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Fact checked by Kurt Yazici

Relentlessly researching and understanding the connection between nutrition and peak human optimization.

Keto vs Carnivore – Which Diet Wins?

Why Carnivore Diet is better than Keto? There’s quite a few reasons, in my opinion, why the diet is actually better. So if you’re familiar, we’re going to dive further with the differences between a Carnivore Diet and a Ketogenic Diet and really break them down. But on this section, I wanted to jump right into the meat of what you’re looking for.


Why is the Carnivore Diet better than Keto?

For one, they’re both actually ketogenic diets. So when you think about Carnivore and Ketogenic Diet, the Carnivore Diet is Keto because 70% plus of the actual macro, meaning the fat, protein and carbohydrate, 70% of the diet is fat. It’s really focused on actually getting you that fat. And both of these diets are very effective because you’re using fat as the primary source. It’s more metabolically efficient from what we understand, and it’s also less metabolically damaging. It lessens the oxidative stress on the body when you’re operating on fat ketones, which is what both these guys are doing. But the Carnivore Diet is really superior to the Ketogenic Diet because it eliminates a lot of products and potential triggers for a lot of people. When you shift, one of the biggest components of this is you’re getting rid of the fat that is messing your gut up when you were on a Ketogenic Diet.


A lot of that was popularized by Tim Ferriss and Dave Asprey and I have a lot respect for both those individuals, but the Ketogenic Diet itself has become this commercialized sort of diet where there are a million companies out there that sell products and make different things. When you’re on a Keto Diet, there are so many things you can eat that you cannot have on a Carnivore Diet for very good reason and that’s what make it a superior diet.

Superior itself is kind of a relative term.

When you say one is better than the other, are you saying it’s better because you get to eat tasty treats and you get to have more freedom? Well, in that sense the Ketogenic diet is obviously better, but if we’re talking about optimized vitality, mental performance, energy levels and just overall health, then it’s absolutely without question – the carnivore diet is going to be superior. When the Ketogenic diet came into the mainstream about five, six years ago, it was really popularized and ever since then companies have been jumping on to make products that people can buy to eat that are ketogenic. It’s a good thing, but it’s also a bad thing. A lot of these products come with sugar alcohols like Erythritol, they also come with fiber added into them like Chicory Root, MCT oils and a lot of these things which for myself personally, are super triggering. They affect your gut, they don’t feel well and they can build up in your system. I remember being back in London on a travel trip with my girlfriend at the time and I was eating Quest Bars and it was my go to snack. I got so sick from eating it because of the sugar alcohols they put in their ingredients to add the sweetness without bumping up the carbohydrate content. I was like in one of the sickest place I’ve ever been in a long, long time, and I loved the bars, they were delicious, but they were obviously like the macros were great, but they just weren’t working well for me.


For a lot of other people, that’s fine. You can eat those Bulletproof bars, you can consume that MCT oil or add that brain octane, but I think for a huge percentage of the population, you’re going to find that your gut is going to get triggered by these things and you need to watch out for that. So Carnivore diet is more restrictive because you can only eat animal foods. You have to get rid of these processed things so you’re not consuming these sugar alcohols and the MCTs. You’re just eating raw fat, egg yolks, animal protein and animal foods.


Source: Dave Asprey Bullet Proof Bars


It’s fantastic because of elimination, again, a lot of these things can be triggering and maybe you’re only sensitive to the MCT oil, but you’re okay with the Erythritol. In that case, it’s fine to eat the sugar alcohol, but as soon as you add the MCT oil, you feel your gut just get wracked and it just puts you in a bad place and you won’t know that if you are taking both of these items in. So by eliminating them and then slowly reintroducing them, that’s the power of the Carnivore diet. It’s a total elimination diet. You can ensure that you’re eliminating all the main things that would happen and it’s benefiting you that way.


So let’s take a step back and define Ketogenic and Carnivore diet so we can finally come in full circle and we’ll recap on why these diets and why one is superior to the other.


Ketogenic diet, it’s a diet that was made popular back in the 1920s and 30s. It was used to treat people with epilepsy, they were having seizures and weren’t responding to the medication. What they found was that the ketone bodies were linked to inhibitory neurotransmitter function and by shifting body’s entire metabolism from running on glucose to ketones, which is what the ketogenic diet really is. People were able to really reduce the amount of seizures they experienced and eliminate them. It was a profound but very effective way of getting people to handle the epilepsy that they were experiencing. Fast forward, about five years ago, the Ketogenic diet became mainstream where people like Tim Ferriss and Dave Asprey were talking about it on Bulletproof.


In his book The 4-Hour Work Week and in his blog, we were talking about things like biohacking and how to get the most optimal cognitive performance that you possibly can. What we found out is that the people that go on a ketogenic diet have to cut the carbs essentially out of their diet and shift the majority of their calories to fat about 70 to 80% or even higher and their body now is using the liver to produce ketones. These ketone bodies are much more metabolically efficient. They’re not taxing your beta cell function in their pancreas to produce insulin. They’re not storing fat in their body the way it was when they’re still eating glucose because they’re not necessarily needed to. Overall it’s just allowing people who have weight to lose get much more efficient and for for me it’s very much more metabolically efficient. So in terms of cognitive function, you won’t have as much of depleted energy levels. You’re mentally clear and your body can operate at the most optimal level.

When I was on the Ketogenic diet, I ate a lot of Bacon, Guacamole, I had MCT brain octane oil from Bulletproof. I was eating other MCT oils, butter, cheese and things like that. And these were certainly bumping up my fat macros, but at the same time I didn’t realize how badly they were affecting my gut in my overall like it’s having inflammation. I was getting heavy dose of dairy because of the cheeses. I was eating almonds, and the nuts for me were a bit triggering and high in Omega 6 and frankly I don’t think human beings are meant to eat nuts in very high quantities given how difficult it is to actually find them and process them at high volume. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. The other thing is the Avocados and Bacon which I think are probably triggering some histamine.

And then the FODMAP food of Avocados, the fiber content was probably contributing to maybe some small intestinal bacteria overgrowth. It was uncomfortable, it was very much painful. I experienced indigestion and dysbiosis in my body and it triggered some anxiety. On top of that I was putting coffee in my system, which was adding caffeine and some acidity to the gut and probably some things that I didn’t want in my system from the mold toxins of the coffee as well. Long story short, I found it’s benefits – I was able to maintain a physique and be very trim, but I had skin problems and did have the gut issues that I wanted handled.