Keto Diet vs. Carnivore Diet: Which One is More Effective For Beginners?

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minute read | Last update: Nov 30th2022

This article is backed by studies and reviewed by a certified dietician.

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In 2020, there were almost 24.5 million Google searches for the 'Keto Diet.' The popularity of the Keto Diet has risen past that of intermittent fasting and the Atkins diet. Now, a more intense and restrictive version of the Keto Diet - the Carnivore Diet - is making the rounds.

The Carnivore Diet is all meat and no carbs - no carbs at all. While it sounds ideal, the Keto Diet may be a better alternative for beginners. The Carnivore Diet is extremely restrictive and isn't for everybody - especially for those new to Keto Diet!

That being said, it never hurts to learn more about the advanced version of a Keto Diet. Here's everything you'll need to know about the Carnivore Diet to see if it is for you!

What Is the Carnivore Diet?

Much like the name suggests, the Carnivore Diet consists of meats - just meats. Additions such as fruits and vegetables are strictly prohibited. You can forget about sugary treats or even some condiments. If you're going on the Carnivore Diet, there are zero carbs allowed.

So, what can you eat?

When on this diet, you're allowed to eat foods such as:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Dairy products
  • Fatty meat products like lard

But, whatever meat products you're eating need to be fat-heavy, lean meat isn't prohibited, but it's not encouraged either.

What Are the Benefits of a Carnivore Diet?

Eating a diet with no vegetables or fruits can't be healthy, can it? Well, the Carnivore Diet shows that it's actually possible for an all-meat diet to have some benefits!

Mental Clarity

If you've been snooping through the Carnivore Diet community forums, then you'll hear a lot about how people experience mental clarity. It is said that there's a greater degree of thought.

A possible reason could be the link between high protein diets and brain function. A study conducted in 2011 showed that a high-protein diet improved cognitive functioning and reaction time!

Increased Energy

High carb diets or meals tend to leave you sleepy. If you've ever wondered why the urge to nap comes about right in the afternoon, you can blame it on an amino acid called tryptophan that releases serotonin in your body.

Carbohydrates are great at absorbing the acid into your system, making you sleepier than you'd expect after a full meal.

On the other hand, a zero-carb diet like the Carnivore Diet isn't going to leave you sleepy and tired!

Relief From Skin Problems

While it hasn't been proven, many people stick to their claims that the Carnivore Diet helps with skin conditions. Problems such as acne, allergies, eczema, and more apparently clear up due to the diet.

Rapid Weight Loss

By far, the most talked-about benefit of the Carnivore Diet is weight loss. Much like Keto Diet, those getting on Carnivore Diet are looking to lose weight the healthy way. Cutting out carbs tends to get the job done very well.

But, it's not all about cutting out carbs. High fat and protein diets tend to make you feel full faster. When you are full and therefore not munching on anything in-between meals, you're bound to lose weight.

Simple and Easy

Unlike Keto Diet, paleo, or any other fad diet, the Carnivore Diet is incredibly easy to follow. There's no doubt what you are allowed to eat and finding such food isn't a hardship. Cooking the food may take some practice, but it's easier than you think!

Muscle Growth

Due to the amount of protein being consumed, you're going to see an increase in muscle growth. Of course, muscle growth comes with the high protein and fat diet being complemented by vigorous exercise.

What Are the Downsides of a Carnivore Diet?

Like any diet, the Carnivore Diet, too, has downsides. There's no doubt that some health issues can crop up, considering the meat content of the diet.

Potential Nutrient Deficiency

Eating only meat for a long period comes with nutrient deficiencies. But, there's not a lot of studies that have been done, so it's hard to say what nutrients will be in deficit.

There is a major drop in your Vitamin C levels, leading to issues down the road. You'll also not be consuming any or enough fiber because of the lack of vegetables and fruits.

Gut Microbe Damage

Staying on the Carnivore Diet for long is going to diminish all the good bacteria in your gut slowly. While eliminating all the inflammatory foods from your diet initially has great results, it slowly leads to a lack of microbes. Bouncing back from that depletion is a long and painful process.

