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Carnivore Diet vs Keto: What are the Differences & Which is Right for You?

Carnivore Diet vs Keto: What are the Differences

Carnivore diet vs keto is a common comparison, as both diets have surged in popularity recently. Many people believe that the terms keto and carnivore diet are interchangeable, but they are not. 

While these two diets share some similarities - both being forms of elimination diets - they are different in a few key ways. So - what is the difference between keto and carnivore diet? Is the carnivore diet keto, technically?

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers - including which of these two elimination diets is right for you. Keep reading to compare the carnivore diet vs keto and see which we recommend.

What Exactly is the Carnivore Diet?

The Carnivore diet focuses only on meat and animal products. People on the carnivore diet eat meat, fish, eggs, butter, and seasonings to provide additional flavor to their meals.

People on the carnivore diet exclude plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, and grains. They will also avoid foods with a lot of sugar or heavily processed foods. 

Some people refer to the carnivore diet as the ancestral diet. This is because this diet is very close to what our ancestors may have eaten - as they had no processed foods, sugars, sodas, and other unhealthy foods. By following these ancestral tenants you’re able to cut back on the risk of certain modern health complications like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and more.

Now - what does keto mean, exactly?

What Does "Keto" Mean?

The word keto is short for ketogenic. This refers to a high-protein diet low in carbohydrates. By entering a state of “ketosis” - where your body turns to stored fat for energy instead of blood sugar - you can experience serious weight loss and other health benefits.

This diet started as a medical-based diet (created to address specific health concerns). However, it is often used as a diet associated with a healthier lifestyle or a weight loss diet.

Is the Carnivore Diet Keto?

So - knowing what both of these diets mean, is the carnivore diet keto?

When people learn about these two diets, many ask is the carnivore diet keto. Although these two diets share many similar characteristics, the carnivore diet is not strictly keto. They are both high-protein, low-carb diets. However, the foods allowed in each diet are different. So - let’s evaluate some of these similarities and differences below.

Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet: Evaluating Key Similarities and Differences

If you are trying to decide which diet is right for you, youre in luck - we’re here to demystify the pros and cons of each. We will compare the carnivore diet vs keto diet below to show you the differences and similarities between each one.

What is Similar Between Keto Diet vs Carnivore Diet?

A number of general similarities exist between these diets. If you asked for the simplest definition of either diet, someone might say that the diet is high-fat, high-protein, and low-carb. That is relatively true for both diets. However, the keto diet is more a medium-protein than a high-protein diet.

When looking at the bare-bones macronutrients involved, one might think these diets are the same. However, the macro makeup of carnivore and keto is where their similarities end. They do have significant differences in what you can and can not eat and the strictness of the rules of the diet.

What is the Difference Between Keto and Carnivore Diet?

There are two significant differences between these diets. They are what you can eat and how much planning is involved. We’ll break down both of these factors below.

Meal Planning

One of the main differences between the carnivore diet vs keto is how much time you will need to spend on meal planning. With the carnivore diet, you focus on only eating the foods allowed. Still, you do not have to extensively look at the macronutrients of each meal or the ingredients of each meal that you are eating. In that way, carnivore is easier than the keto diet.

Unfortunately, this is not true with the keto diet. If you are interested in the Keto diet, understand that you will need to understand the macro percentages of the meals you eat to stay within this diet's restrictions. Typically, a meal on the keto diet must have this breakdown of macronutrients:

  •         70 – 80% of all calories are from fat
  •         15 – 30% of all calories are from protein
  •         0 – 10% of all calories are from carbs

As you can imagine, it can take a lot of time and effort to ensure all meals stay within this basic guideline. It is not 100% rigid as there is a range of each percentage, but it can still feel like you spend too much time and effort to decide what you can have as a snack or a meal.

Food Choices

The other main difference between these diets is the actual foods you eat. You can enjoy meat, fish, and seafood for each of these diets. However, you only eat meat and animal products on the carnivore diet. If you go keto, you will eat all of this - but you can also eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Both of these diets are focused on a healthier diet and lifestyle. They take out highly processed foods, high-carb choices, and unnatural sugars. However, the keto diet was designed to lower sugar and carb counts for medical purposes. Since then keto has morphed into a weight loss or weight control diet.

The carnivore diet is also concerned with the health and wellness that a diet can bring to an individual. However, weight loss is a by-product of the diet, not the central focus. 

