Diet and ExerciseKeto Vs Carnivore Diet : Impact on Health

Keto Vs Carnivore Diet : Impact on Health

The keto and carnivore diets have surged in popularity as low-carb approaches for weight loss and health. But what are the key differences and which one is better?

In this article, we provide a detailed comparison of the keto and carnivore diets. We cover the basics of each diet, the pros and cons, the impacts on weight loss and overall health, and sustainability. Our goal is to highlight the main similarities and differences between these diets so you can determine which (if either) is right for you. With keto and carnivore taking such contrasting approaches, it’s important to understand how they stack up against one another before trying one.

What is the Keto Diet?

The keto diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with Atkins and other low-carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.

When you eat very few carbs, your body burns fat for fuel instead. It produces ketones in the liver which can supply energy for the brain. As a result, ketones and blood sugar levels rise while insulin levels decrease dramatically. This metabolic state is called ketosis.

On a keto diet, you typically restrict your carb intake to 20-50 grams of net carbs per day. The rest of your calories come from protein and fat. The recommended ratios are usually approximately:

– 70-80% of calories from fat

– 15-25% of calories from protein

– 5-10% of calories from carbs

This forces your body to burn fats rather than rely on carbs’ sugar for fuel. Most people follow a traditional keto diet with 75% fat, 20% protein and just 5% carbs. There are other variations as well like the cyclical ketogenic diet.

In general, keto diets emphasize foods high in natural fats, moderate protein and low carbs. Foods commonly eaten include:

– Meats

– Fatty fish and seafood

– Eggs

– High-fat dairy

– Nuts and seeds

– Healthy fats like olive oil and avocado

– Low-carb vegetables like leafy greens

Keto diets severely limit grains, fruits, beans and legumes and some vegetables. Sugar and unhealthy fats are eliminated as well. Processed foods should be avoided, focusing instead on whole, single-ingredient foods.

The keto diet aims to drive your body into ketosis, a state where you burn ketones derived from fat instead of glucose from carbs as your primary fuel source.

What is the Carnivore Diet?

The carnivore diet is an extreme form of low-carb, high-fat diet that consists of eating only animal meat, fats and organs. The carnivore diet eliminates all forms of carbohydrates including fruits, vegetables and starches.

The carnivore diet generally only includes:

  •  Beef
  •  Pork
  •  Poultry
  •  Fish
  •  Eggs
  •  Dairy like butter or heavy cream
  •  Organ meats like liver

No plant foods are allowed on the carnivore diet. This means no vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, grains, spices, herbs or plant-based oils. Even small amounts of carbs like onions, garlic, tomatoes and peppers are avoided.

The carnivore diet aims to mimic the diets of early hunter-gatherers who subsisted only on animal foods. Proponents claim that foregoing plant foods and carbohydrates provides optimal human nutrition and has many benefits for health. The extreme dietary restrictions of the carnivore diet mean it lacks many essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants only found in plants.

The carnivore diet forces the body into ketosis, a state where it burns fat for fuel in the absence of carbs. But ketosis is not the primary goal like on the keto diet. The focus is simply the elimination of all plant foods for claimed health benefits.

Key Differences Between the Keto and Carnivore Diets

The keto and carnivore diets share some similarities, as they are both very low in carbs compared to a standard diet. There are some significant differences between these two popular low-carb eating plans.

The most notable difference is that keto is structured around macronutrient ratios while carnivore does not track or restrict protein or fat. On keto, dieters aim for around 75% of calories from fat, 20% from protein and just 5% from carbs. This macro ratio helps the body get into a state of ketosis for fat burning. In contrast, the carnivore diet has no set macros – it is focused solely on meat and animal products. There are no carb or protein limits to worry about.

Keto diets also include non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds, dairy and healthy fats from oils. The carnivore diet eliminates all plant foods including vegetables. The only foods allowed on carnivore are animal products like meat, fish, eggs and limited dairy like butter or hard cheeses. This means carnivore is more restrictive in food choices and variety.

In terms of purpose, keto specifically aims to get the body into ketosis for fat metabolism. It relies on lower protein intake to prevent interfering with this metabolic state. Carnivore does not necessarily cause ketosis, as protein intake can be higher. The focus is more on eliminating food intolerances and reducing inflammation through an animal-food-only diet.

Weight Loss Effects

The carnivore diet often leads to faster weight loss compared to keto. This is likely due to the severe restriction in carb intake, which depletes glycogen stores and leads to quick water weight loss at the start of the diet.

In addition, protein and fat are very satiating whereas carbs can spike appetite. By just eating meat, the carnivore diet leads to effortless calorie restriction since protein and fat provide lasting fullness. This makes it easier to maintain the calorie deficit needed for fat loss.

Keto is also effective for weight loss by achieving ketosis where the body burns fats for fuel. But some dieters stall weight loss on keto by overeating certain allowed foods like nuts, dairy and low carb treats. The carnivore diet avoids this issue since it is limited to only meat.

Impact on Health

The keto and carnivore diets can impact health in different ways. The carnivore diet is more likely to cause nutritional deficiencies since it lacks any plant foods. By only eating meat, the carnivore diet provides no fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, or vitamins and minerals found primarily in plant foods.

Completely avoiding fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains on the carnivore diet can lead to deficiencies in vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, folate, and more. There is also a lack of beneficial plant compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids, and polyphenols on the carnivore diet. These nutrients help reduce inflammation, act as antioxidants, and provide other health benefits.

With no fiber from plant foods, the carnivore diet can also cause constipation in some people. The keto diet includes non-starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds and some berries, so it contains more protective plant nutrients than the carnivore diet. Keto is typically higher in fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients than the carnivore diet.

Diet Sustainability

The carnivore diet is extremely restrictive and eliminates all plant foods, including vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and even spices. This makes it very challenging to follow long-term for most people. The carnivore diet means eating only animal foods like meat, fish, eggs and limited dairy products. Such a limited diet can be hard to maintain over months or years due to lack of variety.

Faqs about keto vs carnivore diet

What is the keto diet?

The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that aims to shift the body into a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for fuel.

What is the carnivore diet?

The carnivore diet is an animal-based diet that eliminates all plant foods and focuses solely on meat, fish, and animal products.

What are the differences between keto and carnivore?

The main differences between keto and carnivore diets are that keto allows for some plant-based foods and emphasizes macronutrient ratios, while carnivore is strictly animal-based.

What are the pros and cons of each diet?

Pros of keto include potential weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity; cons include potential nutrient deficiencies. Pros of carnivore include simplicity, potential elimination of food sensitivities; cons include potential nutrient imbalances.

Which diet is more effective for weight loss?

Both diets can be effective for weight loss, but individual results may vary.

Which diet is healthier overall?

Neither diet is inherently healthier overall; it depends on individual needs and preferences.

Who should consider trying each diet?

Individuals seeking weight loss or metabolic improvements may try either diet, but it’s important to consult a healthcare professional.

Who should avoid each diet?

Those with certain health conditions or nutrient needs may need to avoid or modify these diets; consulting a healthcare professional is advised.

How sustainable is each diet for long-term health?

Long-term sustainability varies; keto can be adapted for long-term use with proper nutrient planning, while carnivore may lack variety and nutrients over time. Consulting a healthcare professional is recommended.

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