Carnivore Diet Macros and How to Achieve Them (2024)

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By Liam McAuliffe Updated on

Carnivore Diet Macros and How to Achieve Them (1)

When most people think of the carnivore diet they think of eating only meat and animal products.

This is true, of course, but it misses the fact that a carnivore diet eliminates almost all carbs, which makes it a type of ketogenic diet.

As with other types of keto diets, eating high-fat foods that meet your keto macro percentages is important for reducing the chances of side effects. This is especially true when first making the transition from a standard American diet.

In this article, we’ll explore carnivore diet macros, while offering some tips for enjoying a carnivore lifestyle in the most nourishing and sustainable way.

Let’s dig in.

Table of Contents

  • Carnivore Diet Macro Percentages
  • Carnivore Foods That Have Carbs
  • What Happens if I Don’t Eat Enough Fat on a Carnivore Diet?
  • Can I Increase Carb Intake After Reaching Adapting to Carnivore?
  • Fat to Protein Macro Percentages
  • How Do I Add More Fat to My Carnivore Diet Macros?
  • Carnivore Macro Percentages: Dr. Kiltz’s Bottom Line

Carnivore Diet Macro Percentages

Carnivore diet macros follow the same percentages as standard keto. These ratios are:

  • 70-80 percent calories from fat
  • 15-30 percent calories from protein
  • 0-10 percent calories from carbs

How to Convert Carnivore Macro Percentages to Grams

To convert carnivore diet macros to grams of fat, protein, and carbs you start with the number of calories in each nutrient. Fat has nearly twice as many calories per gram compared with carbs and protein.

MacronutrientCalories per gram
Fat9
Carbohydrates4
Protein4

Dr. Kiltz's Take

The beauty of the carnivore diet is that you don’t have to worry about counting carbs, since meat has essentially zero carbs.

If you’re aiming for 2,000 calories a day, your carnivore diet macros might work out to:

Macro CaloriesMacro Grams
1500 calories from fat166 grams of fat
400 calories from protein100 grams of protein
0-100 calories from carbs0-25 grams of carbs

Carnivore Foods That Have Carbs

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The exception to not having to worry about carbs on carnivore is if you’re eating large quantities of dairy.

Milk, along with some yogurt and cheeses (cottage cheese) are high in carbs. To play it safe, stick with high-fat carnivore diet cheeses. Choosing soft cheeses described as “creamy” is a good rule of thumb.

Small amounts of carbs are also found in organ meats, like beef liver, and some keto seafood, such as mussels, salmon roe, and oysters.

Click here for a full carnivore diet food list, and here for carnivore meal plans that will help you put these foods into action.

What Happens if I Don’t Eat Enough Fat on a Carnivore Diet?

Most people in the West think of meat as lean muscle meat–tenderloin, chicken, etc.

This bias towards lean meat is a completely modern invention. And we have bad anti-fat science and strong anti-fat personalities from the 1960s to un-thank for it.

The truth is, humans evolved on a diet of extremely fatty animal meats. Our two million-year journey as hyper-carnivorous apex predators began when we first learned to scavenge extremely fatty bone meats and brains.3

Carnivore Diet Macros and How to Achieve Them (4)

Source: Julie McMahon, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

A mere 100g (3.5 oz ) dose of bone marrow provides a whopping 786 calories, 97% from fat. If we scale this up to the giant animals that roamed the earth with us, we’re talking about tens of thousands of fat calories in the bones of a single 20-foot-tall ground sloth or a mastodon.

This superabundance of animal fat along with numerous fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients found only in meat was rocket fuel for the development of our brains.

Carnivore Diet Macros and How to Achieve Them (5)

Source: Dr Miki Ben Dor

With bigger brains, we learned how to make more sophisticated tools and to coordinate with each other to take down giant prey.

For the rest of human history up until around 10,000 years ago, human life revolved around hunting and eating fat.

We only changed our habits and became farmers because we ate the giant fatty beasts into extinction.

There’s an evolutionary reason why a succulent ribeye steak provides the near-perfect balance of all essential macro and micronutrients: Our bodies evolved in harmony with large, fatty, herbivorous animals as our primary food source.