The carnivore diet is a diet that is designed for a healthier lifestyle, especially for active people. Its high protein and fat content are meant to fuel the individual. There are also a lot of health benefits to this diet, partially due to not only removing processed foods and sugar but also getting rid of plant-based foods. You’ll enjoy less inflammation, greater focus, and a general feeling of improved wellness.

Carnivore Diet vs Keto Diet: Which is the Healthier Choice for You?

Although both diets are much healthier than the standard American diet, the Carnivore diet comes out on top. Here are some reasons why the Carnivore diet is better than the Keto diet.

Whole Foods

In recent years, you may have noticed health professionals discussing the importance of whole foods in diets. Whole foods are free from processing and refinement and have not had ingredients added to them. They are better for you as they have a much higher nutrient count, including vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.

The Carnivore diet is a whole-food diet. The benefit of being on a whole food diet besides a much more nutritious diet is that they may lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Less Chance of Bacterial Exposure

With keto, you are still eating plant-based foods. With plants, there is a chance of exposure to bacteria. When you eliminate plant-based options from your diet, you protect yourself from exposure to harmful bacteria such as klebsiella, E. coli, and listeria.

Eliminates Anti-Nutrients and Plant Toxins

Most of the plants that people eat today did not exist in the time of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Many of these plants have toxins; even when safe, they can take longer to digest. Plant-based diets can have more sugar in them, making people feel sick to their stomachs or bloated.

Many fruits and vegetables also have anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients are substances found in plant-based foods that can block or interfere with the absorption of nutrients into our bodies.

Supplies The Body With Healthy Fats

Although some people may see a high-fat diet and think that means it is terrible for them. However, not all fat is bad. There is a vast difference between healthy fats in meat and animal products and fat in sugary desserts and high-carb, high-gluten food choices.

Healthy fats support cardiovascular health, provide fat-soluble vitamins, support healthy brain and cell function, and protect the liver. Good fats found in meat and animal products can also be very satiating. This will reduce the need to snack constantly, helping to fight against weight gain and obesity.

Easier to Eliminate Sugar on This Diet

Compared to the Keto diet, individuals have a much easier time eliminating sugar in the Carnivore diet. The keto diet still allows plant foods. Most plant-based foods have carbs and water, which create sugar. The digestive system will break down carbohydrates into sugar.

People on the carnivore diet do not create extra sugar as they do not eat plant-based foods. This can be a healthy difference as it promotes weight loss and helps prevent type 2 diabetes.

The Carnivore Diet is Easier to Follow

Although you might not think something being easier is a health benefit, but it could be. If all other things were equal (which they are not), you should choose the one which will be easier to implement into your daily life. The reason that this supports the healthier choice is simple. The easier something is to implement and follow, the easier it is to stick to.

You will never have to worry about picking a meal or a snack that falls within a stringent macronutrient scale. This will help you not to cheat on your diet when you are hungry, tired, or do not want to put in the extra effort that day.

Help Is Available

Just like any diet out there, there will be a learning curve. You may feel overwhelmed when you are trying to switch from a high-carb, highly-processed diet full of sugar and empty calories. Don't worry – we are here to help you.

If you are concerned about being successful on the Carnivore diet, you can check out our article on carnivore diet tips. These tips will help you stay on your diet and help your transition to be more manageable. You can also read our carnivore diet snack list If you are looking for snack ideas!

Final Thoughts on the Keto vs Carnivore Diet Debate

Many people need to learn how these two diets differ when deciding on the carnivore diet vs. keto. In fact, many individuals start their searches by asking, is the carnivore diet keto. Although it might be a form of keto as it is high-fat, high-protein, and low-carb, they are not the same. The carnivore diet is superior in the health benefits it affords the individuals on it.

Some of these health benefits include:

  • A nutrient-rich diet
  • Avoiding anti-nutrients
  • Eliminating Processed foods and foods high in sugar.
  • A diet high in healthy fats
  • Avoiding plant toxins and plant-based bacteria
  • Having a diet that helps with heart health, liver health, cell, and brain function.
  • Having a diet that helps avoid diseases.
When choosing carnivore over keto, some people are concerned about the lack of snacks they will have to choose from. However, most people on keto eat 5 – 7 times a day, and snacks and very important to that diet. One of the carnivore's edges is that the food is so filling you will hardly ever need snacks. Even when you do, there are plenty of delicious snacks. These snacks include carnivore crisps, beef jerky, hard or soft-boiled eggs, meat chips, and tuna.

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