Can anyone explain this to me (from Dr. Ken Berry) - The Proper Human Diet Spectrum

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #21

Amber O’Hearn posted a discussion about this, a few years ago, and her conclusion is that “carnivore” means what the carnivore community says it means. So while many carnivores drink only water, coffee and tea are commonly understood by the carnivore community to be acceptable, if not perhaps perfectly desirable.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #22

Sawdust is cellulose, which is by definition a carbohydrate. The fact that it’s indigestible makes it fibre, but a zero-carb/carnivore diet by definition does not include sawdust. I know of no one in the carnivore community who considers sawdust to be zero-carb/carnivore, lol! :grin::grin::grin:

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #23

Be that as it may, there is a clear decline in health when communities began to embrace agriculure. Palaeoanthropologists and archaeologists don’t actually need bone isotope analyses to determine what a culture ate, because the hunters were taller, with better bone density, and no sign of disease; damage is from breaks. In agricultural societies, skeletons are noticeably shorter, show many degenerative diseases, including dental caries, and the bones also show signs of nutrient deficiencies not seen in the hunter populations. Interesting, huh?

(Megan) #24

Definitely! I was trying to be a bit “PC” to counter what sometimes happens: folks who eat a certain way thinking they are better than folks who eat in a different way, and/or folks who have self-esteem issues thinking they are not as good because they don’t eat a certain way.

This is one of the problems with labels - some human beings use them to make value judgements.

But your point is very well taken and I agree wholeheartedly. :heart:

(Geoffrey) #25

This is correct during the initial stage of Adkins to get one into ketosis. Once a maintenance stage is reached you could start increasing carbs until you saw a weight gain and then back off until you were stable. I was very successful fod ten years on Adkins but the allowance of the Adkins foods eventuality started my downward trend back into SAD.

I don’t disagree with Dr. Berry’s chart in the purist sense. He is just showing the spectrum of the different ketogenic diets.
It’s always been my understanding that keto is 20 grams or less of carbs and I’ve never seen in stated otherwise. The only controversy I’ve ever see in that regard was, is it total carbs or net carbs?
Carnivore in its purest form is zero carb but most are not pure and do allow coffee, tea and dairy and that’s why we have the term “dirty carnivore”. It all boils down to what works for each individual and how strict you want to be.
Then again… who made the rules and the definitions?
This whole thing started in someone’s mind as an idea put into practice and grew from there with others jumping in with their experiences and opinions.
Judging by how many different opinions I see here and on other forums and utube on how to do these different forms of a ketogenic diet I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no set standard on how to do any of it. There is a foundation of truth in each one of them that each individual has to build upon to fit what their needs are. There are no two of us alike and our WOE can be just as diverse.


Correct-o, and for MANY years, Keto was just Atkins Induction. People really need to stop trying to make everything so cookie cutter.

Keto-Vore started years ago, was pretty much the Carnivore spinoff’s that still consumed Cheese’s other Dairy, Avacado’s etc. Basically from taking the cult beating from the rest of the Carnivore’s who were “pure”. Every time there’s a disagreement, there’s a split, and a fresh split always needs to call it something, because why just eat how you want…without a name for it right?


Lion is the Carnivore equiv of Paleo’s AIP. It’s a specific protocol for healing and autoimmune / gut repair.

(KM) #28

My point is that zero carb and carnivore can technically be entirely different diets, one of which can include net zero carb plant matter and one of which cannot.

And I don’t care what Amber O’Hearn has to say about it, you can’t redefine a word because you would prefer it means something else. I’m lying in a bed, and calling it a piano because I like that word better is not a useful practice for communication. Carnivore is already a real word defining organisms which subsist on animals. It’s not up for a vote.

(Megan) #29

No offense to Amber, but that is bloody ridiculous.

(Berta) #30

I hate that there’s so much orthodoxy surrounding eating food!
Regardless of the numbers, pay attention to how your body feels when you get below 100 g of carbs, below 50, below 20, below 10, or 0 on the lion diet.

If you really want to get technical consuming protein in excess (amount can be diff for everyone) turns to glucose. So we are never not without using glucose.

Key take away? Don’t worry about the numbers so much. Whatever number works for you whether it’s low-carb, keto, ketovore or carnivore or lion.

I belonged to several of these groups on Facebook and all they did was argue about the orthodoxy of what to eat.

