Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
30 Jul

The Definitive Guide to the Primal Eating Plan

Food Scale

Do the Math

In my recent Context of Calories post, I explained how the different macronutrients we eat at each meal (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) have different effects in the body. I suggested that, despite their raw calorie values, it’s far more important to get a lasting intuitive sense of how much of each macronutrient you need and when you need it (or not).

But how do you do that? How do you figure out the proper number of calories – and breakdown of fats, protein and carbs – to accomplish your fitness and health goals? To lose weight? Lose fat? Gain muscle? Maintain status quo? Run marathons?

In fact, most popular daily diets look at overall calories as the main factor in weight loss and weight gain. The age-old conservation of energy Conventional Wisdom says that “a calorie is a calorie.” From there most diet gurus generally prescribe some formulaic one-size-fits-all breakdown of fats, protein and carbs. A classically trained Registered Dietician will tell you that protein should be around 10-15% of calories, carbs should be 60% (and mostly from whole grains) and fat under 30%. This macronutrient breakdown stays the same regardless of how much weight you need to lose or what other goals you might have. Barry Sears has his 40/30/30 “Zone” diet. The USDA bases everything on a choice of between 2,000 and 2,500 calories a day. But, as I said earlier, it’s not that simple. Calories do have context.

The human body uses these macronutrients for a variety of different functions, some of which are structural and some of which are simply to provide energy – immediately or well into the future. Moreover, with regards to energy conservation or expenditure, the body acts as both an efficient fuel storage depot (and as a toxic “waist” site) as well as a potent generator of energy, depending largely on the hormonal signals it gets. It will store glycogen and/or fat and it will build muscle – or it will just as easily tear them all down and use them for fuel – based on input from you: what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, what you’re doing before or after you eat – even what you’re thinking when you eat. Yet because your body always seeks to achieve homeostasis over time, the notion of you trying to zero in on a precise day-to-day or meal-to-meal eating plan is generally fruitless (yes, Charlotte, some fruit is allowed). The good news in all this is that falling off the wagon once or twice this week won’t have the immediate disastrous effect that you might imagine – as long as you can keep your average intake under control and understand how the various macronutrients function over time.

Which brings me to the crux of today’s discussion. Not only is it nearly impossible to accurately gauge your exact meal-to-meal calorie and macronutrient requirements, doing so will drive you crazy. In fact, to accurately figure your true structural and functional fuel needs (and hence to achieve your goals) it’s far more effective to look at a much larger span of time, like a few weeks, and aim for an “average” consumption. Then you can review that average daily intake over weeks or months and adjust accordingly. Below, I’ll give you a way to figure a “jumping off” point to start with, but remember, our genes are accustomed to the way our ancestors ate: intermittently, sporadically, sometimes in large quantities, and sometimes not at all for days. Their bodies figured out a way to maintain homeostasis and preserve lean tissue and good health through all this and so can we. Our genes want us to be lean and fit. It’s actually quite easy as long as we eat from the long list of Primal Blueprint healthy foods and try to avoid that other list of grain-laden, sugary, processed and otherwise unhealthy foods. Realistically, we also want to allow for the occasional party-splurge, a pre-planned (or accidental) intermittent fast, an over-the-top workout or even a week of laziness. Where most people get into trouble is in miscalculating their energy needs over extended periods of time – not day-to-day. They don’t see the average amount of carbs creeping upwards, or they figure they need x amount of calories, but don’t have a clue as to what kind of food those should be coming from.

I start with these four basic principles to guide my Primal Blueprint eating style:

1) 80% of your body composition will be determined by your diet. Yes, exercise is also important to health and to speed up fat-burning and muscle-building, but most of your results will come from how you eat. I’ll write more on this later, so just trust me on this one for now. Suffice to say, people who weigh a ton and exercise a ton, but eat a ton, still tend to weigh a ton. I think I’ll have that made into a t-shirt…

2) Lean Body Mass (LBM) is the key to life. I’ve said it many times on this site: lean mass (muscle and all the rest of you that is not fat) is directly correlated with longevity and excellent health. Rather than strive to “lose weight”, most people would be better off striving to lose only fat and to build or maintain muscle. Since other organs tend to function at a level that correlates to muscle mass, the more muscle you maintain throughout life, the more “organ reserve” you’ll have (i.e. the better the rest of you will work). Refer back to rule #1 and eat to build or maintain muscle.

