How to go from Keto to Carnivore

How to go from Keto to Carnivore

How to go from Keto to Carnivore

how to go from keto to carnivoreAs the Carnivore Diet picks up speed with people feeling better, healing disease, and performing at new heights, the largest segment taking the plunge – by far –  are people going from Keto to Carnivore.

It has become the natural progression. Bad diet to Keto to Carnivore.

And while the Keto and Carnivore are similar in many ways, there are some critical differences that people need to be aware of when making the transition.

Unlike going from a SAD (Standard American Diet) to a Ketogenic diet where getting “fat-adapted” can be a tough transition to get through, those going from Keto to Carnivore are already fat-adapted.

They’ve already been through the “Keto Flu.

Yet, going from Keto to Carnivore often results in “Round 2” of the “Carnivore Flu.”

The Carnivore Flu

In going from Keto to Carnivore the transition symptoms are not about getting fat-adapted or switching to a fat-based metabolism or using ketones for energy.

If you zoom out and look at both diets the glaring difference is vegetables.

A typical ketogenic diet consists of a lot of vegetables. And removing these can cause some side effect. And it’s not because of any vitamins or minerals or antioxidants they might contain. It’s the fiber.


In the Carnivore Diet there are no plant-based foods. And thus, no fiber.

As you might expect, this results in many people experiencing a significant change in bowel movements.

While fiber is not necessary for healthy digestion (and can be causal of digestive issues) it does impact bowel function. Absorbing water, creating bulk, and regularity, fiber lets the colon to get lazy.

A major function of the colon is to reabsorb water. Since fiber does most of this work in a diet high in plant-based foods, the colon gets lazy. It quits doing its job. It’s like a muscle that hasn’t been worked out. It gets weak.

Going from a Ketogenic Diet to a Carnivore Diet results in a drastic change in fiber intake. And since the colon hasn’t gotten a good workout in a while, and is now being asked to do its job, it’s lost some of its capacity. It needs to “on-ramp.”  During this “on-ramp” water gets through. Loose stools are common.

Fiber isn’t there to absorb the water and the colon needs time to re-build its “water-absorbing-muscles.”

This “on-ramping” of the colon can take several weeks.


So not only are loose stools common, so are infrequent bowel movements.

Meat is absorbed extremely efficiently in the small intestines. Not much goes to waste.

Many people mistakenly think they are constipated when in fact they just aren’t making as much waste.

After a time, stools normalize, become firmer (though soft is still common), and more regular. But this “regular” tends to me a more infrequent regularity schedule.

Fiber Part 2

Fiber is food for bacteria in the large intestines.

Bacteria love fiber. They ferment it and create the gases that make you unpopular at parties.

Removing fiber makes some of these bacteria unhappy. There is research that shows that the microbiome can signal hunger and cravings as the bacteria do everything they can to get you to feed them before they die.

We know very little about the microbiome. Most of what’s written is pure speculation. Research is lacking. But this is a “re-balancing” of gut microflora – I’d argue – is probably a good thing.

This leads us into the next transition symptom.


Carb Cravings

A nice, but dangerous, feature of the ketogenic diet is that food can be made to taste like SAD foods.

Artificial sweeteners abound.

Because of this many people never beat the addiction to sugar and carbohydrates. They can’t imagine black coffee. Stevia is a major food group for most ketogenic dieters.

Completely removing these can result in some strong craving signals.

Luckily, meat is delicious, and crushing these cravings with steaks isn’t that terrible of a sacrifice.

More Meat

In fact, you may experience the next step in cravings.

Meat. And wanting more and more.

Many people that come from a Ketogenic Diet are use to maniacal measuring, counting, and testing.

They track macros, calories and ketones. They restrict themselves and their diets to extreme degrees.

And even though they eat a “healthy” diet, many are malnourished, depleted in vitamins and minerals, calories and cholesterol, protein and pounds.

In this state, when they are told they can eat meat until satisfied, without measuring or monitoring, the flood gates break loose.

The body craves the nutrition, and their brain relaxes from famine mode to feast mode. It can take weeks, months, or longer until the appetite regulates.

This can result in weight gain to the surprise of many. And this weight gain can lead to fear and back to restriction.

This is a mistake.

The key is to let the appetite re-regulate and normalize. Let the body fuel up on the nutrition it needs and desries. Be in it for the long haul.

After a time the appetite regulates and the cravings disappear. In fact, all you will want to do is eat a steak. Everything else seems non-satisfactory.

This is when amazing things start happening. Fat starts to melt off. Muscles begin to bulge. Diseases disappear. The brain is bolstered. You can go long periods of time without eating or thinking about food. There is a new found freedom in what seems a very restricted diet.