Dr. Kiltz's Take

Realigning our physiology with our ancestral diet is the key to the health benefits of the carnivore diet. To do so means eating fatty meats, and rendered animal fats.

Observations of Traditional Carnivore Diet Macros

Carnivore Diet Macros and How to Achieve Them (6)

In his groundbreaking book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, pioneering researcher and Dentist Weston A. Price observed the following practice among mostly carnivorous Native Americans living in the Northern Canadian Rockies:

“I found the Indians putting great emphasis upon the eating of the organs of the animals, including parts of the digestive tract. Much of the muscle meat of the animals was fed to the dogs. … The skeletal remains are found as piles of finely broken bone chips or splinters that have been cracked up to obtain as much as possible of the marrow and nutritive qualities of the bones.”

Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson observed similar practices among the Inuit. He described how when the Inuit ate caribou, they prized the fat behind the eye and the fatty meat around the head, then the organs, including the heart and kidneys. Caribou kidneys are around 50% fat.

The Protein Constraint

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The view that we need to eat mostly animal fat on a carnivore diet is not just ideological, it’s biological.

Humans can only get between 35-50% of our calories from protein before we begin experiencing protein poisoning. Cats and other carnivores that didn’t begin as fat-scavengers can get 70% of their energy from protein.

Meeting your fat carnivore diet macro goals will protect you from protein poisoning. If you eat too much protein and not enough fat you will get protein poisoning. This condition occurs when your liver can no longer upregulate urea synthesis needed to metabolize protein.

Protein poisoning symptoms include :

  • Hyperaminoacidemia
  • Hyperammonemia
  • hyperinsulinemia
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Death within 2-4 weeks of prolonged protein poisoning

Carnivore Diet Macros and How to Achieve Them (8)

Can I Increase Carb Intake After Reaching Adapting to Carnivore?

Once you’ve adapted to a carnivore diet and met its macros for a few weeks, it is possible to add in some carbs.

Dr. Kiltz on his BEBBIIS diet–a modified approach to mostly carnivorous eating, allows himself a once-in-awhile indulgence of french fries fried in tallow, and homemade keto ice cream.

Follow along with Dr. Kiltz to make your own homemade ice cream:

Fat to Protein Macro Percentages

Eating fat provides your body with the optimal building blocks for ketones–energy molecules created from fat. Protein is used to maintain muscle mass, while a portion is synthesized into glycogen–a type of carbohydrate that gets stored in your muscles.

To keep your fat-to-protein carnivore diet macros optimally balanced, simply consume 1.5x to 2x grams of fat per gram of protein.

How Do I Add More Fat to My Carnivore Diet Macros?

Consuming healthy keto fats is the cornerstone of a well-formulated carnivore diet.

These fatty staples will help you meet your carnivore diet macro goals:

  • fatty cuts of steak, preferably from grass-fed sources
  • Bacon and pork belly are great ways to boost fat when you’re doing carnivore diet on a budget
  • Other fatty keto meats
  • Butter
  • Tallow
  • Lard
  • eggs
  • Creamy carnivore cheese

Carnivore Diet Macros and How to Achieve Them (9)

Add Butter To Your Coffee

Carnivore Diet Macros and How to Achieve Them (10)

Though coffee on carnivore is technically off-limits (it’s plant extract), most people on carnivore drink it anyway. So you might as well use it as a way to boost your fat intake by adding butter. This will also make is far more satiating.

Carnivore Macro Percentages: Dr. Kiltz’s Bottom Line

Carnivore diet macros align with standard keto macros: 70-80% fat, 15-20% protein, and 0-10% carbs.

On carnivore, you don’t need to worry about watching your carb intake unless you’re eating a lot of dairy.

Carnivore diet macros are easy to achieve simply by selecting and eating fatty meat, adding in animal fats like butter and tallow, and supplementing with high-fat cheese.

Most people who come to carnivore are challenged to think of meat as animal fat and some protein, rather than just muscle meat. But the sooner you accept and seek out succulent fatty meats the more enjoyable, sustainable, and nourishing your journey on carnivore will be.