3) Excess body fat is bad. Most human studies show that being significantly overweight increases your risk of nearly every disease (except osteoporosis – because ironically it responds to weight-bearing activities). Fat just doesn’t look that great either. See rule #1 and eat to keep body fat relatively low.

4) Excess insulin is bad. We’ve written about it here a lot. Chronic excess insulin may be even worse than excess sugar (and we know how bad that is). All animals produce insulin, but within any species, those that produce less insulin live longer than those who produce a lot. Eat to keep insulin low.

Here is how I use these principles to guide my individual macronutrient intake:


Raw Steak

Protein takes priority. If there is ample glycogen (stored glucose) and the body is getting the rest of its energy efficiently from fats, protein will always go first towards repair or building cells or enzymes. In that context, it hardly seems fair to assign it a “burn rate” of 4 calories per gram. It’s like saying the 2×4 studs that support the walls of your house can burn nicely if you run out of firewood. They will, but I prefer to burn other fuel first. At a minimum you need .5 grams of protein per pound of lean mass/per day on average to maintain your “structure”. If you are moderately active you need .7 or .8, and if you are an active athlete you need as much as 1 gram of protein per pound of lean mass. That’s at a minimum, but it’s on a daily average. So a 155 lb moderately active woman who has 25% body fat (and thus) has 116 lb of lean body mass needs 93 grams of protein on average per day (116 x .8). If she gets 60 or 80 some days and 110 on others, she’ll still be in a healthy average range. And even if she exceeds the 110, it’s no problem if she’s eating low carb because the excess protein will convert to glucose, which will reduce her effective carbohydrate needs (see below). At 4 calories per gram, that’s between 320 and 440 calories per day in protein. It’s not that much.



If you’ve forgotten everything you ever learned in biology, just remember this and “own” it: Carbohydrate drives insulin drives fat (Cahill 1965, and Taubes 2007). The idea in the PB is to limit your carbs to only those you need to provide glucose for the brain and for some reasonable amount (certainly less than an hour) of occasional anaerobic exercise. And the truth is, you don’t even need glucose to fuel the brain. Ketones from a very-low carb diet work extremely efficiently at that task. Either way, ideally, we would like most of our daily energy to come from dietary or stored fats. Typically, (if you are at an ideal body composition now) I use a rule of thumb that 100-150 grams of carbohydrate per day is plenty to keep you out of ketosis (and ketosis is NOT a bad thing) but away from storing the excess as fat if you are the least bit active. Don’t forget that your body can make up to 200 grams of glycogen from fats and protein every day, too. On the other hand, if you are looking to lose body fat, keeping carbs to under 80 grams per day will help immensely in lowering insulin and taking fat out of storage. On the other other hand, if you are insistent on training hard for long periods of time, you would add more carbs (say, 100 per day extra for every extra hour you train hard). It becomes a matter of doing the math and experimenting with the results.

Ironically, it’s tough to exceed 100 grams of carbs even if you eat tons of colorful vegetables – as long as you eat like our ancestors and consume no grains, no sugars and few starchy vegetables (potatoes, yams, beets, legumes, etc). Even if you eat a ton of vegetables AND a fair amount of fruit, you’ll be hard pressed to exceed 150 grams of carbs on average per day. Our remote ancestors couldn’t average 150 grams of carbs a day if they tried, yet they had plenty of energy and maintained their lean mass. At 4 calories per gram that’s only between 400 and 600 calories per day. Add that in to the protein above and our sample girl is barely at 1,000 calories on the high end. So where does the rest of the fuel come from?


