When you think carnivore, you probably think meat, meat, and more meat, but there’s a little more to the carnivore diet than just meat. Keto carnivore is one of the different versions of the ketogenic diet. People go keto carnivore for several reasons, from digestive issues to weight loss and fitness goals. Let’s explore the keto carnivore diet.
What is Keto Carnivore?
The carnivore diet involves meat and animal products and excludes all other food sources, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and legumes. The carnivore diet takes the ketogenic diet a step further and pretty much lowers the carb count down to zero!
If you’re following the keto carnivore diet you consume only:
- Certain dairy products (in small amounts)
Benefits of the Keto Carnivore Diet
Studies show that in general, a high-protein, low-carb diet can promote weight loss. Protein helps you feel fuller after meals, which is associated with weight loss. Protein can also increase your metabolic rate and help you burn more calories [1,2,3,4,5].
Proponents of the carnivore diet also recommend limiting or avoiding dairy intake and choosing only dairy products low in lactose — the sugar found in milk and dairy.
You eliminate all plant foods and focus on chicken, pork, beef, turkey, organ meats, salmon, fish and seafood, sardines, and small amounts of hard cheese and heavy cream. You can also consume lard, butter, bone marrow, and other animal fats.
Go for fattier cuts of meat to make sure you reach your daily energy needs and stay satiated. You might also choose to add no-carb seasonings and spices. You can drink water and bone broth, but beverages like coffee, tea, and other plant-derived drinks are discouraged.
The keto carnivore diet doesn’t factor in your calorie intake or serving sizes, and most proponents suggest eating as often as you desire.
What Is It Like To Eat Keto Carnivore?
Here’s a sample day menu on keto carnivore:
- Breakfast: Eggs, bacon, and sardines
- Lunch: Salmon jerky, turkey burger patty, and beef tips
- Dinner: Chicken liver, crab, and filet mignon
As a snack, chow down on some jerky or maybe a little cheese. Try to add in some organ meats to increase micronutrient density as well!
What are the Pros and Cons of the Keto Carnivore Diet?
Humans are omnivores and can consume foods of both plant and animal origins. Like the vegan diet, the carnivore diet shifts the focus to one end of the omnivore spectrum: animal products.
Keto carnivore is often used for weight loss, blood sugar regulation, mood issues, arthritis, and other health problems. The keto carnivore diet is restrictive, and health experts are divided into the benefits and downsides of this way of eating. Most people use it as a short-term solution, but others manage their condition long-term by eating only animal products. More research, specifically on the keto carnivore diet, is needed.
Keto carnivore eliminates unhealthy, heavily refined carbs like cookies, candy, sodas, and cakes that are usually high in calories and low in beneficial nutrients. A higher intake of sugary foods can be problematic and lead to a flurry of health issues, especially for diabetes .
Saturated fat has been exonerated in the literature, and the keto carnivore involves delicious meat and fish like mackerel that provide healthy saturated fats. For more info on the history and science behind the demonization of saturated fat, check out the Fat Fiction documentary! 
Many people swear by keto carnivore for improving the symptoms of arthritis, digestive issues, autoimmune diseases, and other conditions. For those with difficulty digesting carbohydrates in all forms, a more radical approach can be pivotal.
Cons of Keto Carnivore Dieting
The carnivore diet eliminates nutritious foods like veggies and fruit, giving some health experts a cause for concern. Following a carnivore diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies, so many proponents of the diet advocate a nose-to-tail approach where you consume organ meats, bone marrow, and other animal parts for optimal nutrition.
Other health professionals point to the lack of fiber and beneficial phytonutrients and plant compounds. Fiber is only found in plant foods and feeds healthy bacteria in the digestive system. Keto carnivore doesn’t contain any fiber, which may lead to constipation for some people [8,9,10].
Keto carnivore isn’t suitable for everyone; for example, it isn’t a good choice for those with chronic kidney disease who need to limit their protein intake .
Have You Tried the Keto Carnivore Diet?
What are your thoughts on the keto carnivore diet? What are your favorite recipes on keto carnivore?
1) Soenen, S., Bonomi, A. G., Lemmens, S. G. T., Thijssen, M. A. M. A., Berkum, F. V., Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S. (2012). Relatively high-protein or ‘low-carb’ energy-restricted diets for body weight loss and body weight maintenance? Physiology & Behavior, 107(3), 374-380. DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2012.08.004
2) Larsen, T. M., Dalskov, S-M., Baak, M. V., Jebb, S. A., Papadaki, A., Pfeiffer, A. F. H., Martinez, J. A., Handjieva-Darlenska, T., Kunesova, M., Pihlsgard, M., Stender, S., Holst, C., Saris, W. H. M., Astrup, A., Diet, Obesity, and Genes (Diogenes) Project. (2010). Diets with high or low protein content and glycemic index for weight-loss maintenance. New England Journal of Medicine, 363(22), 2102-2113. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1007137
3) Bazzano, L. A., Hu, T., Reynolds, K., Yao, L., Bunol, C., Liu, Y., Chen, C-S., Klag, M. J., Whelton, P. K., & He, J. (2014). Effects of low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets: A randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 161(5), 309-318. DOI: 10.7326/M14-0180
4) Paddon-Jones, D., Westman, E., Mattes, R. D., Wolfe, R. R., Astrup, A., & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. (2008). Protein, weight management, and satiety. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87(5), 1558S-1561S. DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/87.5.1558S
5) Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S., Lemmens, S. G., & Westerterp, K. R. (2012). Dietary protein: It’s role in satiety, energetics, weight loss, and health. British Journal of Nutrition, DOI: 10.1017/S0007114512002589
6) Ley, S. H., Hamdy, O., Mohan, V., & Hu, F. B. (2014). Prevention and management of type 2 diabetes: Dietary components and nutritional strategies. Lancet, DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60613-9
7) Chowdhury, R., Warnakula, S., Kunutsor, S., Crowe, F., Ward, H. A., Johnson, L., Franco, O. H., Butterworth, A. S., Forouhi, N. G., Thompson, S. G., Khaw, K-T., Mozaffarian, D., Danesh, J., & Di Angelantonio, E. (2014). Association of dietary, circulating, and supplement fatty acids with coronary risk: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 160(6), 398-406. DOI: 10.7326/M13-1788
8) Liu, R. H. (2013). Health-promoting components of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Advances in Nutrition, 4(3), 384S-392S. DOI: 10.3945/an.112.003517
9) Anderson, J. W., Baird, P., Davis Jr, R. H., Ferreri, S., Knudtson, M., Koraym, A., Waters, V., & Williams, C. L. (2009). Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutrition Reviews, 67(4), 188-205. DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00189.x
10) Erdogan, A., Rao, S. S. C., Thiruvaiyaru, D., Lee, Y. Y., Adame, E. C., Valestin, J., & O’Banion, M. (2016). Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 44(1), 35-44. DOI: 10.1111/apt.13647
11) Ko, G. J., Obi, Y., Tortorici, A. R., & Kalantar-Zadeh, K. (2017). Dietary protein intake and chronic kidney disease. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 20(1), 77-85. DOI: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000342
Steph Green is a writer, researcher, and singer/songwriter with a passion for all things wellness. In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.