Article Sources

Carnivore Diet Macros and How to Achieve Them (2024)

FAQs

Carnivore Diet Macros and How to Achieve Them? ›

The Carnivore diet macros ratio is about 50 to 75 percent fat, 20 to 35 percent protein, and 0 to 5 percent carbs. To hit these macros, prioritize fatty cuts of meat (chuck, ribeye, chicken thigh), fatty fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies), and eggs. The good news is that you needn't sweat carb limits on Carnivore.

How to calculate macros for carnivore diet? ›

Carnivore diet macros align with standard keto macros: 70-80% fat, 15-20% protein, and 0-10% carbs. On carnivore, you don't need to worry about watching your carb intake unless you're eating a lot of dairy.

How do you get enough nutrients on a carnivore diet? ›

Bone broth, beef, octopus, salmon, eggs, beef liver, and chicken are all fantastic ways to ensure you hit those targets. Eating these foods regularly satisfies your meat cravings and provides crucial nutrient needs.

How do I make sure I get enough fat on a carnivore diet? ›

So the simplest way to get enough fat in your diet is to prioritize red meat, wild game, and fatty fish. Bison, beef, game, salmon, sardines, clams, oysters, mussels, kippers, mackerel, duck, and anything else that is closer to the dark/red meat of the spectrum.

How much protein do you need a day on the carnivore diet? ›

Aim for about 1.2 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, depending on your activity level, health goals, and body composition. For example, a 70-kilogram (154-pound) individual with a moderately active lifestyle might consume 112-154 grams of protein per day.

What is the 80 20 rule for carnivore diet? ›

Some carnivore enthusiasts even go for an 80/20 carnivore diet. This means 80% fat and 20% protein — no carbs at all. This fat-to-protein ratio carnivore diet is typically for experienced people on a carnivore diet.

How do I figure out how many macros to eat? ›

Calculate Your Macros

Since each gram of carbohydrate and protein contains 4 calories, and each gram of fat contains 9 calories, you can calculate your macro needs as follows: Carbohydrates: Daily calories * 0.40 / 4 = grams of carbs per day. Proteins: Daily calories * 0.30 / 4 = grams of proteins per day.

How can I speed up my weight loss on carnivore? ›

How to Lose Weight on the Carnivore Diet: Additional Tips to Help You Shed Some Fat Fast
  1. Get a solid 8 hours of sleep each night. ...
  2. Increase your protein intake slightly if you're not seeing results. ...
  3. Add some intermittent fasting into your routine. ...
  4. Start incorporating more physical activity into your life.
Jan 12, 2023

How many calories should I eat on a carnivore diet? ›

Carnivore diet proponents aren't usually concerned about counting calories. However, you should aim to meet your daily caloric needs, which range between 1,600 to 2,200 for women and 2,000 to 3,200 for men.

How many eggs a day on carnivore diet? ›

More eggs can support muscle gain, while fewer may be better for weight loss. You can also consider just consuming egg whites to lower your calorie and fat intake. In general, though, many on the carnivore diet consume between 2 to 6 eggs daily as part of their meal plan.

What happens if you eat carbs on a carnivore diet? ›

Do the carnivore diet and carbohydrates mix well? Digestion problems can arise if you eat carbohydrates on the carnivore diet. This can result from a spike in blood sugar, which can cause heartburn, bloating, or nausea, affecting how food is digested.

How much creatine should I take on a carnivore diet? ›

Based on protocols, a person would have to consume about 3 grams of creatine per day in their diet, especially as they age. For those who are on a carnivore diet, their diet would typically provide 1-2 grams of creatine (*). As for creatine in supplement form, the recommended dosages may vary.

How many net carbs should I eat on a carnivore diet? ›

Unlike keto, which limits carbs to a certain number per day, the carnivore diet aims for zero carbs per day. You eat only meat, fish, eggs and some animal products; you exclude all other food groups — including vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

What is the fat to protein ratio for carnivore diet for weight loss? ›

A common approach for those on a carnivore diet is to target a fat to protein ratio by calories—often around 2:1 or 3:1. This essentially means consuming double or triple the amount of calories from fat as from protein.

How do you measure macros for meat? ›

MEASURING MEAT

Water is removed when cooking meat, which shrinks the size and weight. So, 4 ounces of cooked meat could have easily been 6 ounces of raw meat. To get a more accurate count, you should weigh your meat before cooking it.

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