Olive Oil

Learn to love them. They are the fuel of choice and should become the balance of your Primal Blueprint diet. Fats have little or no impact on insulin and, as a result, promote the burning of both dietary and stored (adipose) fat as fuel. Think about this: if protein and carbs stay fairly constant (and carbs stay under 150), you can use fat as the major energy variable in your diet. Feeling like you need more fuel (and you’ve already covered your bases with protein and carbs)? Reach for something with fat. Nuts, avocados, coconut, eggs, butter, olive oil, fish, chicken, lamb, beef, the list is a long one. 100 grams of fats per day would only add 900 calories to our girl’s daily average, putting her at between 1620 and 1940 calories a day. Even if she averages somewhere between 1400 and 2200 calories per day over a few weeks, as long as she pays attention to protein and carbs, her body composition will shift to lower body fat and more desirable lean mass. If she decides to do some walking, a few brief intense weight sessions and a sprint day here and there, that process would accelerate greatly. If she gets to a point where she’s content with her body fat, she can even add in a little more fat to provide energy that she previously got from her stored fat.

The main thing I’ve figured out from eating this way for years is that I don’t need nearly as many calories to maintain health, mass, and body fat as I once thought I did – or as the Conventional Wisdom says I do. I eat 600-1000 calories per day less than when I ate a carbohydrate-based diet, yet I maintain slightly lower body fat and slightly higher muscle mass on even less training. Remember: 80% of body composition is determined by diet. The best part is that I don’t ever feel hungry because I base my eating on exactly what my 10,000-year-old genes want me to eat.

For a look at my upcoming book, The Primal Blueprint, click here. I’ve included a sneak peek at the jacket artwork, a PDF of the table of contents and full chapter summaries.

Further Reading:

Definitive Guides to:

The Primal Blueprint




Insulin, Blood Sugar and Type 2 Diabetes

Stress, Cortisol and the Adrenals

Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I have a question. Do you address ketonic state and what negative affects it has on the brain function, stress, and the physical organs.

    I know a couple of people on this diet plan of living and their eyes look dull and sunken in. There coloring is not vibrant and young as they are in their 30’s. They adhere strictly and work out with a trainer at a gym. They also have two little babies and run a large manufacturing company. What could be the issue here? I will admit they ARE skinny.

    Carol wrote on June 27th, 2012
  2. So if I am wanting to lose 30lbs. Then I need to keep my carbs under 80 grams, and still count the calories that I take in.

    Emma wrote on July 1st, 2012
  3. Hi there,

    I do have a question: you say that you eat 600-1000 calories a day less than before (something which most people would say is undesirable)and you also say that you are only slightly more lean and that you exercise a bit less. Most people wouldn’t find that to be a great trade-off, and would prefer to exercise a little bit more in exchange for having the flexibility to eat more calories. Do you have a comment about that, or have I misunderstood? (By the way, I’m a huge supporter of lower carb/high fat eating, so I’m not in any way contradicting you- I just wonder if you could clarify my curiosity about this). Thanks.

    Deb wrote on July 5th, 2012
  4. Whoops, forgot to check the ‘subscribe’ box :-)

    Deb wrote on July 5th, 2012
  5. Hi Mark.
    I am 72 years old.I am diabated and have cordic body position is going from bad to worse.My physicist advised me open heart surgery but my physical position dont permit me.plz advice some good tips for my health including exercise .
    from Anwar shah.

    anwar wrote on July 26th, 2012
  6. umm mark? our ancestors lived on nuts fruits and vegetables, fact. Once in a while they would kill something and eat it, no more than once a day.

    I don’t know your definition of primal but your just exercising in bare feet and then eating lots of fat doesn’t make you primal bro sorry.

    ian wrote on August 15th, 2012
  7. My bad mark. I like the website.

    ian wrote on August 15th, 2012
  8. So I don’t eat red meat and only eat chicken, fish and bacon a few times a week…as a recovering veggo it’s taking me time to not feel nauseaus eating animals.

    So I eat lots of eggs, and yoghurt and cheese but no milk. I also like cream in my coffee.
    Other than this I am completely fructose and grain free. 4 months in I have not lost a kilo and am probably 10kgs overweight.

