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Keto vs. Carnivore Diet: Which Should You Choose?

Keto vs. Carnivore Diet: Which Should You Choose?

Apr 13, 2024

Keto vs. Carnivore Diet: Which Should You Choose?

The ketogenic (keto) diet and the carnivore diet are two popular dietary approaches that have gained attention for their potential health benefits, particularly in weight loss and health optimization. Both diets share commonalities but also possess distinct differences that can impact an individual's choice depending on their health goals and personal circumstances.

Carbohydrate Intake

Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is characterized by a significant reduction in carbohydrate consumption, typically to less than 50 grams per day for most individuals. This reduction forces the body to enter a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for energy instead of glucose. The exact carbohydrate limit can vary; some people may require an intake as low as 20 grams per day to achieve ketosis, while others can maintain it with a slightly higher intake.

Carnivore Diet

The carnivore diet can be viewed as an extreme form of the ketogenic diet where carbohydrate intake is minimized to nearly zero. This diet consists almost exclusively of animal products, eliminating virtually all plant foods and, consequently, dietary carbohydrates. As such, it guarantees a state of ketosis for those who follow it strictly.

Inflammation and Diet

Inflammatory Response

Chronic inflammation can be exacerbated by certain foods, and individual responses to dietary components like lectins, phytates, and oxalates can vary. These compounds are found in plant foods, including vegetables and nuts, and can cause inflammation in sensitive individuals.

Keto Diet Considerations

Those who follow a keto diet but are sensitive to these compounds may still experience inflammatory symptoms despite reducing their carbohydrate intake. In such cases, the choice of plant-based foods included in the keto diet becomes critical.

Carnivore Diet Implications

The carnivore diet inherently eliminates the risk of inflammation from plant-based compounds due to its animal-product-only food selection. This makes it potentially more suitable for individuals suffering from chronic inflammation, especially if it is linked to the consumption of plant foods.

Autoimmune Conditions

Impact on Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune conditions can be affected by diet, with many individuals experiencing flare-ups in response to certain foods. The keto diet can lead to improvements in autoimmune symptoms compared to a standard Western diet. However, for some, only the elimination of all plant foods, as seen in the carnivore diet, provides significant relief from autoimmune reactions.

Carnivore Diet as a Potential Solution

For those with autoimmune conditions, the carnivore diet may offer a more effective approach to managing symptoms. The absence of plant-based foods may help in reducing autoimmune flare-ups and improving overall well-being.

Food Quality and Diet Definition

Real Food Keto Approach

A genuine ketogenic diet is best defined as one consisting of one-ingredient, whole foods. This contrasts with the commercialized version of the keto diet, which includes a plethora of processed "keto-friendly" products like bars, shakes, and baked goods. These products can be misleading and may not support health optimization goals.

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Carnivore Diet Simplicity

The carnivore diet, by its nature, aligns with the one-ingredient food philosophy, as it consists solely of animal products without the need for processed or artificial keto products.


The decision between adopting a keto or carnivore diet is highly individualized. It depends on factors such as one's age, metabolic health, degree of overweight, presence of autoimmune conditions, and the extent of chronic inflammation. Adhering strictly to real, whole foods is crucial for assessing the true effectiveness of a ketogenic diet. If persistent issues remain, such as inflammation or autoimmune symptoms, a trial of the carnivore diet may be warranted.

Ultimately, the choice between a keto and carnivore diet should be based on personal health responses and goals, with an emphasis on eliminating processed foods and focusing on whole, natural ingredients. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before making significant dietary changes, especially for individuals with existing health conditions.


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