Paleo Macros: Do You Need To Track Them?
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Paleo Macros: Do You Need To Track Them?

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Paleo Macros: Do You Need To Track Them?

Posted a year ago

Brian Stanton

Brian Stanton


Dr. Kevin R. Gendreau

Dr. Kevin R. Gendreau

Author and Scientific Reviewer

Expert Approved

To eat a Paleo diet is to eat an ancestral diet. That means grains, refined sugar, seed oils and processed foods are out.  Fruit, nuts, vegetables, healthy fats, and high-quality protein sources are in. 

Must you track Paleo macros? Not necessarily, but you might want to consider it. 

For instance, tracking macros (and calories) can help you avoid overeating. Walnuts may be Paleo-approved, but mainlining a jumbo bag of walnuts isn’t a savvy weight loss strategy. 

And just because cave dwellers didn’t track macros doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Logging your foods helps you stay accountable to your health goals

In this article, you’ll learn the whats, whys, and hows of macro tracking on the Paleo diet and its more restrictive cousin, the AIP (autoimmune protocol). Keep reading. 

What Are the Proper Macronutrient Ratios for the Paleo Diet? 

There are no “proper” macro ratios for the Paleo diet. 

Technically, any combo of Paleo-approved foods (meat, fish, nuts, fruit, vegetables, tubers, eggs, etc.) would be okay. Check out this Paleo shopping list to see what qualifies. 

For example, you could eat a high-carb Paleo diet (lots of sweet potatoes), a high-protein Paleo diet (lots of meat and fish), a high-fat Keto Paleo diet (lots of healthy fats plus protein and veggies), or some combination. You could even oscillate between these eating patterns by day or meal. 

But that doesn’t mean every macro strategy brings the same result. Some people may thrive on a high-carb Paleo diet, but others may feel perpetually hungry as the pounds slowly pile on. 

The solution is to try different macro strategies. Let’s explore why. 

3 Reasons To Track Macros on Paleo

Some people thrive on Paleo with zero macro consideration. They intuitively eat the right amounts, get enough protein, and don’t need extra motivation to seal the bag of dark chocolate almonds. 

But most of us would benefit from some macro tracking. Here’s why. 

#1: Weight management

If you want to lose weight, consider logging your meals. In one study, participants who kept a daily food journal lost about double the weight as controls.[*

The simple act of recording led to less munching. No weight loss diet required. 

But wait, you might be thinking, isn’t Paleo supposed to be an intuitive way of eating? Our ancestors didn’t need to record their meals to stay lean and athletic. 

Well, no. But our ancestors also didn’t have unlimited access to food. They weren’t tempted at 9 PM to have an extra scoop of dairy-free ice cream. 

But we might be, so we need extra motivation and accountability to avoid temptation. That’s what your trusty Carb Manager app is for. 

#2: Muscle maintenance and growth

Like having muscle on your frame? Then it pays to prioritize protein intake

Protein contains amino acids (like leucine) necessary for muscle protein synthesis. Without amino acids, building or maintaining muscle is impossible. 

The RDA for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, but research suggests that active people need 1.3-1.6 grams.[*] That’s 80-100 grams of protein per day for a 140-pound person. 

To ensure you’re getting enough protein, track your macros for 1-3 days and observe your results. You may find you’re falling a bit short. 

#3: Metabolic health

Tracking macros can help manage blood sugar and insulin levels. Why? Because different macros (fat, protein, and carbs) have different blood sugar impacts. 

Fat has a small impact. Carbs do not. 

Why do you think low-carb diets help with type 2 diabetes?[*] They limit the macro (carbs) that raises blood sugar the most. 

The AIP and AIP Macros

The autoimmune protocol (AIP) is a more-restrictive version of Paleo. Specifically, it’s a Paleo diet minus eggs, nuts, seeds, coffee, and nightshades. 

The goal of the AIP is to decrease unnecessary immune activity (aka inflammation) by eliminating autoimmune “trigger foods.” Eliminating these trigger foods may help a damaged gut to heal. (Leaky gut underlies conditions like IBD, celiac, and Hashimoto’s disease[*].)

Why track macros on the AIP? Because adjusting your macros can reduce inflammation and, therefore, autoimmune symptoms.

For example, a Keto AIP diet can harness the anti-inflammatory benefits of being in ketosis.[*] Plus, eliminating carbs may starve bad bacteria in the gut. 

Overeating fruit sugar (fructose) may also be a concern on the AIP. It can cause gut issues and may impact blood sugar regulation in certain individuals.[*][*] Track your macros to ensure you’re at a tolerable level of fructose.

Another consideration for those with autoimmune conditions is food sensitivities. If you diligently track your meals and any accompanying symptoms, you’ll be better able to pinpoint which foods cause problems

Establishing Your Paleo Macros

Which Paleo diet macros ratio is right for you? That will take some tinkering to find out. 

For starters, understand that most Paleo diets are relatively low-carb diets. This is a natural consequence of eliminating grains, legumes, and refined sugar

An initial Paleo macros ratio might look like 25% carbs, 25% protein, and 50% fat. From there, you can modify based on your health goals and personal comfort. 

If you’re highly active (an endurance athlete, say), you might perform better at higher carb intakes. But, then again, you might not. 

And if you’re trying to lose weight, improve your metabolic health, or reduce inflammation, consider reducing carbs to 5-10% of your daily calories. Keeping carbs low unlocks the benefits of Keto dieting. 

Whatever you do with carbs and fat, keep protein in the 20-35% range. Your lean mass will appreciate it.  

Tracking Your Paleo and AIP Journey

Tracking macros sounds like a chore. Great, another thing on my to-do list. 

That’s why most people don’t bother. The hassle factor seems too high. 

But these people haven’t tried the Carb Manager app. They haven’t joined the 3 million health-conscious folks in the Carb Manager community. 

With Carb Manager, macro tracking is a snap. Just log your meals (start typing a food, and it pops right up), and the app does all the heavy lifting for you. Macros, micros, calories, and more—all presented like a team of high-powered consultants were on the job. 

And that’s not even half of it. You can customize based on diet (Paleo macro calculator, anyone?), track intermittent fasting windows, set calorie goals, enjoy our collection of Paleo diet recipes, and much more. 

Our ancestors didn’t have Carb Manager, but you do. Modern dietary success, here you come.