If you’ve been dabbling with the idea of eating only meat and meat products on the keto diet, read this guide. I myself have followed this eating method for quite a while now. Like anyone who’s new to it, I used to ask a lot of questions. I hope you will gain more clarity at the end of your reading.
What is the Keto Carnivore Diet?
The keto carnivore diet is a “sub-diet” of the ketogenic diet. With this version of keto, you get your nutrition from animal products. These include meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and dairy.
When it comes to your keto carnivore macros, here’s what you should know:
Some people count their macros while others rely on their satiety. With the latter, they stop eating when they feel full. And when they’re not hungry, they do intuitive fasting.
Here is my take on this based on personal experience and what I’ve learned from the experts. If your goal is to achieve and maintain nutritional ketosis for medical reasons, following the standard macros helps. This means that you eat more fat, keep protein at moderate amounts, and limit your carbs.
About carbohydrates, one major advantage is that animal foods have zero to very few carbs (about less than 1 gram per 4 ounce serving). If you’re not overeating protein, which can decrease ketones in excess amounts, you’ll reach ketosis fast.
What’s The Deal With Plant Foods?
Some keto carnivores or “ketovores” as they call themselves, eat small amounts of plant foods that are least toxic, irritating, and less likely to cause digestive upset. Examples of these least toxic plant foods include avocados, cucumbers, squash, and berries.
In case you’re wondering why keto carnivores avoid plants:
Plants possess chemical defense mechanisms to protect themselves from predators. Examples of these substances found in plants include oxalates, phytic acid, glycoalkaloids, and sulforaphane.
While these may not be immediately detrimental to your body, you will feel its impact through an upset stomach and bloating. I know some people are extremely sensitive to plant foods and find that avoiding them calms their digestive system.
With habitual consumption of these substances in plants, you experience thyroid dysfunction, fatigue, headaches, asthma, muscle cramps, and even difficulty losing weight due to inflammation.
People who are new to carnivore keto usually start off by slowly eliminating plants rather than going cold turkey. Others who are fully adapted to this way of eating no longer eat plants. They are enjoying their favorite meat or a variety of meats that make them feel their best.
More importantly, they continue to experience the benefits of a keto carnivore diet. We’ll discuss some of them below.
Keto Carnivore Diet Benefits
The keto carnivore diet provides the same benefits that a standard keto diet does.
But here’s the difference: The benefits are much more extreme. This is the result of eliminating plant foods that may be causing some issues in your body even while on keto.
If you try to dig around, you’ll discover lots of keto carnivore before and after transformation stories. One useful resource you can check is Meatrx.com. You’ll discover people who have resolved their GI problems, lost over a hundred pounds, gained muscle, and broken free from sugar addiction.
Let’s dive deeper into the benefits.
No more sweet cravings
A lot of people who follow a standard keto diet find that they still struggle with cravings. Sweet cravings, in particular.
To be honest, I’m a sweet tooth myself. When I did the keto carnivore diet, I no longer craved diet soda, keto bars, keto chocolates, and anything sweet like I used to. Sure, I still miss the sweet stuff during my periods but the cravings have gotten weaker over time.
I believe that being a strict carnivore changes your taste preferences. Instead of craving sweetness, you crave for savoriness which is characteristic of meat.
Break a weight loss plateau
It’s no secret that low-carbohydrates induce weight loss. That’s even more rapid when you go very low-carb like carnivore keto.
Meats have no carbohydrates, except for some organ meats. Eating them significantly reduces your insulin and leads to fat loss (1). The fat and protein in meat will increase your satiety. This lowers your overall food intake.
Restricting your carbs even further while getting nourishment from animal foods leads to better sleep. Sleep quality improves as a result of weight loss and zero digestive issues.
Increased mental clarity
The keto carnivore diet for mental health? I found this benefit hard to believe. You won’t appreciate the difference unless you try it.
Artificial sweeteners from processed “low-carb” foods caused my stomach to bloat. This made it hard for me to concentrate on a task. Animal products are also high in B12, an important vitamin that helps produce brain chemicals.
As you persevere through this diet, you’ll gain more focus, energy, and mental sharpness. This is a sign of a healthy brain.
Eliminating carbohydrates reduces inflammation. Study reveals that low-carb diets are more effective than low-fat diets in achieving this (2).
If you are suffering from arthritis, headaches, and muscle soreness, going carnivore will help you recover faster or be free from pain.