Health and longevity is goal. Getting caught up in the nomenclature is a huge waste of time and extremely confusing.

Bottom line. Find your carb number, but just know that it’ll probably change overtime up and down (as it should) depending on your health status.
Metabolic flexibility is what we’re all trying to get back to and these numbers will flex.

(Geoffrey) #31

Then who defines the definition?
Who sets the rules and the guidelines as it seems to be all over the spectrum depending on who you talk to or listen to.


Sadly as with all subjects things always turn political and people hijack terms to reflect what they feel most comfortable with and what worked for them personally, and they more or less want to own the definitions and force their views and perspectives on others. (And you have many who do this for monetary gain or business/reputation building.) This is usually done to contain or control any outliers or opposition to their own personally held beliefs of how they want it to be known. IMHO it lacks open minds and inclusivity.

I see others here have read different authors than the ones I have and have developed a completely different understanding of what standard traditional Keto is. I started with Dr Ken Berry, Dr Jason Fung, Dr Berg, and books like End Your Carb Confusion, Metabolical, The Obesity Code, and I listened to many of the doctors commonly known among Keto communities, including Ben Bickman, Nina Teicholz, Robert Lustig, and Eric Westman. At some point in each of their books or YouTube appearances they all explained traditional Keto to “start” at 50g total carbs. They may have evolved into different terms since I first researched in February or 2022, and they may now be saying something different, but I took very detailed extensive notes when I first started and at that time there was a consensus that “standard traditional” Keto was less rigid than modified versions of it and carnivore. But all of them continually made it very clear 50g was the starting point, and many will find they must go lower on the total carbs, some all the way to carnivore. It was a spectrum to be tested for each person.

Then just searching the internet for “What is Keto” most sites will say the same things. It’s all over my notes.

But the lunacy was setting in with forums and social groups where I witnessed others trying to change everyone’s thinking to be more like their own thoughts. I was part of a carnivore group that allowed standard Keto dieters to participate, but then they tried to limit us to no more than ketovore. They too had heard somewhere that Keto was no more than 20g total carbs or it wasn’t Keto at all, and they tried to force everyone else to align with that thinking. It was solely for their own comfort. Needless to say I didn’t feel very welcome or tolerated and eventually left after witnessing them bully some other members. I couldn’t believe that type of thing was happening among a diet group. :rofl:

I found it ridiculous since my own research had found a different understanding by the majority of Keto doctors. So it’s obvious we can all come to different conclusions based our own research. I don’t want to discredit or disregard what someone else believes so long as it doesn’t limit or exclude earnest people trying to become healthier.

Where I did see 20g as the standard Keto limit, the majority of the time they were referring to net carbs. In 2022 I wrote Dr Berry, Dr Fung, and Dr Berg for clarification about this very thing and it yielded that they all supported starting at 50g total and keeping the “net” to 20g. They said there would be those that need a stricter limitation to total carbs and that’s why for some they may finally end up at no more than 20g total, but that wasn’t what everyone would have to start with when first switching to Keto. They supported a gradual decrease to find your body’s ideal level. They said the choice to track net vs total carbs is what has led to all the confusion because so many people failed to state “net carbs” when that’s what they were referring to. It’s how some sources think standard Keto was no more than 20 total carbs all along. Well that certainly is a valid Keto diet, yes, and many will have more success at that limited level, but it’s not the traditional standard Keto diet that starts at no more than 50g total, and encourages the lowest possible net carbs one can stick to.

If speaking about total carbs, 0g to 50g seems to be more inclusive of all opinions that are out there than any other definition, and creates less of a rigid orthodoxy that leaves so many out or sets them up for failure. I prefer to be more inclusive and logical. Besides, many people can easily get into ketosis staying under 50g, and if they find they can’t they have plenty of room to reduce and keep trying, and not give up before realizing the benefits we all have. I myself found it extremely difficult to keep my total below 20g/day every day of the week. I think I can do maybe two days a week at most by chance not by trying. Why set myself up to be so disappointed 5 days a week?? I know for certain I never would have been successful if that’s where I began. Instead, I began at 50 and found over time my sweet spot is 30-40. Had I started at 20, the angst and feelings of failure while I raised to 30 or 40 would have caused me to quit. Instead I lowered to that without all those feelings sabotaging me.

