The Carnivore diet seems like a straightforward proposition. Just eat meat, lose weight, and feel great, right?
That approach may work for some, but it’s bound to have a high failure rate. Why? Because it ignores macros.
Take protein, for instance. Too much or too little of this essential macro can make or break your Carnivore diet.
Later, we’ll cover Carnivore protein intake and give tips for managing your Carnivore macros. First, though, let’s talk about the diet itself.
What Is A Carnivore Diet?
It’s no secret what the Carnivore diet entails. You eat meat. And lots of it.
Along with meat, carnivores eat seafood, salt, animal-based fats, eggs, and sometimes dairy. All plant foods—fruits, vegetables, nuts, spices, etc.—are forbidden.
Because the Carnivore diet forbids plants, it’s naturally low in carbs. It’s low enough, in fact, to qualify as a Keto diet.
Benefits of Carnivore
A well-formulated Carnivore diet (we’ll talk macros soon!) promotes the fat-burning state called ketosis. Being in ketosis may bring benefits such as:
- More stable energy
- Clearer cognition
- Craving control[*]
- Weight loss[*]
- Reduced inflammation[*]
- And other benefits
Carnivore also qualifies as an elimination diet. Because it lances so many food groups, many people (especially those with gut issues) may find Carnivore a helpful form of gut rest.
Risks of Carnivore
If you have gut problems or want to simplify your Keto diet, carnivore might be worth a shot. But consider these risks before you start.
First, eliminating plants makes it harder to get vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Eating organ meats mitigates the micronutrient concern, but you won’t find much fiber on carnivore.
Is a low-fiber diet okay? For folks with gut issues, it’s probably more than okay.[*] Generally, though, higher fiber intake correlates with better digestive and cardiovascular health.[*][*]
Want to reap the benefits of Carnivore with the addition of fiber? Consider going animal-based.
Also, too much saturated fat (the primary fatty acid from animals) and too little fiber may raise LDL cholesterol levels.[*][*] (Higher LDL correlates with higher heart disease risk.[*]) Be sure to monitor your bloodwork with your medical professional if you go all-meat.
Should You Track Carnivore Diet Macros?
In the beginning, at least, it’s wise to track your carnivore macros. Some explanation will help.
If you want to benefit from ketosis, macro management matters. In particular, you need to avoid carbs like it’s your job.
That’s easy enough on the Carnivore diet. Meat is mainly carb-free anyway.
But you also need to get fat and protein roughly correct. Why? Because these nutrients impact your ability to burn fat and make ketones too.
For example, if you only eat lean chicken breast, you probably won’t enter Keto-mode. An excess of protein (without any fat) increases:
- Insulin levels
- Gluconeogenesis (internal production of glucose)[*]
Both factors suppress ketogenesis.
And if you only eat beef tallow, you’ll enter ketosis, but your muscle mass will suffer. Tracking macros allows you to find the right balance.
Tracking macros also means tracking calories, a fundamental strategy for weight loss. In one study, folks who kept a daily food log lost nearly twice the weight as folks who didn’t.[*]
Protein On Carnivore
For any Keto diet, it makes sense to set a protein goal and work backward. After hitting your protein target, fill in the rest with fat.
Why start with protein? Because you need a constant supply of amino acids from dietary protein to maintain muscle, heal wounds, and synthesize hormones.[*]
You don’t need a constant supply of dietary carbs or dietary fat. Your body has backup systems—glycogen, gluconeogenesis, and body fat—for those macros.
But you don’t have a backup system for amino acids—unless you count lean mass. And you probably aren’t keen on cannibalizing muscle to meet those needs.
The RDA for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, but this target merely aims to prevent deficiency. We should ask instead: how much protein do you need to support optimal health?
It depends on your activity level. According to a paper published in Food and Function, here’s the daily protein intake you need to support:[*]
- Low activity: 1 gram per kilogram body weight (90 grams for a 200-pound person)
- Moderate activity: 1.3 grams per kilogram body weight (120 grams for a 200-pound person)
- High activity: 1.6 grams per kilogram body weight (150 grams for a 200-pound person)
Don’t worry. You don’t need a Carnivore diet macro calculator to figure this out. Just input your biometrics (and dietary goals) into the Carb Manager app, log your meals, and behold your automatically-calculated protein intake.
What Should Your Carnivore Macros Be?
A Carnivore diet is high in fat, high in protein, and very low in carbs. In other words, Carnivore macros align with high-protein Keto macros.
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. Beyond honey, animal products don’t have them.
The less-than-optimal news? We don’t fully understand the long-term effects of meat-only diets.
Will restricting fiber and other phytonutrients hurt you down the road? It might.
It might also make attending weddings a challenge. Hey Ethel, where’s the dang carnivore option on this RSVP?
Even so, it’s clear Carnivore has helped many people.
Tracking Micros on Carnivore
Along with macronutrients, you should also track micronutrients on Carnivore. Carb Manager makes this easy.
The best way to ensure you check your micro-boxes? Eat nose to tail (organ meats, etc.)—not just muscle meats like steak and chicken breast.
Beef liver in particular is like nature’s multivitamin. If you eat a few ounces per day, you’ll cover most of your bases.
Carnivore Diet Recipes
Ready to form a carnivore diet meal plan? These recipes from the Carb Manager kitchen will get you started:
Carnivore Butter Basted Ribeye Steak
Carnivore Crispy Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings
Carnivore Salmon Burgers With Cloud Buns
Ultimate Keto Carnivore Chicken Liver Pâté
Carnivore Keto Ground Beef Meatball Bake
Using Carb Manager to Track Carnivore Macros
If you want to lose weight, maintain muscle, or benefit from ketosis, you’ll want to track your Carnivore macros.
Fantastic, you might be thinking. Another task to jam up my to-do list.
Understandable. There’s effort involved, but it’s probably less than you think.
Carb Manager does 95% of the work for you. Simply punch in what you ate, and the app does the rest to calculate daily macros, calories, micronutrients, and much more.
Too much work still? Save even more time with:
- Voice dictation. Log meals on the go with a few brief words.
- Visual Snap. Take a photo of your meal, and the AI automatically logs the food items for you. (You’ll think you’re living in a sci-fi movie.)
- Custom meals. Eat the same thing frequently? Save custom meals for one-click convenience.
Yet Carb Manager isn’t just about saving time. It’s about spending your time wisely on the path toward achieving your health goals.
That’s right. Whether you’re Carnivore, Keto, Paleo, or just trying to eat better, there’s no downside to managing your nutrition. It’s always time well spent.