Carnivore Diet & Macros | What The Doctors Say
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Macros play a part in just about any diet and the carnivore diet is no exception. In fact, one of the most talked-about subjects is macros.
That’s why this article will include macros based suggestions from other top nutrition experts and carnivore diet doctors.
This isn’t a pros and cons of a Carnivore Diet article, where we get doctors and dieticians to endlessly debate if a meat-based diet is healthy.
The goal is for this article to be a resource for those already on a Carnivore Diet or who have done their research and have decided to try it.
The Carnivore Diet
If you are brand new to the carnivore diet then go ahead and read this article before proceeding:
In layman terms:
- You eat animal products
- You avoid plant products
The opposite of veganism basically.
Make Carnivore work for you
This doesn’t mean that the Carnivore Diet is a simple one way for all approach.
Whilst it is probably the simplest diet around in its pure form, there is in fact a lot of different approaches you could take for different goals which we will have a look at.
Aka the Macronutrients in your food –
In alphabetical order and not the order of importance haha, in fact order of importance is probably the opposite way around!
They are generally measured in grams on Nutrition Labels and Food Tracking Apps.
But a lot of people in the Low Carb diet sphere track them as a percentage amount.
For example, people could follow a Ketogenic Diet of 5% Carbs, 15% protein, and 80% fat.
The mainstream media, health organizations, and governments push the “Calories In Calories Out” dogma where we are a furnace.
Where health is as simple as watching how much you eat and exercise to a calorie number your body burns each day. So simple a child could do it.
Yet in the real world, neither children nor adults can seemingly manage this. Just look at the Obesity Epidemic in the western world and now developing countries.
“Despite the growing recognition of the problem, the obesity epidemic continues in the U.S., and obesity rates are increasing around the world. The latest estimates are that approximately 34% of adults and 15–20% of children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese.” – Obesity: Overview of an Epidemic.
Carnivore Diet Macros
Before I go on I want to disclose I am not a doctor or nutritionist. Therefore you will need to speak to your doctor before starting any new diet, carnivore diet included.
On a Carnivore Diet personally, I would not recommend counting calories. You should eat as much as you need to and trust your hunger signals.
For the most part, you should also be able to trust your body to lead you down the right macro path, for example, if you crave Ribeye’s and not Sirloin then your body is telling you it prefers more fat.
If you don’t have any specific goals, just eat whatever animal products you have a fancy for and you should do very well.
However, if you have specific goals then there are ways you can adjust your macros to increase the chances of achieving them.
Those goals could be a weight limit for a MMA fight, packing on lean muscle for a bodybuilding competition, or you may simply be desperate to win your work’s weight loss challenge.
“The Bulletproof Diet recommends a range of macronutrients that you can customize to help you feel your best — however, tracking them is not mandatory to success.”
Typical versions of Carnivore
If you are trying to adjust macros for a specific goal, then you generally have to play around with all 3 macros…protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
However, it is a bit easier on Carnivore as you only need to adjust 2 really: fat and protein.
And unless you are consuming a boatload of dairy then you have already limited your carb intake. Remember that dairy contains carbs.
So, all you have to do is find a ratio of protein and fat to give you the best possible chance of hitting your targets.
Below are some typical carnivore versions, and you can see how the protein and fat ratios differ.
Protein Sparing Modified Fast Diet | PSMF
This is a super high protein and super low-fat way of eating. On this diet, you make sure you have enough protein to meet your needs and to prevent your body from breaking down muscle.
Then you restrict your energy as much as possible, forcing your body to burn body fat for energy.
Most nutrition experts say this is an excellent way to burn body fat and burn it fast, but it is not sustainable long-term. So, use it wisely, for a limited time, and for a set goal.
CarnivoreRX recommends a macro breakdown of:
- Carbohydrate – 15-20 grams
- Fat – 15-20 grams (Include at least 10 grams of fish oil in that total)
- Protein – 1.5 grams-2 grams of PROTEIN per pound of lean mass so 270-360grams (sometimes protein powders are needed to achieve high protein levels)
Protein: Energy Diet
He is not a strict carnivore, but he is a big fan of the health benefits of meat-eating and his strategies can easily be adapted to a Carnivore Diet.
Plus he believes in using protein and nutrient-dense foods to provide satiety, and that energy (fat and carbs) should be used as a lever to reach your goals.
He provides a calculator where you put in the grams of carbs, protein, and fat for a meal or a day and it gives you a score.
- Foods under 0.40 promote fat gain, eg Butter and Cream. Useful foods if you what to gain weight for a Powerlifting meet.
- Foods between 0.41 and 1.2 will help you with a maintenance strategy. Nice for when you are in shape enough to get your top off on Instagram or sharing your bikini photos on Facebook, but you are not competing in anything. A Ribeye steak comes in at 1.0.
- Foods 1.3 and above will promote fat loss. Salmon comes in at a fat-busting 4.0, and Chicken Breast comes in at 8.0. You would target these foods if you were a fitness model cutting for a photoshoot or a bodybuilder getting ready for a competition.
If you haven’t heard of Shawn Baker and his “just eat a damn steak” approach, then are you even a carnivore? Haha.
While he doesn’t only eat Ribeye’s it does form the basis of a simple philosophy aimed at a low barrier of entry to the carnivore diet.
You can make the carnivore diet as simple or as complicated as you want, but it can be as simple as only eating Ribeye’s if you want too, just ask the Anderson Family who have been thriving on almost Ribeye’s only for over 20 years.