Cravings Cousin

On the flip side, some people experience a lack of appetite.

Meat is satiating. Protein is satiating.

This can lead some people who transition from Keto to Carnivore to under-eat.

Then comes the fatigue. The low energy. The crabby mood.

The key is to eat.

Early on, hunger is not the only signal to listen to as to when to eat. If you are tired, dragging, crabby – eat.

Making the Switch from Keto to Carnivore

The two major transition symptoms in switching from Keto to Carnivore are bowel changes from a lack of plant material and fiber as well as appetite swings. Being aware of these and having a game plan and commitment to overcome these issues is key to a successful transition from Keto to Carnivore.

If you’d like to learn more about how to transition to a meat-based / carnivore diet, I’d highly recommend watching the Meat Health Masterclass:

47 Replies to “How to go from Keto to Carnivore”

  1. Thank you for this Kevin. I am first week into Carnivore from keto and I came here because of the fatigue I’m experiencing. I know my body is transitioning and I was looking for an idea for how long it would last. From this I gather that it could be months and that is okay, because I am in it for the long haul. Even if I gain weight in the beginning *gulp*.

    1. It’s different for everyone – but it sounds like you have the right expectations that will set up you up for success!

      1. Hi man, i am already eating almost only meat, experiencing some guts mess, but nothing bad by now, i take some strong multivitamineralsantioxidantsamino supplement for sport, are those good for a carnivore diet?

        1. I’d recommend checking out the 30 day guide (you can grab it by clicking “Start Here” in the upper right) – go into this in quite detail.

  2. Thanks! I hope so. Though, I am now experiencing the appetite loss you mentioned. Earlier this week I wanted to eat everything, including my fingers (hey they’re carnivore right?!). I did not eat my fingers, but now, I don’t want to eat anything else either. 🙂

  3. I really need to read those messages that you left on your posts…or I would really want to go back to keto..miss my daily poop :-(( now I can’t poop daily…last week I even tried 2-days of keto and had some easy salads (avocado, radicchio, celery and romaine salad) and I immediately had bloating, not really serious, but I definitely felt it.

  4. let me start by saying i really like the premise of this diet. i kinda need it to work, as i have had a heart issue in the past and want to be medicine free. i have been on this diet for almost 3 months. well, at first i took 1 day off as a cheat day. then i decided not to, but the stomach issues made me go off of the diet for 2-5 days at a time. so in 3 months i have had 4 bouts of taking 5 days off at a time. but when i eat the carbs or add in fiber the stomach issues don’t go away. when i say stomach issues, i mean married to the toilet (like 15-20 times a day), cramps, and occasionally blood in the stool. is this diet just not for me, should i be adding in fiber, or am i doing something wrong? my 3-4 meals a day include steak twice, eggs and bacon once, and a protein shake on days i work out extra hard. i have coffee 2x a day, no sugar but with heavy whipping cream. i am doing what it takes to be almost zero carb on the days that i’m on. i just can’t handle the cramps anymore. any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hey Justin – I recommend checking out the 30 day guide at Meat Health (https://meat.health) – you have common transition issues, but you are prolonging them my going off the diet so frequently. A few things as outlined in that guide will really help.

  5. Thank you for all the enlightenment work you do! It’s really great. I come from an ethnic group that has never eaten plants, so I was very glad to find a fresh perspective to meat-eating.
    I’m 5 days already being carnivore, switched from strict keto right to the 2nd stage of the guide (just meat and water). I feel pretty good, no any problems but there’s no grass-fed beef available in my country, so I eat farm-raised horse meat and organ meat, without antibiotics (a traditional meat), will it [grain-fed meat] be a problem as a chose carnivore diet to eliminate eczema and allergy?
    Again, thank you!

  6. Kevin. I can’t do the organ meats. Before trying the carnivore diet I did keto and IF. I took Dr. Berg’s electrolyte powder. It’s not meat of course but that being said it doesn’t seem to contain anything bad. He adds a little Stevia for sweetness which I’m sure is not approved. My question is this. If I’m not trying carnivore because of a disease or digestion issues or skin problems and I’m strictly doing it to see how my body feels, to lose weight, and to gain some muscle, will taking this product cause problems for me or negate the benefits of going carnivore? If so what’s an acceptable alternative?

    1. Likely no big deal.

      Though keeping sweeteners around can keep carb/sugar cravings around (i.e. make adherence much more difficult) and some have shown to disrupt microbiome in adverse ways.
      I think electrolyte powders can be helpful early on while transitioning, but I’ve found most longer term carnivores just don’t need them unless really training hard. Salt is about it 🙂

  7. I noticed major decrease in strength at the gym, 5th day in, coming from a keto diet. Do you know how long before I can get back to my routine? Also I enjoy drinking a cup of heavy whipping cream a day, do you see that effecting me negatively or preventing me from reaping the benefits?