    JaneK wrote on September 10th, 2012
  9. I’ve come down from 211 lbs to 175 lbs, yet I still have the EXACT same body fat percentage that I started with when I started a diet program similar to Paleo. The Tanita Body Fat Analyzer used at the weight loss clinic I’m a part of says I’m 45% body fat.
    The clinic allows 100 grams or less of carbohydrates in the food plan and a moderate amount of fats. I noticed that I could accelerate my weight loss by cutting back on carbs so lowered them even more. They advise not to go under 40 carb grams.
    My usual day consists of a breakfast of an egg white omelet and whole grain toast (optional), lunch of grilled chicken salad, snack of nuts like almonds or peanuts and dinner of grilled fish like salmon or tilapia drizzled with olive oil and a side of salad greens. Exercise consists of resistance training (lifting heavy weight) and walking. I don’t know if I did something wrong or if I just have lots of stubborn body fat. Perhaps my bf percentage will decrease as I lose more weight. My goal is around 135 lbs.

    I enjoy reading your articles. Any advice?

    Risse wrote on September 25th, 2012
  10. I know this works. I tried to go gluten free and just happened to do the same diet as above. I felt much better and lost 32 lbs in 4 months.

    I suspected the gluten issues were from GMO grain. I bought NON GMO Organic Wheat berries, ginded them up and made my own bread. Results: I felt just as bad as if I ate store bought bread. No more grains for me.

    Daniel wrote on October 19th, 2012
  11. Dear Mark,

    I’m 63, female, not on any meds, take Vit C, D, Chromimium, spirulina, cod liver oil, Multi B vit, natural progesterone. I have around 16kg to lose. I started a protocol similar to your (Atkins) a week ago, i.e. protein, fats, 20g of salad type meals per day (no starches/fruit etc).

    I have not had any trouble sticking to it, feel satiated and not craving sugars and grains.

    At the end of the first week, I only lost 0.3kg. I was expecting a better result.

    Can you give me your thoughts on this result.


    Emma wrote on October 19th, 2012
    • I can give you an advice: DITCH the Atkins diet.

      It basicly makes people be afraid of carbs to the point they don’t eat enough veggies (because they might stop their ketosis -.-).

      Eat plenty of veggies, some fruits (they’re so healthy, screw the fact that they’re high in fructose!) lots of fishes (rich in omega 3 e.g. salmon).
      Don’t rely too much on bacon and fatty meats…they’re high in saturated fats (and they’re ARE inflammatory!!!) – I know it is quite umhhh… unpopular opinion among MDA readers :)

      And the last MOST important: don’t make it just about weight loss – it’s about a lifestyle change! Don’t think “I’m gonna eat that chocolate muffin once I’m gonna loose those 15 pounds as a reward!”. Don’t reward yourself with food, you’re not a dog!!!

      Jackie wrote on October 20th, 2012
  12. I eat mixed raw nuts most ever day Iam not listing any more weight but Iam not gaining eather what should I do ?

    Alisha wrote on December 12th, 2012
  13. I find this website very interesting and informative. Unfortunately I can’t really follow the diet since I’m a vegetarian and from what I understand that’s pretty much a no no on this diet. I understand the science you’re outlining but I also have to point out that there are a lot of vegetarian buddhist cultures in the world who live remarkably long and well. Wheteher our ancestors really ate this much protein is debatable and probably depended a lot on location and season. I would also like to point out that that the kind of meat they ate was likely VERY different from the farm stock we have been modifying either through breeding or genetically for thousands of years now. High protein diet is an interesting concept but since you advise against some of the highest protein contributors like legumes I dont think it is something a vegetarian can achieve on your diet.

    Tina wrote on January 19th, 2013
    • It’s not a high protein diet. It’s high fat, adequate protein.

      Scratch wrote on March 18th, 2013
  14. so with a diet of beef/steak (red meats) and eggs butter
    would be a sure fire weightloss plan

    maybe dozen eggs
    1 stick or more butter
    1-1.5lb red meat

    = iron good nutrients from eggs b vitamins
    70% fat per meal

    mini munching all day

    would this be weightloss worthy?

