Are you sick of feeling miserable?
It might be time to consider a keto carnivore diet. We will discuss in-depth the heated keto vs carnivore debacle.
The carnivore diet is no new phenomenon. Large communities of humans have been surviving off nothing but animal products for 100,000+ years. This article shows how the inuit survive on solely fish, seal, walrus and whale meat. The Masai warriors of East Africa also survived on primarily meat and milk. Along with many other cultures and communities – the carnivore diet has been a staple.
The carnivore diet is where you strictly eat animal products. No vegetables, plants, fruits, grains or carbs – nothing but meat (and sometimes eggs). It became popularised by the likes of Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan, who suggest there are multiple benefits such as aiding autoimmune disease, appetite suppression and mental clarity. On a surface level these claims appear to be very similar to the keto diet.
Is the Carnivore Diet Healthy?
Yes and no. There is a real argument that the carnivore diet is a perfectly natural and healthy way of eating. Some suggest that this is how our ancestors ate thousands of years ago and thus we are better suited to it. While others suggest we have always scourged for fruits and vegetables. Many also report tonnes of benefits, such as reduced inflammation and increased energy.
The carnivore diet is essentially an elimination diet, meaning you will get rid of a bunch of food that reek havoc on the human body; such as processed sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other refined foods. In my opinion this is where the bulk of the benefits come from, you’re eliminating huge portions of poisons that you’ve previously been consuming on a traditional diet.
The main argument against the carnivore diet is that fruits and vegetables are necessary for sustenance. Here’s the thing, there is no food on planet earth more nutritious than meat. It’s important to eat a wide variety of animal products to reap the benefits, this will include eating organ meats such as liver. Where you purchase your meat from, will also matter, organic and grass fed will deliver higher nutritional value and contain less toxins. Also, varying your source of meats such as chicken, fish and beef. Eating only one cut of a meat (for example steak) will likely lead to a nutritional deficiency.
Ultimately, I would say carnivore is unhealthy if you eat excess fast-food meats fried in GMO oils and you don’t consume organ meats. But with the right approach, the carnivore diet can be healthy.
What About Vegetables?
Vegetables aren’t actually a requirement of the human body, despite popular belief. For anyone to claim that fruits and vegetables are “essential” for sustenance would be a little bit absurd, due to the amount of animals that can survive off solely meat. Many mammals essentially eat a carnivore strict diet; such as whales, polar bears, wolves and lions. Meat contains all the essential micro-nutrients required by the human body – if eaten from a varied source.
Vitamin Requirements on Keto vs Carnivore
In fact, there is a higher chance of having a nutritional deficiency being a vegan then there is being a carnivore. For the simple fact that there are nutrients found in animal products that you can’t get from ANY other source; such as vitamin B12 and DHA.
Some people claim that fibre from vegetables is necessary, while others say the body adapts without fibre, and only requires fibre to aid in carb absorption. This will be up to you to experiment with, as the evidence is not yet conclusive.
There is also the argument that diets such as keto and carnivore actually reduce the need for the recommended intake of certain vitamins, largely due to the diet’s ability to improve gut microbiome health (excess carbs tend to deteriorate gut health). Also some vitamins are recommended to help break down fibrous carb sources, on carnivore these vitamins wont be required as much.
Nutrition in One Piece of Steak:
- Vitamin B12 – blood formation, brain & nervous system
- Zinc – Sperm & immune health
- Selenium – Antioxidant & heart health
- Iron – Immune system
- Niacin – Brain, skin & body function
- Vitamin B6 – Blood formation & energy
- Phosphorus – Bone health
Who is the Carnivore Diet for?
The most important thing to note in regards to the carnivore diet, is that there’s very little scientific literature on the effects of a carnivore diet on human health. Essentially you are relying on anecdotal evidence and your own personal experience with the diet.
Thats why I urge you to make a calculated decision for yourself. If you believe that your current diet is not optimally serving you or that the carnivore diet can potentially cure you of a mental or physical ailment; then give it a go and see how you feel.
Benefits of Keto and Carnivore
It’s tricky to analyse purely scientifically because a significant increase in testosterone and mood can make a massive positive impact on your future health in ways that can’t always be measured on paper.
The carnivore diet could also be for those seeking benefits that the keto diet may not deliver for them. Some of the benefits that people have reported on the carnivore diet include:
- Weight loss
- Reduction of headaches
- Increased energy and focus
- Improved, stable mood
- Improvement in autoimmune disorders
- Improved digestion
The Difference Keto vs Carnivore
There are many strikingly similar benefits between the keto diet and the carnivore diet. Such as improved brain function, gut health and energy levels.
When measuring ketone levels, many people have actually reported that the carnivore diet keeps them in ketosis, just like the keto diet does. This is potentially where the mental clarity and focus comes from. You are eating zero carbs on the carnivore diet, so your energy will be coming from only protein and fat.
The carnivore diet is essentially a stricter version of the keto diet. It’s a more extreme, minimalist approach. On Keto, the bulk of your diet is usually meat, with fat sources and some vegetables added. Whereas carnivore is just strict meat. If you prefer having more food variety and if you believe vegetables and fat sources such as avocado impose no negative symptoms, then keto will undoubtedly be the diet for you.
Keto vs Carnivore Summary
If you believe that the keto diet is lacking in some areas, then the carnivore diet may be for you. For example certain vegetables, nuts, cheese and dairy (even eggs) can cause problems for some people – these people are the ones that should seriously consider a carnivore diet.
Perhaps you could start with strict carnivore and slowly add in other foods to see if there is no adverse effect. I would recommend first trying the keto diet, but if your symptoms still persist, then move on to the carnivore diet to see if things improve.