Whether worried about weight or convinced that there’s a way of eating that can change your life, diets are on a lot of people’s minds. Everyone knows someone on a diet, whether it’s keto, carnivore, or totally plant-based.
Right off the bat, we’ll remind you that there’s no such thing as a perfect diet. From one day to the next, our energy levels, hormones, and cravings change. Plus, we’re all physiologically very different so what works for one person might not work for you.
Still, there are pros and cons to any way of eating and we’re breaking things down for you. Here, we’re talking about three popular diets: keto, vegan, and carnivore.
Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet centered around sending your body into a ketogenic state. By replacing carbs with fats, it works with your metabolism to increase its ability to burn fat instead of carbs. This is called ketosis.
There are a few different kinds of keto including a standard keto diet where you eat 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs or a protein keto diet with 60% fat, 30% protein, and 5% carbs. Keto is also often used in conjunction with intermittent fasting to further boost ketosis levels.
Spikes in blood sugar levels and insulin levels can lead to a plethora of health problems and keto, being so low-carb, helps curb those issues.
A vegan diet is characterized by eating only plant-based foods. This includes no meat, cheese, milk, eggs, or animal products of any kind. Some people adopt a vegan diet for animal rights reasons while others go vegan for personal health or environmental reasons.
Foods that make up a vegan diet are vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes but there are some variations in the way people do a vegan diet. You can be a raw vegan, whole food vegan, or junk food vegan.
However, by excluding so many food groups, you are likely to develop deficiencies in certain micronutrients. It’s very important to carefully plan your vegan diet to include the necessary supplements such as Vitamin B12.
A carnivore diet is almost the exact opposite of a vegan diet. This diet has gotten a lot more attention in recent years and it’s characterized by eating all meat and only meat. There isn’t a lot of research on the carnivore diet, but many people have seen positive changes in their autoimmune diseases, mood disorders, and more. There is very limited research on this so far, so we recommend approaching this diet with caution.
It is quite restrictive since someone on a carnivore diet can eat only meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.
Pros and Cons
One of the biggest pros of doing a keto diet is that since fats and proteins fill you up longer than carbs, you’re likely to feel satisfied longer and with fewer cravings. Plus, people who do the keto diet can have foods like cheese and cream so many people are able to fully enjoy their meals on keto.
A downside of keto is that some people experience what’s known as the “keto flu” for the first few weeks as their bodies get used to burning fats instead of carbs which can cause nausea and low energy.
One benefit of a vegan diet is that, when done the right way, you’re often eating very fresh, healthy food. People report losing weight, increasing their energy, and some research even suggests cancer-preventing properties.
The bad news is, it’s very easy for vegans to be deficient in essential vitamins and nutrients. Although there are some of the same nutrients in plants as there are in meat, it doesn’t metabolize the same way in our bodies. As a vegan, getting sufficient proteins also requires a concentrated effort. Therefore, vegans must be diligent about keeping up with their supplements.
Similar to the keto diet, a carnivore diet with all that protein can mean you feel fuller for longer and therefore consume fewer calories which may lead to weight loss.
But probably the biggest negative about the carnivore diet is its lack of research-backed claims. Plus, with so many restrictions, it’s incredibly hard to maintain.
Risks Associated with Restrictive Diets
The main risk of all three of these diets is that they are restrictive. The way we see it, a diet filled with real, whole foods is always the best way to go and eating intuitively and without rules or restrictions is the best for both physical and mental health.