As for Atkins: Back in the 1990s I was one of the few people that actually read Atkins’ book cover to cover, right to the last chapter before even starting his diet. Most people I knew just did the first few chapters and impatiently started the diet, never finishing the book at all, and then proceeded to judge it not realizing they did it wrong, or try to teach others not knowing everything they needed to. What I found is practically everyone I talked to misunderstood the diet because of this. When a book is only partially read a lot of important information is lost and that impacts the perception of its content. There were things in the latter chapters that were highly crucial to understand and to know what his diet really was. After he died it became something it never was. His diet always started with a rigid 2-week period keeping carbs below 20g and then they increased slowly during the next several weeks but only from healthier carb choices. It actually was closer to the standard Keto diet today than anything else has been, but not as it is known today. The Atkins diet today is nothing like his book.


Not really, low-carb is simply where we eat low carb. Why would anywhere think it is keto when eating 80, 120 or 152g carbs? :smiley: That would be stupid and quite wrong in most cases! It’s merely low, not “below the personal ketosis carb limit at the moment” or whatever one’s definition of keto is.
Low-carb was wonderful for me (and quite different from keto even though I pretty much felt the same. I knew very well it’s nothing like keto as I ate so much carbs). I could do it right away after I left high-carb (keto was impossible, I felt awful and quit immediately), I lost fat with it (something I never did on keto on some reason), it was sustainable for me just not good enough in the end… Keto was very clearly very different. I couldn’t get fat adapted on mere low-carb, after all. And I got no other benefits on keto, I needed to drop my plant carbs for that…
Low-carb is a very valid woe, many people are happy there and don’t need keto, maybe they couldn’t even do keto while feeling okay, they need more carbs but not extremely much. While some of us need to go lower. But I never could have done keto without my low-carb years. They were nice and when I went off keto (all the time after fat adaptation), I almost always fell back to low-carb as it was the easiest woe for me.

Actually… You are right, if it’s zero total carbs, we can plan a woe that is clearly not carnivore and still zero carb… Or if not zero, definitely WAY less carby than many people’s carnivore diet (the not super strict ones. like eating organs, they are carby! at least they often are, I admit I don’t know the carb content of all kinds of organs… liver has a lot, I know that. a lot compared to zero and other meats I mean but it is definitely significant. and liver is very proper carnivore food to me… okay eggs and dairy too, never was into the stricter versions but liver definitely is a very proper carni food, it’s meat!).
I don’t think many people eat like this, it makes little sense except if one clings to zero carb sweeteners and fibers but yes, one can add certain limited non-animal items without adding net carbs. I actually wondered about in the beginning when I made carnivore-ish my default woe but still found sweetened things and fibers a bit charming… I was stubborn so I still avoided them when I could (and it was good as that was the way to get off from them) and actually, it felt a bit abnormal to keep just them… So in practice, I don’t consider the non-carnivore zero net carb a diet important at all but true, there are non-animal items without carbs. Like plant fats. Oh yes, I forgot about those.
I never use zerocarb for carnivore as they mean very different things for me too. Though Fangs said it’s zero carb from non-animal matter, not zero carb, period and it made perfect sense to me. Still, to me, carb means carbs and carnivore often has carbs so… I just don’t use the term zerocarb.

I totally agree but I understand people like to define things. It often makes communication easier… Wait, maybe it usually don’t as people just can’t agree in definitions in some cases, definitely not when it’s about their diets. And people get confused and will ask their vegan and vegetarian guests if they eat chicken. I really hated the chaos about that as a vegetarian. Forget the details, they couldn’t even understand that a vegetarian doesn’t eat MEAT! How hard is that? Since when is chicken NOT an animal…? Oh my.
But when I went low-carb and then keto, some people still didn’t get the basics. IDK, maybe people are so ignorant? Having a mindset to find loopholes…? But communication is hard when we would think that simple definitions and term would help. Not really. Well, not in many cases. But words, terms are supposed to help. It’s good if we don’t need to talk for minutes or hours to convey something. Just to use a single word/term…

I kind of found I don’t have that :slight_smile: My ideal woe is “extreme low-carb from non-animal items, most of the time”, apparently. It’s good if we find what works for us even if has no cute fixed(?) number. People tend to love fixed numbers and I get it, they can be useful or at least simple but it doesn’t work for all of us. I like not to KNOW my numbers, even, just eating well and feeling right… Even ketosis doesn’t matter to me, only my health and well-being.

