Carnivore Diet vs. Keto: A Comparative Analysis to Determine the Better Approach


The carnivore diet vs keto is a hot topic of discussion right now because of the undeniable similarities between both diets. A low-carb carnivore diet is even said to be a form of keto, as it can also induce ketosis.

Keto promotes a higher consumption of fatty foods, whereas the Carnivore diet focuses on animal protein and fat. If you’re wondering which of these two diets is healthier or less restrictive, you’re exactly where you need to be.

Let’s discuss the difference between keto and carnivore diets and all related aspects to help you make an informed decision. At the end of the day, it’s all about your body’s needs, as well as your personal likes and dislikes. 

What is the Carnivore Diet?

Carnivores depend on meat, which entails that their diet is void of all plant-based foods. The Carnivore diet borrows inspiration from nature’s meat-eaters; hence, this controversial diet involves surviving on animal products only. 

Meat is the primary energy source, but you can also eat eggs and small amounts of low-lactose dairy products that contribute to carbs on the carnivore diet

The Carnivore diet is known to promote weight loss, reduce internal inflammation, and stabilize energy levels. Concerns over both diets often highlight nutrient deficiencies and unsustainability.

What is the Keto Diet?                                     

Keto is an exclusive dietary approach that entirely changes how our body utilizes fuel (food) to make energy. It takes the low-carb approach to an extreme level, shifting our body’s metabolism into the state called “ketosis”.

When our body enters ketosis, it burns fat instead of breaking down carbohydrates to produce energy. Since our body needs time to adjust to ketosis, it is normal to feel down and drained in the beginning.

Unlike the low-carb carnivore diet, keto does not stop you from eating plant-based food as long as it contains little to no carbohydrates and sugars.

Carnivore Diet vs. Keto: How Are They the Same?

When comparing the two diets, you’ll notice that these two have a lot more in common than just the weight loss factor. We present four prominent principles of these diets that overlap.

Both Limit Carbohydrates

Carnivores don’t eat carbs, and keto also requires us to limit carb intake to 20-50 grams daily, which is quite low. Both diets are dominated by fats, though the carnivore diet includes a slightly higher proportion of protein.

Both Induce Ketosis

You already know that following the ketogenic diet triggers ketosis in the body, which promotes the burning of fats.

The Carnivore diet is not specifically designed to induce ketosis, but it is expected in the low-carb carnivore diet.

Both Discourage Processed Foods

Keto and Carnivore Diet discourage the consumption of highly processed, sugary, and starchy foods. These foods are carb-rich, calorie-dense, and low in nutritional value, so they don’t align with the principles of either diet. 

Both Provide Additional Health Benefits

Both the carnivore diet and keto diet pack a punch of health benefits. The Carnivore Diet is known to boost testosterone and enhance mental clarity, whereas Keto improves cholesterol, aids epilepsy management, and inhibits neurological disorders. 

Additionally, both diets share the merit of reducing inflammation and enhancing insulin sensitivity.

Keto vs. Carnivore Diet: How Are They Different?

Now that we know the carnivore diet vs keto similarities, it’s time to assess their differences. You would be surprised to find how they can be like chalk and cheese in some aspects.

The Foods You Can Eat

Despite imposing a carb deficit, keto offers a wide variety of foods, including low-carb vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, low-carb dairy, and all sorts of animal meats.

In comparison, the Carnivore diet is exceptionally restrictive, as it only allows unprocessed animal-based items.

You can have poultry, fish, eggs, animal fat, and various kinds of meat, but all plant-based foods are ruled out. 

The Macronutrient Ratios

On average, the food consumed by a person in a day contains about 50% calories from carbohydrates, 25% from proteins, and 25% from fats. However, the carnivore diet and keto tend to put more focus on fats.

On keto, the feasible macronutrient ratio is around 70-80% fat, 15-25% protein, and a mere 5-10% carbs. 

Meanwhile, the carnivore Diet takes a slightly conflicting route by endorsing 50-75% fat, 20-35% protein, and a carb count that can be as low as zero! 

Fiber Intake 

Fiber is the unsung hero of a healthy diet, given that it facilitates digestion and supports gut health. Unfortunately, the carbohydrate deficit in both the carnivore and keto diet poses trouble for your belly.

Since you would not eat plant-based food and carbs in the carnivore diet, the corresponding lack of fiber may lead to digestive issues, such as constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Diverticulosis.

Under severe circumstances, fiber shortage due to little or no carbs on the carnivore diet can increase the risk of developing heart disease or bowel cancer.

Conversely, Keto trims carbs but welcomes fiber-rich nuts and veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, and kale—your allies in digestive well-being.

Purpose and Sustainability

Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet that aims to achieve and maintain ketosis for benefits like weight loss and improved metabolic health. It is considered to be sustainable in the long run due to its range of reasonable food choices.

In contrast, the carnivore diet is exceedingly restrictive, which makes it challenging or unbefitting to adopt for the long term. It limits your diet to unprocessed animal-based foods with the goal of simplifying digestion.

Potential Side Effects

Despite a few shared health benefits, the difference between keto and carnivore can be highlighted by their possible side effects.

The overly restrictive carnivore diet may lead to nutrient deficiencies over time. Lack of fiber, vitamins, and minerals from plant-based foods is a huge concern; digestive discomfort and constipation are likely outcomes.

The diet’s emphasis on animal fats may lead to a higher intake of saturated fats, which deteriorate heart health. Similarly, an excess of animal protein can cause problems for your liver and kidneys.

When the body enters ketosis after shifting to the keto diet, you are likely to suffer from “keto flu” in the initial stage. This flu triggers symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and irritability, which subside after the body gets used to ketosis.

The high-fat content of the Keto Diet may upset your stomach and bowel routine, thereby causing diarrhea or constipation. Many individuals experience increased LDL cholesterol levels and weight gain, which is dangerous for the heart.

Moreover, the Keto diet’s diuretic effect may lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, resulting in symptoms like muscle cramps, weakness, and heart palpitations.

Keto vs. Carnivore Diet: Which Diet is Better for You?

In your pursuit of the perfect diet, remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It is crucial to understand what you want and what suits you best.

Regarding the keto Diet vs carnivore diet, each has its own unique advantages and drawbacks. However, whose pros stand out and whose cons seem insignificant depends upon your lifestyle, aspirations, and inclinations.

If you’re someone striving for muscle gains and fat loss, the high-protein Carnivore Diet might be your golden ticket. This diet can be a lifeline for those struggling to build muscle due to age and related factors.

If you are someone who cannot imagine life without the consumption of fresh produce every single day, Keto’s allowance for low-carb veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds makes it a winner.

Whatever path you choose, know that switching to a low or no-carb diet is a major change. Consider consulting a healthcare professional to ensure that the new diet is safe and beneficial for you.

If the ketogenic lifestyle is your daydream, our beginner’s guide for keto has everything you need to succeed on this journey.