fat).
- Avoid plant-based foods.
- Avoid processed foods/ especially meats.
- Limit dairy products.
Learn about the best, fastest, and easiest Carnivore diet recipes
Here are the main Paleo diet rules:
- Consume whole, unprocessed foods.
- Consume lean meats, poultry, and seafood.
- Consume vegetables and fruits.
- Avoid processed products.
- Use healthy fats (e.g. olive oil, coconut oil).
It's worth remembering that these are general rules of the Carnivore diet vs Paleo diet, and there are flexible versions of each one. Now that we know the rules and logic behind the Carnivore and Paleo diets let’s check the main foods (meat, drinks, fruits, and dairy) and see how these two diets treat them!
Carnivore Diet vs Paleo Diet: Meat
Both the carnivore diet and the paleo diet allow consuming meat as a source of protein, but there are differences in their attitudes toward meat as follows.
- The Carnivore diet is mainly based on meat and is known as all-meat or zero-carb as it focuses on maximising the intake of protein and minimising carbs. That’s why meat is a priority in the Carnivore diet and is eaten daily.
- The Paleo diet does not focus solely on meat, as it believes our body needs plants and seeds for maximum health. Therefore, meat is consumed in moderation as a source of protein and other nutrients.
Carnivore Diet vs Paleo Diet: Drinks
Staying hydrated (i.e., drinking water) is an important rule in both Carnivore and Paleo diets. However, they have different approaches toward other types of drinks.
- In addition to water, Carnivore dieters can drink black coffee or unsweetened tea, but drinking sugary or artificially sweetened beverages, as well as alcohol, is not recommended. Some Carnivore dieters also avoid milk and other animal-based drinks.
- The Paleo diet prioritises water but also welcomes many other drinks, including herbal tea, coconut water, and fresh vegetable or fruit juices. Drinking sugary or artificially sweetened beverages, as well as alcohol, is not recommended in this diet too.
Carnivore Diet vs Paleo Diet: Fruits
The Carnivore diet and the Paleo diet have contradictory attitudes toward fruits.
- The Carnivore diet bans fruits because of containing sugar and carbohydrates. Carnivore dieters can obtain fruit nutrients from animal-based sources.
- The Paleo diet includes fruits for their vitamins, minerals, and fibre, although some have relatively high levels of sugar.
Carnivore Diet vs Paleo Diet: Diary
- The Carnivore diet includes a limited portion of dairy products like butter, ghee, cheese and heavy cream, avoiding milk and many other dairy products as they can cause digestive issues.
- The Paleo diet only allows for the dairy products that are minimally processed and high in fat, such as butter, ghee, and full-fat cheese. However, other types of dairy, like milk and yoghurt, are frowned upon for containing lactose.
So, that’s how the Carnivore diet vs Paleo diet takes main foods, but to choose one of them, we need to take a step further and compare their benefits and side effects.
Carnivore Diet vs Paleo Diet: Benefits
Both the Carnivore diet and the Paleo diet come with different health benefits. Let’s see what they are.
Carnivore Diet Benefits
- Rapid Weight Loss: High levels of protein and low carbohydrate content can lead to rapid weight loss (source).
- Reduced Inflammation: The Carnivore diet can result in reduced inflammation.
- Improved Mental Clarity: Some believe that the Carnivore diet can boost mental clarity and focus.
Paleo Diet Benefits
- Blood Sugar Control: Consuming whole, unprocessed foods and low glycemic index carbohydrates can result in more balanced blood sugar and insulin sensitivity (source).
- Increased Nutrient Intake: Consuming whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, can provide the daily nutrients needed.
- Reduced Inflammation: Anti-inflammatory whole foods (fruits and vegetables) allowed on the Paleo diet can decrease inflammation.
Although the Carnivore diet vs Paleo diet has benefits, these two diets can have side effects on some people. Let’s see what the possible side effects are.
Carnivore Diet vs Paleo Diet: Side Effects
No diet is 100% risk-free or empty of side effects, but knowing the possible side effects of a diet in advance can help the dieter make better plans and avoid side effects. Here are the possible side effects of the Carnivore diet vs Paleo diet.
Carnivore Diet Side Effects
- Nutrient Deficiencies: Eliminating plant-based foods, the Carnivore diet may prevent the dieters from taking nutrients, such as fibre, certain vitamins, and minerals, which can cause deficiencies if not properly balanced (source).
- Digestive Issues: Some individuals may experience digestive problems (like constipation or diarrhea) in the Carnivore diet because of its high protein and fat content.
- Risk of Heart Disease: Consuming saturated fat and cholesterol found in animal-based foods in excess can increase the risk of heart disease.
Paleo Diet Side Effects
- Nutrient Deficiencies: The Paleo diet can be low in some nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D, if not properly balanced.
- Digestive Issues: Consuming high-fibre foods, including fruits and vegetables, can cause digestive problems, such as bloating or gas, in some dieters (source).
- Risk of heart disease: Some versions of the Paleo diet may be high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can result in heart disease.
After knowing these two diets’ benefits and side effects, we can refresh our memory about their main differences to be able to choose the best one that fits our needs.
Differences Between The Carnivore Diet and the Paleo Diet
- Food focus: The Carnivore diet prioritizes animal-based foods, while the Paleo diet focuses on whole, unprocessed foods, from meat to fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
- Carb Intake: The Carnivore diet minimizes carbohydrate intake, while the Paleo diet allows the dieters to consume low glycemic index carbohydrates.
- Plant-based Foods: The Carnivore diet does not allow any plant-based food, while the Paleo diet includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
- Dairy: The Carnivore diet generally avoids dairy products, while the Paleo diet allows for some high-fat, minimally processed dairy products.
- Processed Foods: The Carnivore diet bans all processed foods, while the Paleo diet discourages highly processed foods and encourages whole, unprocessed foods.
- Nutrient Balance: The Carnivore diet may be low in certain nutrients, such as fibre and some vitamins and minerals coming from plants, while the Paleo diet tries to balance nutrient-dense whole foods to meet daily nutritional needs.
- Long-term Sustainability: The Carnivore diet may be difficult to sustain in the long run as it has a restrictive nature, while the Paleo diet is more flexible and can be followed for a longer period.
Carnivore Diet vs Paleo Diet: Which One Is Better?
After learning all about the Carnivore diet vs Paleo diet from A to Z, it’s time to see which one is a better dietary approach. Well, it’s crystal clear that no single diet is good for everyone.
Also, it’s no secret that experiencing the benefits and side effects of a diet depends on each individual's health status, nutritional needs, weight, body composition, and personal circumstances.
Also, you need to consult a healthcare professional before making drastic changes to your daily eating habits to maximise the benefits and avoid any health issues.
So, to choose any of these two diets, you first need to set your goals, listen to your body, check your physical activity and health status, and consult a healthcare specialist to get the best results.
Both the Carnivore diet and the Paleo diet come with possible benefits and drawbacks, and the present article tried to shed some light on all the aspects of a diet that dieters need to know to make the most optimal decision.