    $teak&3gg$ wrote on March 18th, 2013
    • I’d probably sat go easy on the dozen eggs a day & Stick of butter!

      You’d be better of with a ton of greens, broccli,carrots & other good stuff. 3-4 eggs a day should be great, along with upto half a stick of butter.

      I love meat as well, but protein should be just enough to ensure muscle maintenance. Fats are the key.


      Vishnu wrote on March 18th, 2013
  15. I’ve been researching this primal, ancient way of eating and you have some of the best information I’ve come across! Thank-you for breaking it down in such a way that it will make sense when I’m at the grocery store, trying to figure out, not only what I should be eating, but how much of it and why. Your website is fantastic – very inspiring. Thank-you!

    Nicole wrote on April 14th, 2013
  16. So, I’m confused about a few things (I come in with experience with The slowcarb diet from Tim Ferris’ “The Four Hour Body.) That program, which has been effective for me, but I find VERY boring, focusses on insulin levels as much or more than blood sugar levels. So, it bans grains, like Mark. But it also bans all fruits (unlike Mark), and milk products (which cause high insulin response even though they drive little blood sugar.) And, it is heavily based on eating legumes (low insulin response.)

    So here are my questions:
    – Why no legumes?
    – What about milk products?
    – Why fruits (and why concentrate on total carbs, when blood sugar and insulin can spike when you eat the wrong things, even if IN TOTAL you stay at a level that is near ketosis.)
    – If you can stay near ketosis and burn fat based on keeping OVERALL carb consumption low, then it seems like our bodies must react fairly slowly. What is known about this, and can the effects of “falling off the wagon and eating simple carbs” be masked or slowed in some way?

    Thanks in advance for your insights!!!!!

    MIke wrote on April 25th, 2013
  17. I used to be a sugar burner (eat lots of carbs) when I was living in Mexico. My diet would consist of tortillas, meat, beans, rice, fruit and vegetables and on my cheat days desserts and some junk food. I did interval traing 3 to 4 times a week and I was in the best shape of my life and my weight was ideal (120lb) with low fat percentage. I was happy. Maybe it was not the healthiest but I liked how my body looked and felt. I did not have any health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, prediabetic etc. Then I moved to Canada about a year ago and it all changed. The moment I got here I started to gain weight even though I tried very hard to eat the way I used to back home (balanced and taking care of portion size). I´m 39 years old and I´m guessing I must have gained about 8 to 10 pounds (I do not have a scale, but my clothes don´t fit and I feel heavier) So I did a lot of reasearch to see why was I gaining weigth in spite of “doing the right thing” This is how I came upon this website. So I went primal about 5 months ago and I love the diet, but still I can not loose the weight I have gained. My diet consists of all kinds of meats and fish, full fat dairy (cheese, cottage cheese, full heavy cream and butter, that´s it) vegetables and ocasionally fruit as dessert. No sugar, no bad carbs. What am I doing wrong? My intake of carbs must be between 80 to 120 grams a day and I´m sure I do not eat more than 100 grams of protein. I walk for 45 min. 3 to 4 times a day and I still do interval training 2 to 3 times a week (in my training I include body weight exercises with sprinting). I have never been over wieght (not even now) but I miss my lean body. I hate to see some belly fat, lower back fat and some love handles) I want my clothes to fit again :( :( I´m so frustrated. Can please some body tell what the heck am I doing wrong??? I can not afford all organic and grass fed. Could it be because of the hormones in the meat? Please help. I´m quite sure I´m not eating tons of calories. What is going on? There was a time I was very stressed out and had insomnia, but that was even back then when I was living in México and it did not affect my weigth at all. Now I try to keep stress under control and I sleep around 7 to 8 hours most of the time. I don´t drink or smoke.

