Often people may find themselves stepping across to take a stab at carnivore mode, having done their time in the keto district. That’s exactly what I’ve ended up doing, and it hasn’t been a special case. These two styles share a huge list of similarities, with a few notable differences. The biggest among them, and the most obvious, is the question of plants as a healthy source of nutrition.
Are Plants Part Of A Nutritional Diet?
In the keto frame of mind, they should be moderated, and the refined, processed versions should be dropped altogether. But the body still needs its fiber, and the plates can still use some colour. So you’re allowed to work in a few greens, tomatoes, berries, as long as you’re keeping a close eye on the portions.
Carnivore goes all-in and cuts ties with all plant foods. Now the assumption becomes that the body has no need for fiber, and will even be better off without them scratching their way down the stomach lining. The menu gets narrowed further, and you’re left with meat, eggs, and only as much dairy as you can tolerate.
Keto Or Carnivore? You Don’t Have To Choose
Before we pit one against the other, there’s a caveat that needs to be added. These are actually very similar diets that both do a great job lowering rampant portions and stemming the insulin tide. So you don’t have to pick a side.
But there’s always going to be people who have to really step out and find their optimal diet. This need could be driven by a sensitive stomach, resilient love handles, or just a desire to get the absolute best out of their genetics.
For such people, it’s worth weighing the pros and cons of taking on the extra restrictions of carnivore. Going keto already comes with major benefits across the fat loss spectrum. So are there enough reasons to take things a step further?
The Upsides Of The Carnivore Diet
Nutrition – As long as you occasionally dip into the interesting experiences of organ meat, you’re hitting every requirement across the RDA chart. And that’s without considering the fact that plants come with anti-nutrients, compounds that prevent you from absorbing vitamins and minerals.
Digestion – All the food you eat is top-of-the-line in bioavailability. The nutrition in the meat is invariably all ending up as building blocks in your body. Whereas in plants, there’s a lot wasted.
Bowel Movement – Despite the fact that you’re pooping less, that doesn’t mean you’re dealing with constipation. Things work perfectly fine after an interesting opening week.
Gut Health – This is going to be controversial for many, but fiber isn’t the microbiome saviour it’s propped up to be. In fact, they often end up tearing at the stomach lining. At the very least, you can expect considerably less bloating, if none at all.
Skin – The carnivore diet, by focusing on meat sources, will provide an abundance on nutrients that favour healthy skin. Vitamin A, E, DHA, and zinc being examples. And once again, by eliminating plants, you’re clamping down on immune reactions that often show up on the surface.
Fat Loss – Burning off belly fat is much more than calories in vs calories out. It’s the sum of many interplaying factors, inflammation being a big one. Without plants coming in and inducing all kinds of inflammatory cascades in the body, the process of fat loss has a lot less checks and balances.
Simplicity – Despite the fact that I like to complicate the diet by exploring optimal nutrition, that doesn’t stop carnivore from being the easiest of all diets to grasp and follow. Meat, eggs, cheese, sprinkled with enough salt to taste. That’s the general overview, and for some, that’s all the instruction they need.
Energy – It’s the sum of two aforementioned benefits: lowered inflammation and better digestion. You’re getting clean-burning fuel, less bloating, and consistently hitting your nutritional requirements. There’s a good chance you’re going to feel like a million bucks.
The Downsides Of The Carnivore Diet
Portion Sizes – Your plates are going to be much smaller, now there’s no salad to beef it up. If you like to pull up an episode and crunch on something for a half-hour, you might have to start loading up on beef jerky.
Flavour – Meat is delicious, as long as you’re not shying away from the plump cuts. But there’s still only so much mileage you can get out of different salt brands.
Restriction – While keto does get you to drop out a metric ton of foods, carnivore whittles it down even further. This leaves you in a spot where you’re rotating around three recipes, and that’s just something you have to make peace with. This isn’t the diet for variety.
Adherence – For that reason a strict carnivore diet may be challenging to keep up over the long term. Being told you can’t have something, often just has the unfortunate result of you wanting it more.
Is Strength Increased On Carnivore?
This one feature, which we’d all like to get from a diet, is a little tricky to call. As a plus, there’s better protein absorption, creatine content, and other bits of nutrition that favour muscle-building. But then there’s the almost complete lack of carbs, which forces you to run on one fuel system. That’s why I like to add a few adjustments to improve this side of the carnivore diet, such as a dose of dextrose during workouts.
So Does Keto Or Carnivore Win The Battle?
That’s going to come down to you. There’s more difficulty in sticking by the carnivore diet over the long term, as it adds another level of restriction. But there’s no reason you can’t use carnivore as a short-term programme. You can find out what foods are suppressing your mood, burn some extra fat, then scale back up to a ketovore style approach.
If you had experienced bad reactions to carbs back in your pre-keto phase, and still see some of those symptoms, then you may well benefit from removing plants completely. Even trace amounts of inflammatory foods can cause negative reactions. As far as elimination diets go, there’s none better. If you’re purely after fat loss, then there’s no harm in spending a few months testing out a programme.
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