    1. I remember it took me a good 2+ months to adapted with regard to my training intensity/duration/weights. Depends on the nature of the training – glycolytic vs more aerobic – and your previous diet.

      A cup? That is a lot. I don’t see that being a benefit unless you are really trying to gain weight.
      I’d recommend checking out the 3 “Levels” in the 30 day guide, and at least going to Level 2/3 for a period of time to see how that effects you.

  8. Kevin – I have been doing Carnivore for 2 mnths, and have recently switched to a Keto version of Carnivore (dropping my protein by a lot and really upping my fat, no carbs) I am a female, I want to control migraines and female issues, and ammonia breath. But sence switching I am bloated all the time even though I always take HCL/Pepsin and Ox bile. I am not sure what to do? Thanks for your time.

  9. I’ll be going Carnivore with keto macros next week. My question is the best way to transition to some plants like macadamias, salad, etc. without undoing Carnivore-progress. I want to heal my gut and reduce inflammation via Carnivore but still have to freedom to incorporate some plants after a while. What’s the best method for adding plants back in without suffering a gut-setback?

  10. I’m transitioning from keto ,20 hours fasting every day, with ketone numbers 1.3-6,8.
    My numbers went to 0.1 -0.2 .
    With only meat and eggs.
    Don’t know what is going on. Not even overeating my calories.
    I feel fine. But no ketosis.
    Wondering if it has to do with the excess protein in women.

  11. I take a antidepressant, hormone therapy mef, ambien, crestor, can meds interfere with weight loss?

    1. They can – but if this is your concern than I’d strongly recommend working with your doctor to come up with a plan together.

  12. Hi Kevin – I went straight from high carb to carnivore, now on 11th week. I lost weight and some health issues have improved greatly but I have headaches all day every day and very low energy. I am taking about 7 – 8 gr of salt, potassium, magnesium. Any ideas as to the cause of these problems please ? I was hoping they would have worn off by now. I eat 3 lbs of meat a day ( usually steak, chicken, some pork, ground beef ), some eggs, butter.

    1. Hi Steve, I would wean off that potassium and magnesium (hopefully you aren’t take 7-8 grams of each of those…).
      Rarely would I ever recommend much more than 3g potassium/day (and even in these cases, weaning off it I think is generally a good idea) and about 0.5g (500mg) of magnesium.

  13. Hi Kevin – No ! LOL I only increased my salt intake to 7 gradually to see if that made a difference. I’ve only been taking the potassium and magnesium for just over a week, 1g potassium and 500mg magnesium to see if that made a difference but it hasn’t. I was getting leg cramps so thats why i took the magnesium and the cramps went.

  14. Hi Kevin – I quit taking the potassium and magnesium but still no change in my condition. In fact its getting worse. Still have headaches every day, very fatigued, feel like I could just sleep after eating no energy whatsoever and feeling nauseas now too. I may have to quit this carnivore diet as i’m feeling quite ill now – any suggestions would be very welcomed. I cut out eggs for a while to see if they were the problem but didn’t make any difference. Maybe its just not to be but I’ve never come across anyone on youtube that didn’t feel better, more energy etc on carnivore, I can’t be the only one surely. I’ve put on weight this last week also.

  15. Hi Kevin – someone mentioned to me about oxalate dumping – I see you’ve written about this and I think this could be the problem – hopefully it’ll eventually pass. Thanks for your help and time.

    1. I tend to eat my beef very rare (some people may consider it “raw” but I don’t because I do like to sear the outside) – I enjoy it more and personally feel better with it rare (I do fully cook chicken and pork for the most part).

      This is not to say that’s what you need to do. Many people start off cooking the meat more aggressively and over time realizing they like it more and more rare.
      Do whatever works for you and taste good to you.

  16. I’m glad I found this site.I am from Romania and I am a carnivore.What do you think about spirulina.I can consume spirulina?

  17. Hi Kevin. I’m considering going from low carb high protein to carnivore. I read your ultimate guide and it talks a lot about the gall bladder. I’m 42 and had my gall bladder removed when I was 28. Is this lifestyle still safe for me? I also had gastric bypass 4 years ago and have lost over 230 pounds. I no longer have any medical concerns but have hit a plateau in my weight loss. I work out 6 days a week and am now quite healthy. Do you think this plan would help kick start my body into losing those last 15 pounds. I’m so used to calorie counting so that would be hard to let go of but I’m willing to try. Let me know what you think.