Excess Sodium and Saturated Fats

The lack of any vegetables or fruits can lead to an increased intake of sodium. When you consume too much sodium, you can land up with headaches or kidney disease.

You'll also be eating a lot of saturated fats. While they aren't quite as harmful as some studies showed them to be, excessive consumption has led to higher chances of a stroke!

Socially Difficult

Since you can't eat out anywhere, have anybody cook for you, or eat the same meals as a family, you'll find yourself a bit apart from the group. Not to mention, the diet is pretty expensive to maintain, and you may feel a bit alienated in social settings.

Strong Cravings

Everybody has the urge to eat a donut or something different once in a while. These cravings get stronger when on a restrictive diet like the Carnivore Diet.

Eating only meat for a long time gets incredibly dull, so you will have to combat the desire to eat an apple once in a while.

Might Be Too Much

Since it is so restrictive, it might be too much for beginners. Entirely cutting out carbs is a huge shift in lifestyle and can set you up for failure. Instead, it's best to start somewhere easy, like Keto Diet!

What Is the Keto Diet?

The Keto Diet is a little more complicated than the Carnivore Diet. In fact, the Carnivore Diet can be considered a more extreme form of the ketogenic diet.

Keto Diet involves drastically reducing the number of carbs you consume and replacing them with fats. In doing so, your body enters a state of Ketosis, where your body uses fat instead of carbs for fuel. So, you're literally burning fat!

It's meant to promote weight loss and is said to have multiple health benefits. From improved heart health to relations with Alzeihemers, Keto Diet has many benefits.

For Whom Is the Keto Diet Most Suitable?

While anybody can take up the Keto Diet, it has certain benefits that appeal to some people.

Those Aiming for Weight Loss

If you're looking to lose weight, then Keto Diet is a great option. The drastic reduction of carbs and the state of Ketosis your body enters are said to help you reduce weight rapidly.

Since the diet helps your body burn greater amounts of fat, you'll see a rapid decrease in weight. However, when you get off the Keto Diet, there's a chance the weight will come back.


Some studies have shown that Keto Diet can help avoid type 2 diabetes. So, any excess fat that the Keto Diet helps burn away is a step away from type 2 diabetes.

Apart from prevention, the diet is supposed to improve insulin sensitivity by almost 75%! For those with diabetes, this is an incredible improvement!

Neurological Disease Patients

Keto Diet started as a way to help those with neurological conditions such as epilepsy. The science behind it has to do with Keto Dietgenesis and gluconeogenesis.

Keto Dietgenesis involves the use of ketones produced by the liver to boost brain function. Gluconeogenesis literally means the production of new glucose.

So, even with the low carb content on Keto Diet, the liver is constantly producing new glucose that helps the brain function.

What Are the Downsides of a Keto Diet?

Much like the Carnivore Diet, Keto Diet comes with its share of side effects and downsides. When it comes to side effects, you can expect to see issues such as:

  • Poor Energy and Mental Function
  • Increased Hunger
  • Sleep Issues
  • Nausea
  • Decreased Exercise Performance
  • Digestive Discomfort

However, these side effects come along with the Keto Diet flu. They tend to go away with time slowly.

It's the downsides that don't go away. Here is a list of possible downsides!

  • Low protein in your blood
  • Extra fat in your liver
  • Kidney stones
  • Nutrient deficiencies

Difference Between Keto Diet and Carnivore Diet

It's easy to differentiate with a fair understanding of both Keto Diet and Carnivore Diets.

  • Carbs: Keto Diet allows a maximum of 20 g of carbs a day. On the Carnivore Diet, you get none.
  • Protein: With Keto Diet, you get a moderate amount of protein and compensate with fats. On the Carnivore Diet, you get a lot of protein with just the right amount of fat.
  • Greens: Broccoli, asparagus, and avocados are encouraged in a Keto Diet. They're strictly forbidden when doing the Carnivore Diet.
  • Restrictiveness: Carnivore Diet doesn't allow any dessert indulgences. At least with Keto Diet, you get fat bombs and snacks.
  • Ketosis: Carnivore Diet doesn't focus on Ketosis, unlike the Keto Diet
  • Macros and Calories: People on the Carnivore Diet aren't as concerned with macros and calorie counting.

