It’s an age-old debate that’s raged on for decades, with each side passionately defending their dietary choices. From health benefits to environmental impact to ethics, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to plant-based vs carnivore diets.
While new fad diets seem to come and go through your social feeds every week, these two have stood the test of time, and the debate continues! But which is actually better for you, and why? That’s what we’re here to talk about today.
In this guide, we’ll help you understand a plant-based diet vs carnivore diet. We’ll pull apart the nutritional components, the effect of each on your health, the potential side effects, and other factors that often get overlooked.
We want to give you all the information you need about a carnivore diet vs plant-based diet to make a logical, informed decision that’s best for your personal health needs, helping you on your journey to a healthier, happier lifestyle.
An Overview of the Carnivore Diet
Before we compare a plant-based vs carnivore diet, let’s take a look at these two diets separately. First up - the carnivore diet. Many people swear by this popular dietary regimen and its radically simple principle: consuming exclusively animal-based foods.
Plant-derived products and processed foods are excluded from the carnivore diet, and sometimes, certain animal products also don’t meet the requirements. Embracing a primal approach, proponents love this animal-centric diet for optimal health and well-being.
At its core, the carnivore diet is grounded in the notion that animal-derived foods offer superior nutritional benefits, encompassing all essential nutrients required for sustenance.
This philosophy stems from the belief that ancestral diets, predominantly reliant on animal products, align more closely with human evolution, suggesting that humans are inherently better adapted to metabolize and thrive on animal-derived sustenance.
Advocates often tout the diet's potential to eliminate certain plant-based compounds, such as lectins and phytates, which some argue can cause adverse health effects like inflammation or digestive issues.
The philosophy underscores a return to a simpler, more primal diet, avoiding the negative health effects of modern eating habits. While paleo and keto diets sometimes share similar primal philosophies, there are many differences between carnivore vs paleo and keto vs carnivore diets.
Just like any diet, the rules can be slightly different depending on who you talk to, and there are several examples of modified carnivore diets. In general, though, the carnivore diet exclusively encompasses animal-based products.
These include various meats such as beef, pork, poultry, fish, and organ meats. Dairy, particularly low-lactose, high-fat options like butter and certain types of cheese (usually hard ones), is sometimes accepted, while others prefer to limit cheese on carnivore diet or avoid it altogether.
Notably absent from the carnivore diet food list are all plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. The strict exclusion of plant matter distinguishes the carnivore diet as one of the simplest, most primal dietary regimens around.
Although it may seem restrictive, once you start exploring carnivore diet recipes you find that there are plenty of delicious options, as well as healthy meat snacks and other carnivore diet snacks to keep you satisfied throughout the day.
Let’s take the carnivore diet and inflammation, for example. Research shows us that low-carb diets like the carnivore diet can significantly reduce inflammation, potentially alleviating aches and pains, protecting your organs, and reducing your risk of many chronic conditions.
For those struggling with blood sugar regulation, the carnivore diet for diabetes is often a viable option. And, the avoidance of carnivore diet carbs inevitably leads to carnivore diet weight loss, dramatically improving both your physical and mental health.
There are so many other benefits of this diet, including improved gut health, increased energy levels, reduced digestive problems, better mental clarity, enhanced athletic abilities, and so much more. What’s not to love?!
An Overview of Plant-Based Diets
Plant-based diets have surged in popularity, championed for their emphasis on whole, plant-derived foods and their purported health and environmental benefits.
Advocates of these diets advocate for a predominant consumption of plant-based foods while limiting or entirely excluding animal-derived products. Let’s take a closer look at the plant-based diet and why it’s a popular choice.
At the core of plant-based diets lies a philosophy centered on the consumption of plant foods. This dietary approach promotes the belief that a diet predominantly comprised of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds holds the key to optimal health.
It's rooted in the idea that plant-based foods offer high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Advocates often also emphasize the environmental and ethical considerations associated with reducing reliance on animal products.
Plant-based diets encompass a wide spectrum of foods derived from plants. These include fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, legumes (beans, lentils), whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats), nuts, seeds, and plant-based oils.
Some variations may include small amounts of animal-derived products like dairy, eggs, or honey, but the emphasis remains on plant-derived foods. The diet can also include heavily processed food items, as long as they are free from animal-derived products and ingredients.
Advocates of plant-based diets believe there are many benefits, including reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Some people also lose weight after switching to a plant-based diet, while others see benefits like improved skin and digestion.
Research suggests that plant-based diets, when well-balanced, can indeed offer many different health benefits. However, it’s essential that a plant-based diet is carefully balanced, with lots of whole foods, multiple protein sources, and careful planning and meal prep.
Some people also see cost as a benefit of a plant-based vs carnivore diet, but this isn’t always the case. High-quality plant-based foods don’t come cheap, and sticking to a carnivore diet on a budget is quite achievable without sacrificing your nutritional needs.
Plant-Based vs Carnivore Diet: Which is Better For You?
So, when it comes to a plant-based vs carnivore diet, which is better for you? Ultimately, it depends on your health goals, individual nutritional needs, and personal lifestyle choices.
That said, we can compare the two diets across a variety of categories to help you make the right choices for you. Here’s what you need to know about choosing a plant-based vs carnivore diet.
Nutritional Value and Deficiency Risks
The carnivore diet, centered around animal-derived foods, aims to provide a concentrated source of essential nutrients such as protein, healthy fats, and crucial vitamins and minerals. Some people also add carnivore diet supplements or opt for the modified carnivore and fruit diet.