    I was more careless about my diet before and was lean and now I´m strict and I gain weight. :( :( Any ideas??

    lilaalejandra wrote on May 5th, 2013
    • Lo Siento! How frustrating to have this happen. I too had been slim for most of my life, hit 37 and neede “hormones” according to my doctor, on came the weight, slowly. Fast forward and viola, 30 pounds of yuck! (following the low fat, eat less, exercise more route to failure of course – in my youth I was “fine” on carbs but that all changes with our maturing body)
      Just a thought that you may be missing some Vitamin D for starters. Plus, there may be some hormone issues – we change through the years and the 30’s and 40’s have a reputation for being where problems seem to say “hello”. I’d say try to find a primal friendly doctor to speak with to check levels of those types of things. Also, the one thing that helped me the most was to eat more fat (I added coconut oil and butter) and it seems that I only gain weight if I eat grains (but I don’t anymore, hurts my tummy) or I make ice cream disappear (yeah, did that last weekend, suffering the effects now). I will not do that anymore either…… Keep trying!!!

      2Rae wrote on August 1st, 2013
  18. My other half and I are about to start the primal diet HOWEVER… He wants to lose weight whilst I’m desperately trying to put weight on!! Eating rubbish for the last few months has not helped me so far…the comments on here sre geared towards losing weight but this diet makes so much sense to me…how can o put on weight whilst being on it?

    Sophie wrote on May 8th, 2013
    • Same here! There’s not much info in the discussions here on how to gain weight for someone like me who wants extra mass. With the amount of calories I need, should I be eating more carbs to gain mass or still stay below 100g to minimize fat gains? I find it hard to stay that low and still eat enough calories , and I get nauseous when I eat too much fat in my diet

      Alfi wrote on August 10th, 2013
  19. How do i know what is right for my body? i weigh 173 and am looking to get down to 145lbs. How do i figure my protein intake based on where i want to be, not to maintain? i am not sure what my fat % is but last time I check it was HIGH, 32%. Any help would be great. I want to start this program but do not know where to begin; do I buy a book? Does it have a meal plan?

    HELP :)

    Amanda wrote on June 13th, 2013
    • Yes, buy a book and just start eating real food. Eat the foods you like first and see how that goes. I bought some cookbooks so that I could help my mind switch from grain eater to meat/veggie eater with added fun things like fat and nuts. It will take some time to heal your body, depends on where you are healthwise how long it will take. However, after about a month you should start to notice little things here and there that you are starting to take for granted – knees don’t hurt today, I’m standing more than sitting, I’m getting more done earlier, I’m sleeping all night….. good stuff. Have fun and try different things after you start feeling really good.

      2Rae wrote on August 26th, 2013
  20. Hey guys, with all this talk of losing weight and burning fat on primal diet…enter me with a question to the opposite! How do I GAIN weight??????? Conventional wisdom says to get most of your extras from carbs, but I’m guessing with primal you get your extras from fat? If so, how do I do that?

    I’m just recovering from gluten/lactose sensitivity and am 25 pounds UNDERweight. Although I feel alot better with the exclusion of lactose and gluten, I still think things could be much more better. Plus I’m not gaining any weight. Primal makes sense to me and I’m interested in trying it, but still trying to figure out how in the world I’m going to implement this?

    turtle wrote on August 26th, 2013
    • It sounds like your body needs to heal a bit more. Don’t worry too much about gaining weight at this point, your body will do that when it’s ready. To get more fat I add it to coffee, bone broth, cook with it, etc. To get it to “mix in” you can use a blender for the coffee and bone broth, most people don’t like drinking the fat floating on the top of drinks when they first start adding it in. I love the way fresh, lightly cooked veggies taste swimming in butter.
      As you get further into healing you may find you need to exclude something else or can add things that you may not tolerate presently. You will get better as listening to your body and what it needs. Just start eating good clean foods, keep the grains, beans and sugar out of the menu.

      2Rae wrote on August 26th, 2013
  21. i’m asian and we eat lots of rice since we were born…is rice really that bad ??

    primal burn wrote on September 8th, 2013
  22. Or consider that our paleo ancestors only lived for 12 to 20 years average. Even as early as 300-400 years ago, our ancestors, the early colonials, were living 30-40 years max. So, if we follow their diets, is this the lifespan we can expect?