  18. Hey Kevin, I have successfully adapted after a few months and I have a few questions:

    1) 1 meal at day vs. 2 meals: What do you think? It’s weird because 1 meal feels better but I was losing weight, so now I am back to 2 meals. I need to gain weight, should I stick with 2?

    2) I eat 1,75 pounds of organic ground meat everyday for lunch and 12 organic eggs for dinner. However, you don’t recommend having eggs as a main dish. Can you explain this? Should I eat less eggs and more meat?

    3) Since ground meat is the only option for me, both for economical and technical reasons (I spend so much time chewing regular beef that the digestion is affected): Is it easier to overeat with ground meat and hamburgers, since they have no bones or other inedible elements?

    4) The most natural organic beef I can find has around 0,03 percent of rosemary extract, a spice which acts as a natural antioxidant. Can such a small amount of fiber affect us significantly as carnivores?

    5) Some beef variants are made of younger cows. I normally eat the older ones, with 15-20% fat, but these younger ones, with around 10%, taste better (even if they are not organic as the ones I eat, while they have an official “animal wellbeing certificate”) What do you think about this? Should we definitely go for the organic version with more fat?

    Many thanks in advance! 🙂

    1. Hi John way to stick through the adaptation period!

      1. If body composition (building muscle) is a high priority 2 meals are better than 1

      2. Many people don’t feel as good with just eggs (myself included – but I do have just egg meals from time to time) – if you feel good with it, no problem

      3. I would say not likely – but since you are trying to gain weight, I’m not sure I understand what the issue is here

      4. Very unlikely

      5. I say go with what you can afford and enjoy (I am a big advocate of buying meat from regenerative agro farmers for environmental reasons, but when it comes to nutrition, differences are relatively minor)

  19. Hi Kevin,

    Thanks very much for all the information in the website, very helpful.
    I have started to shift from a whole food diet to the carnivore diet few days ago, I feel a lot of improvement in my digestion problem which is great, the only problem is I have strong heart rate which scares me, and I can’t sleep well at night, any recommendation? I don’t want to give up on the diet, but a little scared of this strong heart rate most of the time. I would greatly appreciate any recommendation, thanks a lot.

    1. Hi Theana – both very common adaptation symptoms. What I’d recommend is reading the 30 day guide (which you can download on this website or at Meat Health: https://meat.health) – it talks about both of these as well as many other transitions tips / advice.

  20. Hi Kevin, just a quick question. I was wondering if going from a high (all) sugar diet to carnivore can possibly help persistent tendonitis? I’m ready to try the carnivore diet for a lot of reasons but the tendonitis is by far my main concern. Any help or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Yes it absolutely could help improve tendonitis. However, I think it’s important to mention that tendonitis is often a result of improper biomechanical movement (i.e may need to work on your form in the gym, posture, etc..)

  21. Kevin, do you think there is harm in drinking Diet Caffeine-Free Dr Pepper? Do you think it perpetuates cravings for sweets?

      1. What about just zero-calorie drinks, non-carbonated included, with artificial sweeteners in general?

  22. Hi Kevin, I’m a 59 years old female from Switzerland. Was eating Keto during the last 6 months with IF 16:8, my HBP came down a little (taking pills for more than 20 years now, so it will take me a little more patience to get rid of them), my T2D changed to “only” prediabetes and I lost 23 kg. 6 days ago I started with Carnivore and today I discovered and studied your 30-Day-Guide, which would have convinced me if I wasn’t already! I went Carnivore because of my aching knee, hip and wrist. The pain in knee and hip intensified within the last 6 months, probably due to the fact that I’m no couch potatoe any longer (moderately walk, swim or ride a bike, 5x a week for 30 minutes) – I don’t want to reduce that.

    Especially the protein:fat ratio of 1:1 was interesting for me because up to now I heard of 1:2, which in my eyes isn’t makeable without adding a whole bunch of butter or bacon fat to the meat. I eat beef and pork (steak, grounded, liver, bacon), sardines, salmon, crevettes, 2 – 3 eggs, butter and about 15 g cheese.

    Day 1: 118 g Protein : 109 g Fat
    Day 2: 122 g : 90 g
    Day 3: 118 g : 91 g
    Day 4: 169 g : 134 g
    Day 5: 105 g : 114 g

    But I have a question: Over the last week my average morning sugar went up from 6.5 to 6.9, not too much alarming, but wrong direction. Too much protein, gluconeogenesis? Do you have experience with T2D and can give me a note on what to change or must I be patient and trust in what my body tells me? No tracking any more? My next HbA1c measuring will be in October, I don’t want to be back on 6.x then, the last was 5.9.

    Thanks a lot for your time and help!

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