Ribeye’s come in at around 30% protein and 70% fat. This seems to suit a lot of people and I believe this is around the sweet spot for most humans.
So, the Ribeye Diet is more about eating a 30/70 split of mainly ruminant meat. Really easy and effective.
If you want to absorb more carnivore diet knowledge then pick up Dr. Baker’s book, “The Carnivore Diet.”
Nose to Tail Diet
Paul Saladino didn’t invent Nose to Tail eating that is for sure, but he is a big promoter of it and his website/podcast is an excellent resource for anyone on carnivore.
Dr. Saladino is a believer in eating whole animals for optimal health or at least eating a lot of organ meats and bone marrow.
Plus he believes this is the only way to ensure you are getting everything you need and will avoid any deficiencies like Riboflavin aka Vitamin B2.
He recognizes that a lot of carnivores can do very well on muscle meat only diets, but that it is not as optimal as nose to tail.
His approach is more on the high fat side of the spectrum.
Dr. Saladino says, “since I am at my goal body weight and composition, I am most interested in athletic performance. With this in mind, I aim for about 1.5-2g of fat per gram of protein that I eat on a daily basis. For protein, I aim for about .8g per lb of lean bodyweight per day. As a 170 lb dude, this ends up being about 140g of protein and 230-280g of fat per day!”
The cool thing about Dr. Saladino is that he wrote a very in-depth book on the carnivore diet called “The Carnivore Code.” It’s on my bookshelf.
Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet
PKD is a therapeutic diet and is therefore designed to be very strict until healing is complete, for example, Coffee, Eggs, and Spices are banned.
It is a fairly low protein, very high-fat diet. It is also a nose to tail style diet.
They have done many studies showing how their protocol has reversed cancer, diabetes, and leaky gut syndrome.
Whilst it is mainly a therapeutic diet, people have adopted it for day to day life.
Essentially you eat nose to tail, and for every gram of protein, you eat 2 grams of fat.
Empty plate diet
Whatever diet or macro breakdown of a carnivore you feel best on you can bring in intermittent fasting to help you reach your goals.
So for example, say you are desperate to get to a size 6 dress, and you feel amazing doing the Ribeye Diet but you are stuck at a size 8, and you don’t want to eat leaner steaks. If you are currently eating ribeyes twice a day, try eating the same amount of ribeye’s but just eat once a day. You may find you will drop that dress size.
And regardless of your diet, it’s important that you are not cooking with toxic cookware. In this updated article I drop 4 of my favorite ways to cook with less toxic pans and skillets.
Real world examples
Let’s look at a few hypothetical situations to better illustrate some of these diet strategies.
Morbidly obese person in the last chance saloon
You have a huge amount of energy stored on you as body fat. So, you can go super lean with your meat and fish, as well as avoiding fatty animal products like butter and cheese.
This means you will most likely keep your muscle mass and only burn body fat. Once you are at a healthy weight you can start introducing fattier foods.
Office worker just looking to keep a normal BMI
It allows you to eat a lot of really tasty foods but avoid that middle-aged weight creep. For someone like this, something like the Ribeye Diet may be ideal.
Gym beast wanting to pack on lean muscle
Carnivore means you are easily hitting your protein targets, no protein shakes needed.
But it is also excellent for keeping you lean, so you can actually show off your muscles. It is also an easy diet to cut weight on. You simply decide on your ideal protein grams, then take what fat you are currently eating.
People usually keep the protein the same and lower the fat grams by 5% each week until achieving the desired results.
Endurance runner who wants to run for days
The Faster Study takeaways by Zach Bitter showed that humans can actually burn fat a lot faster and more efficiently than people thought possible.
If you are running in your aerobic zone, you almost have an endless supply of energy but not quite.
So, I would say you would need a slightly higher fat diet than a sedentary person. And just because you are a runner do not ignore protein as it is vital for recovery.
People say somewhere between the Ribeye Diet and the Palaeolithic Ketogenic Diet is ideal.
Plan, Action, Record
I am a big believe in setting goals and to give yourself the best chance of achieving them you should:
Research into how to achieve your goals, then plan out how you are going to do it.
Do not procrastinate, at some point you will have to jump in and do it.
Track what you are doing and what is happening, this with allow you to make “in-game” adjustments if things are not working out as you would like them to.
Or the record will allow you to keep a diary of things that did work so you can repeat them at a later date.
Personally, I prefer achieving goals by adjusting macros but still letting the body decide how much I eat.
So, if I want to lose weight, I prefer to eat leaner foods but still eat to fullness.
To lose weight by eating less than you need will work in the short term but it is not sustainable or healthy.
The Carnivore Diet is a nutrient-dense and bioavailable diet, to undereat means you are consuming less of the macronutrients and micronutrients your body needs.
It makes no sense to under eat on a Carnivore Diet.
Personally, I would also like you to let your body decide the macros you need too, but I do recognize that people have goals and timeframes.
So, at certain times in your Carnivore Diet journey, you will need to manually adjust your macros and I do not have a problem with that.
If motivation becomes an issue then I highly advise trying out a carnivore diet coach. Dr. Shawn Baker has a strong roster of coaches ready to get you going. Check the roster out here.
Plus I’m one of those coaches and you can book me here.
Another suggestion is to get a cookbook! Simple right? I use “The Carnivore Cookbook” by Jessica Haggard. It’s a game-changer. (plus, for a limited time, use ANDY5 at checkout for $5.00 off)
Subscribe to our YouTube channel too! It has very fun and meaty content.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Consult with and ask your doctor about any diet or medical-related questions. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition. This is not medical advice.