Similarities Between Keto Diet and Carnivore Diet

The similarities between the Keto Diet and Carnivore Diets are few but significant.

  • Weight Loss: Both Keto Diet and Carnivore Diet are geared towards weight loss.
  • Low Carbs: On both diets, carbs are your enemy.
  • High Fat: Both diets require you to consume large amounts of fat.
  • Side Effects: On both diets, you get side effects such as fatigue.

Which One Is Better for You?

If you're new to the fad diets that have taken the world by storm, then you're better off starting with Keto Diet. It is for several reasons, the most important being that it is easier.

Keto Diet isn't as restrictive with diet, and many restaurants have even started catering to it. There are special Keto Diet menus that let you eat outside and socialize. It is also a lot easier to reduce your carb intake rather than cut it out completely.

Apart from the ease of the Keto Diet compared to the Carnivore Diet, it will also be easier on your body. Diets like these take time to get used to, and if you're not a big meat eater and switch to such drastic consumptions of meat - you're going to see issues.

Regardless of which diet you choose to start, it's best to talk to your doctor or medical provider once. Many of these diets, including the Keto Diet, may interact negatively with certain medical conditions.

Talking to your doctor about the possible side effects and health risks eliminates most chances of a major health crisis.

Wrapping Up

Both Keto Diet and Carnivore Diet are geared towards weight loss. If you're looking to try these diets because you want to lose some extra fat, then you're on the right path.

However, the lack of carbs in the Carnivore Diet can be too much for a beginner.

Keto Diet is the way to go if you're looking to lose that extra weight without making a lifestyle change that's too drastic.  It lets you eat some carbs and doesn't entirely cut vegetables from your diet.

So, you can still be vegetarian and not have to dive straight into the meat!


Is the Carnivore Diet a Keto Diet?

Technically, the Carnivore Diet is a Keto Diet. It's just a more advanced version of the Keto Diet. You'll also find that it's more restrictive and intense.

Carnivore Diets are a lot more meat and fish-focused. You'll find no vegetables or fruits in a Carnivore Diet plan.

How Long Does It Take to Get Into Ketosis on a Carnivore Diet?

Depending on the person, physical activity level, metabolism, and other factors, it can take anywhere between 2 days to a few weeks to enter Ketosis.

As long as you're consuming less than 50g of carbs a day (on the Carnivore Diet, you're eating none), you will enter Ketosis quickly.

Is a Carnivore Diet Good for Weight Loss?

There's a reason why "How to lose weight on the Carnivore Diet" is such a popular Google search. The Carnivore Diet is extremely good at helping you lose weight. Since there are no carbs, more energy, and no snacking - you're bound to lose fat faster.

What are the side effects of the Carnivore Diet?

In the short term, you might experience side effects such as:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Fluid Imbalances
  • Vomiting

Can You Survive on an All-Meat Diet?

It is possible to survive and thrive on an all meat or Carnivore Diet. While it may be uncomfortable and boring at first, it definitely is possible to live. You might need a few supplements to avoid any deficiencies in the long run!

How Long Does the Carnivore Diet Flu Last?

Generally, the Carnivore Diet flu lasts about 2-4 weeks. It comes with a few side effects and a lot of fatigue. However, if the flu symptoms last longer than four weeks, then quit the diet - it's not for you. It is very similar to the keto flu.

About the author

The Authentic Keto Team is here to bring you health tips that help you with losing weight fast. We focus on a clean keto diet for beginners because we believe that is the easiest and most simple way to healthy eating. Our keto weight loss tips will not only bring you into ketosis fast but will also help you to improve your mental health, sleep problems, and wellness.

- Our goal is to make keto success easy. -

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