Yeah, me too. I could do <20g total for weeks now, I did it in my carnivore trials - but it’s unnecessary for me so why bother? I rather eat as much carbs as I fancy if my body has no problem with it. Except when I train, training is useful, never forceful, kind of fun and it helps me to desire less carbs later. I only do that if I am sure it does me good. As low carb as possible, I wouldn’t ever do that if I see no benefit in it. Except for a short experiment as they entertain me.
20g is for safety but if one gets what they want with 50g, why would it be a problem? We shouldn’t expect everyone to follow the same rules. 50g carbs isn’t keto for me, at least it wasn’t when I had such days and could figure out if I was in ketosis. But some people can go way higher. And even if one isn’t in ketosis there, they still can get lots of benefits and find their ideal woe there, on low-carb. Whatever floats their boat. It just can be not clear when they tallking about their experiences if people think they are in ketosis and they aren’t. It is a pretty different state of our body than not in ketosis, after all. Even if we don’t necessarily feel the difference. But if it’s quite low-carb, we probably are in ketosis even if not as much as on a proper keto diet for us… And things just aren’t so clear when it comes to life anyway. It’s still a valid info that someone eating pretty low-carb feels this way or solved that problem… It’s not sure it was the carb intake, specifically, anyway. But it’s good to keep in mind that it may not be ketosis all the time and if something seems missing, it may be useful to go lower. Or not.

Same. Good thing I always ignored the advice to start below 20g and raise it later… I knew very well I NEED at least 40g net so I risked it and won fat adaptation. But if someone CAN start lower, without feeling miserable or if it’s SUPER important for them to go into ketosis, it is a good idea to do so I suppose. I couldn’t do it myself for years so I didn’t do it. I did what I could and went lower later when I suspected I need that. Not everyone has my attitude who needs more carbs in the beginning and I can imagine there is much frustration and suffering involved sometimes - but without the <20g advice, other people would get frustration and suffering when they would fail to go into ketosis quickly… It just can’t be perfect. We need to try and think for ourselves, experiment and hope we will figure it out eventually. (I personally don’t like rigid rules and advice that sounds it’s the right way for everyone or the “you will feel this way” or “you will lose fat just by eating keto” as it’s not sure. But I suppose many people want simple advice and not a complex one with the conclusion we are all individual and who knows, try to experiment…)


YES…YES and YES!!! That’s a systemic problem these days that goes WAY beyond diets!

(KM) #35

IMO if you make up the word, it can mean anything you want. But you can’t steal an existing word and rewrite the definition. Call it animal-vore. Call it meat-munch. Call it fauna exclusiva. Carnivore is taken, unless you mean the same diet as an actual carnivore, and please point me to the coffee drinking lions first. :slightly_smiling_face:


You two are cracking me up :rofl:

(Megan) #37

I think it’s ridiculous because there is no such thing as The Carnivore Community. There are tons of people all over the world eating “a carnivore diet”. Some think tea, coffee and a few spices on their meat is ok, some don’t. Some think dairy is ok, some don’t. Some eat pork, some don’t. Some eat ruminant meat, salt and water only, some eat all meats, salt and water only. Some eat any and everything animal.

None of us know all or most of the other people. We only know a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of the rest of the people eating “a carnivore diet”. There is no communication therefore there can be no consensus. And, even if there was communication, it’s highly unlikely (knowing humans) there would be a consensus! :laughing:

(Geoffrey) #38

As did I. I was totally immersed in Adkins and was very successful on it for ten years.
My downfall was allowing Adkins processed snack into my diet and slowly letting carbs sneak in until I lost my motivation.

Hence the reason for the question. Apparently there is no set standard by which it can be defined. I see this by all the confusion from the newbies who come around and can’t get the same definition from two different people whether it’s from the carnivore experts on utube or the internet. Everyone has their own definition as it fits their lifestyle. I think there is a foundational approach that we all start with and then build from there for what works optimally for themselves.

(KM) #39

Maybe at this point I’m eating a dead horse, haha :roll_eyes:… just wanted to clarify my objection with “carnivore” is not with the diet or whether pepper flakes and the occasional cup of tea are ok or not. I just despise the co-opting of words that already mean something else, huge pet peeve. Agreeing on what words mean is a social contract that allows us to communicate, even when we can’t agree on our ideas.


Boy ain’t that the truth! It’s everywhere and our language is constantly getting hijacked for special interests. My pet peeve too