While the carnivore diet provides complete proteins and a healthy spectrum of vitamins and minerals, the same isn’t always true for a plant-based diet. There are almost no plant-based sources of complete proteins, meaning you’re missing out on essential amino acids.
Plant-based proteins have to be carefully combined at each meal to ensure your nutritional needs are met, and many people on plant-based diets find it necessary to supplement with iron, B vitamins, vitamin D, and other nutrients that plant-based foods are low in.
Impact on Physical Health and Disease Prevention
But wait a second, is the carnivore diet healthy? Yes! Despite what we so often hear, a diet rich in quality animal products can certainly be healthy when it’s done properly. In terms of a carnivore diet and cholesterol, there’s even evidence to suggest that this diet can help lower cholesterol levels.
The carnivore diet can also reduce your risk of autoimmune disorders and metabolic issues, and can also help to regulate blood sugar levels. This can protect you from issues like heart disease and diabetes, and may also improve your long-term brain health.
What about the carnivore diet vs plant-based diet in terms of your health? As long as you’re eating a plant-based diet that’s rich in fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats, you may also see some health benefits like a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.
Mental and Emotional Well-being
The carnivore diet has the potential to boost mental clarity and improve mood, possibly due to the removal of inflammatory plant compounds and the fact that blood sugar levels remain stable on a carnivore diet.
On the other hand, plant-based diets can often lead to deficiencies in key nutrients like iodine, which is known to cause anxiety and depression. Another common deficiency on a vegan diet is vitamin B12, which can cause irritability, personality changes, depression, and memory loss.
Digestive Health and Gut Microbiome
The carnivore diet is high in protein and fat, which can initially cause digestive discomfort like constipation or diarrhea. The body usually adjusts over time, and many people report relief from existing digestive issues after they switch to a carnivore diet without plant fibers.
When it comes to a plant-based diet vs carnivore diet, it’s a different story. Those on a plant-based diet may struggle to digest large amounts of plant fiber, which can also block the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals like iron, further increasing the risk of a deficiency.
Potential Side Effects
Before starting any new diet, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects. Short-term carnivore diet side effects include digestive upset, nausea, cramps, and sugar cravings, but these usually resolve once your body adjusts to its new diet.
Long-term side effects and carnivore diet before and after changes include weight loss, sharper mental focus, reduced inflammation, and improved heart health. Staying hydrated through the early stages is a great way to combat the initial side effects and let your system reap the rewards.
Similarly to the carnivore diet, a plant-based diet can lead to short-term side effects like digestive discomfort and sugar cravings. However, particularly if care is not taken to ensure it’s a balanced plant-based diet, long-term side effects can also include depression, deficiencies, and fatigue.
Ease of Adherence
The simplicity of the carnivore diet, focusing solely on animal products, often appeals to people seeking a straightforward approach. It’s easy to understand what is and isn’t allowed, although it can still be a challenge when eating at restaurants and in certain social settings.
A plant-based diet is often more difficult to adhere to, as it requires careful analysis of ingredient lists to avoid animal-derived products. Similar to a carnivore diet, it can be difficult to adhere to plant-based meals at restaurants or when eating with friends who don’t follow the diet.
Although a diet consisting of meat may seem more expensive, this usually isn’t the case. It’s easy to find high-quality meat products and nutritious snacks like carnivore chips without breaking the bank.
On a plant-based diet, fresh, whole foods often end up costing substantially more than expected. Plus, the need for dietary supplements adds up quickly, making this diet much more expensive than it may seem at first glance.
So, Which is Better: Plant-Based vs Carnivore Diet?
Of course, at the end of the day, the choice is entirely up to you and depends on your specific health goals and individual nutrition requirements. But, when it comes to a plant-based diet vs carnivore diet, there are a lot of reasons to try the carnivore diet for better mental and physical health.
Tips for Starting the Carnivore Diet and Reaping All the Benefits it Has to Offer
If you’re wondering how to start carnivore diet, the first step is to educate yourself. Learn how much to eat on carnivore diet, follow these carnivore diet tips, and make sure you understand the potential side effects and how to counteract them (hint: stay hydrated!).
It’s also essential to focus on quality. Choose premium animal products to ensure a better nutrient profile. Opt for grass-fed or pasture-raised meats, wild-caught fish, and organic sources when possible to minimize your exposure to additives or hormones.
Finally, invest in the best no carb snacks to keep you happy through the day. Our melt-in-your-mouth meat chips, including ribeye chips, steak chips, and lamb chips, are made from grass-fed, regeneratively raised protein for a delicious, flaky snack with only two ingredients!
Bringing Our Comparison of the Plant-Based Diet vs Carnivore Diet to a Close
When it comes to a carnivore diet vs plant-based, there’s a lot to unpack. Hopefully, this guide has helped shed some light on the differences between these two diets, and dispelled some common misconceptions about the carnivore diet.
Focusing your diet on quality animal proteins can improve your mental health and clarity, energy levels, digestive health, and blood sugar regulation, and more. Plus, with quality snacks like our beef chips, brisket chips, chicken chips, and pork chips, it’s easier than ever to stick to the carnivore diet!
So, what’s the hold-up? Start your journey to better mental and physical health, and transform your lifestyle with the carnivore diet. Find all the nutritious snacks you need right here at Carnivore Snax!