    Hoss-n-feffer wrote on December 1st, 2013
  23. Mark, in the Atkins list of vegetables, only a small apple has 21g of carbs, even more than you should eat in the first phase of the atkin’s diet per day. You say that it’s tough to exceed 100 grams of carbs even if you eat tons of colorful vegetables. How much fruit and vegetables should I eat per day to lose weight and get the enought nutrients?
    Thank you!

    Sara wrote on December 29th, 2013
  24. I’ve been eating primal for about 2 months. … I want a huge processed food eater so this hadn’t been super hard…plus I feel so good. The first month I meticulously counted everything and it stressed me out and I fell off the wagon.
    This last month I decided .. Throw out the scale and listen to my body.
    I listened to when I was hungry…. I questioned myself to see what I really needed… I listened to my body after my workouts and gauged my energy .
    From so many years of torturing myself with numbers I feel like I have finally won the battle with food. I view it as energy now but also something to be thankful for…. I don’t hate it anymore… I don’t hate my body … And remarkably I’m shrinking …. My abs are showing , my triceps have some definition. It’s been such a long battle losing 130 pounds all on my own and it was hard on my body, mind and spirit. I feel amazing … I’m going to let my body heal and I believe the body I’ve Envisioned for myself will show up :) thank you Mark!!!!!!!!

    Kelly wrote on January 5th, 2014
  25. Mark, I’ve been reading some different stuff lately and am wondering what do you think about the China Study? Mostly veggies, little fat and animal protein.

    Sheila wrote on January 22nd, 2014
  26. I’m having trouble eating only about 50 grams protein. I think I’m eating closer to 100. Also craving salt and fat very badly. I think I only need about 50 grams though. I’m 5’1″ 106 lbs and only minimal exercise due to a chronic illness. I don’t need to lose hardly any weight but I wouldn’t mind losing an inch or two off the love handles and gaining more muscle. But I’m doing paleo more just for my health. I did it 15 years ago successfully but can’t seem to lose the cravings this time. It’s been over three weeks on paleo – no nuts, no fruit, tons of greens. But I crave meat and fat and salt together. Am I overdoing the protein? If i stick to about fifty grams or so, I have no energy and am craving either fat/protein or carb/fat all day long.

    Wendy B wrote on February 7th, 2014
    • (Example…This a.m. for bfast I had half can of sardines in olive oil plus two eggs with two T. raw butter (I havent been doing butter, more coconut oil or olive oil until today I had butter) and even though my tummy is full, I have no energy and the cravings are intense for either carb/fat or more protein/fat/salt. I resisted to see if this will pass. Will it?

      Wendy B wrote on February 7th, 2014
  27. Ok, so I did the math and what it looks like is that the ratio of Protein/ Carbs/ Fat depicted in this blog post would be:

    20% Protein
    30% Carbohydrates
    50% Fat

    Is this right?


    Joe wrote on March 6th, 2014
  28. Hi there, I’ve been very interested in this eating plan for a long time, but I don’t eat any meat except fish. How can I adapt this without getting sick of fish and eggs? Plain Greek yogurt is currently a major source of protein for me.

    Sarah wrote on June 16th, 2014
  29. Excellent post. I love getting solid information on diet and this is a good one. I’m not sure I would follow this to a ‘T’ but it is a fair guideline and gives me motivation to look further into the balancing act of fats, carbs and protein.

    Sharon wrote on July 23rd, 2014
  30. Hi.

    I was wondering if going on this diet would require additional supplementation for a 47 year old menopausal female. I have been active all of my life, in the military for 30 years, maintained weight in past at 122-126 pounds (distance runner at the time), 5’5″ tall. Now weigh 163 pounds, knee and hip issues (arthritis) and am not encouraged to continue running (stop long distance….cut off is five miles now as opposed to 10-15 miles). Never had issues controlling weight until menopausal (no menses since March). Insomnia a problem and when I do sleep, it is not a deep sleep. I wake some nights throughout the night. The weight, I am sure, is a big part of the knee and hip pain issue since I have never weighed this much before ever! With menopause, weight gain has been steady and seems to have maximized at 33 pounds over usual weight.