What you eat changes you from the inside out. The impact of a nutrient-dense, animal-based diet shows through better skin. Your skin becomes acne-free, clearer, and younger-looking.
Since inflammation is reduced on carnivore, you can expect your skin to look much better. Bone broth, fish, egg whites, chicken, and cattle contain collagen. Collagen is a protein that boosts skin hydration and elasticity (3).
Keto Carnivore Food List
Start including these foods on your weekly grocery list.
- Meat: beef, pork, goat, lamb, wild game, chicken, duck, turkey.
- Animal products: eggs, bone broth, bone marrow, lard.
- Dairy: cheese, yogurt, butter, ghee, sour cream, milk.
- Fish and seafood: sardines, salmon, tuna, crab, squid, oysters.
- Seasoning: salt, pepper, mayonnaise, garlic powder.
- Beverages: water, coffee, tea.
- Nuts, seeds, and oils: flaxseeds, brazil nuts, pecans, coconut oil.
Keto Carnivore Foods to Avoid
Avoid these foods on your keto carnivore diet:
- Grains: corn, rice, wheat, barley.
- Legumes and beans: beans, lentils peas.
- High-carb fruits: apples, grapes, oranges, bananas, and grapes.
- High-carb vegetables: potatoes, carrots, eggplant, yams.
- Sugary processed foods: breakfast cereals, cakes, cookies, ice cream.
- Sweetened beverages: sodas, juices, alcoholic drinks, hot chocolate.
Bonus: Are you on a budget? Here are 12 tips to save money doing carnivore.
Keto Carnivore Meal Plan
Ready to fill your whole week with carnivore meals? Check them out below. I’ve linked to some recipes from trusted resources online. They’re easy and nutritious!
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and bacon
- Lunch: Burger patties
- Snack: Protein Sparing Chips and French Onion Dip
- Dinner: Chicken wings with parmesan cheese
- Breakfast: Egg cups (only bacon and cheese or salami and cheese)
- Lunch: Carnivore meatballs
- Snack: Pork rinds
- Dinner: Pan-seared pork chops
- Breakfast: Tuna with scrambled eggs
- Lunch: Baked salmon (seasoned with salt and pepper)
- Snack: Bacon Cheese Chip Snacks
- Dinner: Ground beef, eggs, and cream cheese casserole
- Breakfast: Breakfast Fried “Rice”
- Lunch: Bacon-wrapped chicken bites
- Snack: Beef jerky
- Dinner: Roast beef
- Breakfast: Bacon-wrapped shrimp
- Lunch: Baked chicken livers
- Snack: Zero Carb Nachos
- Dinner: Bone broth
- Breakfast: Pork sausages
- Lunch: Smoked Whole Chicken
- Snack: Venison jerky
- Dinner: Salisbury Steak
- Breakfast: Ground beef omelet
- Lunch: Mango Chili Chicken Wings
- Snack: Sugar-free deli meat
- Dinner: Dairy Free Liver Pate With Ox Liver
A word of advice: Don’t worry if you do not like some animal foods/recipes on this guide. To thrive and enjoy keto carnivore, buy only the animal foods that you find delicious and can afford!
Keto Carnivore Diet Drawbacks
Like any other diet on the planet, keto carnivore is not for everybody. If you see no benefit of omitting plants from your diet, then don’t follow this diet. But if you’re convinced that this way of eating can eliminate some health/fitness issues you have, try it.
Here are some possible drawbacks to know (especially if you’re a total beginner):
- Flu-like symptoms. If you’re still eating more carbs than you need, you’ll experience flu-like symptoms collectively known as the keto flu. These include brain fog, nausea, fatigue, and dehydration. Note that these won’t last. Eat more meat, stay hydrated, and get enough sleep.
- Taste fatigue. Following a restrictive diet such as keto carnivore can lead to taste fatigue. It happens to people who love eating a variety of foods which include veggies, fruits, and keto-friendly processed snacks. To overcome taste fatigue, explore various animal foods and recipes. I’ll share a 7-day carnivore keto meal plan sample below.
Download this Keto Carnivore Meal Plan PDF
Here’s a PDF of the sample recipes above. You can print it or save it on your phone. Click here or the image below to get the meal plan.
- Oh R, Gilani B, Uppaluri K. Low Carbohydrate Diet. 2022 July 11
- Science Daily. Low-carb Diet Reduces Inflammation And Blood Saturated Fat In Metabolic Syndrome. 2007 December 04
- Bolke L, Schlippe G, Gerß J et al. A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. 2019 October 17