    I am definitely a high carb eater since distance runners were typically trained to prep for competition with a carb load. I am addicted to them! I crave them crazy! Any advice for getting through the hunger and sever craves with initial start of this diet? Do you recommend supplements to quiet the crave?


    Soldier girl

    Jacki wrote on September 1st, 2014
  31. Hi! I’ve been slim most my life with an athletic build, always ate relatively healthy but bread and pasta on occasion, having no idea of gluten and lactose sensitivities. If I wanted ice cream I did but generally I was healthy. I didn’t drunk alcohol.. Three years ago I binged on rum, ice cream, pasta, pizza that was my diet for a while month. I gained 25 pounds in one month. Ever since I’ve yoyo dieted, needed my body up and seemingly intolerant to everything.

    I’ve been eating paleo for a while though not 100% and I can’t figure out what’s keeping me fat or this incredible bloating. My stomach is ROUND I look pregnant. I’ve tried eliminating all veg at one point. No difference.

    I’m now trying to eat little and often and keeping macros to under 30g carb, 1g protein per lbm and fat is medium.. Basically for my height at 5 foot it’s 80g protein, 60g day and 20g carb.

    I don’t know How to rid this balloon stomach. I look ridiculous at my height and I’m not over weight although I do want to lose 15 pounds :-\

    bonemeup wrote on November 3rd, 2014
  32. I am slightly confused by you protein calculations. In previous diets I have learned to divide my weight in pounds by 2.2 to convert to kilograms. From there I would then multiply my weight (in kilograms) by .8. I noticed you multiplied the women’s weight in pounds by .8. Why is that?

    Tricia wrote on December 4th, 2014
  33. Hey you got some cool stuff here :)

    sergey wrote on January 5th, 2015
  34. Mark:

    I have Metabolic Syndrome/Type II Diabetes and my physician wants me to eat Grain Free…Getting Carbs from Legumes, Fruits and Veggies….So in essence this is actually identical to what your book reccomends.

    Trouble I had…was I lost 20 lbs really quick I guess due to lowered inflammataion, and boom plataeu. So I decided to go lower carb….Down to 62 grams a day and still not budging. Doing Spin Classes and do some resistance training.

    Also I notices at this level of carbohydrate my workouts are suffering…I dont have any Ommph!

    My Body seems to adapt to anything…. But I think my body is wise to what I’m Doing.

    Also on Meds…So Going Below 60 grams of carbs is very uncomfortable. I cant get into Ketosis like normal folks so my brain is not happy. Actually I notice my BS numbers rising a bit especially my wakeup and post workout.

    All Seem to get better in the late afternoon.

    Joe A wrote on January 21st, 2015
  35. Hey Joe, Are you making sure you are eating enough fat? Same happened to me, didn’t realize how well I had been “conditioned” to not eat fat, but once I truly embraced the idea things have gotten much, much better.
    Here is a great way to eat some fat, I have 2 of these chocolate fat-bombs every day, and I add nuts to mine!

    Chocolate Fat Bombs
    3 TBSP Coconut Oil
    3TBSP Sun Butter (made from sesame seeds) (or nut butter of choice)
    1 TBSP Organic Honey
    1.5 TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
    2.5 TBSP grass fed salted butter
    Dash of cinnamon
    .5 tsp Vanilla Extract (add mint, coconut, and almonds, little almond joys)
    I add pecan pieces or almonds to mine
    Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl.
    Microwave for 45 seconds or until butter and coconut oil have melted.
    Stir with whisk until smooth and well combined
    Place one tablespoon of the mixture in candy mold or ice cube tray.
    Place in the freezer to allow ingredients to set up.
    These are best stored in the freezer until they are ready to be enjoyed.
    Serving Size: 1 chocolate (mix makes about 16 chocolates depending on the size of your molds)
    Calories = 56

    Mary wrote on January 21st, 2015
  36. Do you have references for “your body can make up to 200 grams of glycogen from fats and protein every day”?


    Sharon wrote on July 5th, 2015

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