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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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March 31 2010

How Much Is Too Much?

By Mark Sisson
242 Comments

Although the Primal Blueprint leaves ample room for individual determination, I do try to offer folks a clear picture of the impact different dietary and lifestyle choices have on their overall health picture. At times I even offer specific recommendations or ranges that readers can tailor to their particular needs and situations. I?m often asked, however, about the upper ceilings I would set for various elements of the PB (fat, fish oil, etc.) I thought I?d take on those questions today and cover good ground by applying a rapid fire approach for several of the most common ?excess? inquiries. Enjoy, and be sure to share your thoughts!

Protein

My general recommendation is one gram per pound of lean body mass on an average day. If you IF, it might weigh in at half that or less on your fasting days, whereas special occasions like Thanksgiving or your uncle?s annual steak fry might tip the intake scale at 1.5 grams per pound or so of lean mass. For the average active person, these amounts will be well utilized and fully sufficient. Any more than that, however, and you run the risk of excess protein being converted to glucose, which of course defeats the purpose of a low/lower carb diet. If you?re adequately hydrated (which doesn’t take much), eating an overall alkaline diet and ensuring adequate intake of bone supportive nutrients like magnesium, calcium and vitamins D and K, the common (but generally outdated) concerns about kidney load and osteoporosis aren?t significant issues.

Fat

Eating Primally will almost always mean that more than half of your calories will come from fat, and there?s no reason to be concerned about that – in fact it’s a reason to rejoice. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate at least that and, in some cases, considerably more. There isn?t really an upper limit for fat intake. For the vast majority of us, a useful way to approach the fat question is to first dial in your protein intake and then look at what carb intake you?re shooting for. (Check out the Primal Blueprint Carb Curve for a good summary of ranges.) You could potentially go zero carb ? although the prospect is extremely impractical (and boring) for most people and must be well thought out and rather meticulously executed. After accounting for adequate protein and desired Primal carbs, you can fill out the rest of your caloric needs with fat, prioritizing the cleanest saturated fats you have financial and logistical access to, then monounsaturated fats and then healthy, intact polyunsaturated fats like certain nuts and fish oils.

Conveniently, that brings me to our next category in question?.

Fish Oil

I generally recommend 1-3 grams of fish oil each day to counter inflammation and balance out dietary omega-6 content toward a healthier ratio approaching 1:1. The more Primal and clean you?re eating, the less you need. As for upper limits, it depends. More than three grams a day on an otherwise healthy diet (and/or in conjunction with certain medications/high alcohol intake) can thin your blood too much and impair its necessary clotting ability. Keep in mind not everyone is affected equally by a higher dose. Some people do fine with higher amounts. Other people notice excess thinning at well below three grams. For people with certain medical conditions, dosages above three grams have served as effective therapeutic treatment options. Of course, just because a certain dosage has been used in scientific studies doesn?t mean it?s necessary or advisable to take that much if you have a given condition. Talk to your doctor, and keep in mind that quality fish oil isn?t the cheapest thing in the world. One-three grams is nothing to sneeze at. It?s potent stuff. There?s no use taking more than you?ll fully benefit from. Better to take an adequate dose and spend the extra money on better quality food than to down megadoses of fish oil you don?t need.

Chocolate

I don?t want to rain too much on anyone?s parade here, chocolate lovers being a uniquely passionate lot. Nonetheless, I?ll be straight with you. First, there?s the obvious: carb content. (Check the sugar and total carb content on your respective package and decide how it will figure into your Primal plan.) Those of us who have a penchant for the highest cocoa contents (or even the raw nibs) have a longer leash so to speak. Less sugar equals fewer carbs equals more chance to enjoy more chocolate. Yes? Well, yes, but there?s a little more to the story. One small study found that cocoa powder elicited more insulin release than other flavorings ? irrespective of the macronutrient breakdown of the food. Researchers didn?t know what to make of the results, but postulated that the Pavlovian principle may be at work here. (I?m seriously not making this up.) The more we love our chocolate, the more our bodies evidently betray us. Although it?s hardly enough to get me to forgo a good piece of chocolate, it does underscore the need for personally instituted moderation.

Bacon

There?s no such thing as too much bacon.

Butter

Ditto.

Fruit

The above principle applies here as well. Fruit can play a healthy role in the PB, but too much can backfire. This is one area to watch ? especially if you?re trying to lose weight. Tailor your fruit intake to your desired Primal carb intake. As luck would have it, higher ORAC level fruits also tend to be lower on the glycemic scale. Berries and cherries generally offer the most antioxidant bang with the least carb buck. Check out this carb chart (PDF) for useful carbohydrate estimates on all your favorites.

Alcohol

I say none is best. However, research generally supports the health benefits of 1-2 drinks a day (1 for the average woman and 2 for the average man). More than that, and the benefits begin to plummet pretty quickly. Certain alcohols can be reasonable Primal indulgences, and some like red wine can offer unique and potentially therapeutic health benefits. That said, moderation is key. That extra indulgent Saturday night at your cousin?s wedding won?t do much harm beyond that splitting headache the next day, but making a habit of it won?t do you any favors. (Think impaired brain and liver functioning.)

Sleep

The Definitive Guide last week got people talking about the suggested ceiling for sleep. A number of studies connect several downsides, including higher obesity and diabetes risk, to longer sleep duration (9-10 hours or more). The consensus seems to support the average of 7-8 hours a night as optimal. However, people have legitimate differences in sleep need. The vast majority of folks probably fall into the average need range, but there are always outliers. If you keep a healthy lifestyle and a genuinely good sleep schedule, but have to drag yourself through the day with less than nine hours of shut eye, you?re likely in this group. I think the key here is quality over quantity. Remember that college roommate who slept through his classes until noon or later? He was likely up well past midnight (doing who knows what). When you miss out on those early hours of deep sleep, it?s tempting for the body to stay in bed and try to make up for the deficiency. If you?re healthy and consistently in tune with your circadian rhythm, you?re likely in tune with what your body really needs.

Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think. What are your upper limits for the above ? and other ? Primal matters? What logic and experiences tell you how much is too much?

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242 thoughts on “How Much Is Too Much?”

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    1. Perfect timing for this “too much” subject. I was just having an internal argument with myself over having extra bacon with my morning omelette. While still not letting the calories run wild, the extra bacon seems to prolong my energy further throughout the day. Glad to hear, more bacon can be OK.

      As for chocolate, my 85% plus (especially Godiva %85) keeps me on track with just 2 small pieces almost daily. Maybe it is the psychological benefit or the “mood chemicals” in the chocolate that help.

      Sleep – I bet we could all get a bit more to get into 7 to 8 hours of deep sleep.

      With Fruit – since I am on losing weight cycle – down from 240 to 217 since January – 2010 – I keep fruit minimal. Staying with the suggestion of berries – blueberries with a bit of plain yogurt seems to work.

      1. Hey careful on the Yogurt, most still have plenty of carbs and even the ‘plain’ yogurt sometimes will have sugars added. Look for ‘Icelandic’ style. It’s super thick, but only six carbs, no added sugars, and SEVENTEEN grams of protien!

      2. Down from 244 to 212 as of Jan. 2010. Keep it up man, I love this stuff.

      3. Yes, me too. I have bacon every day as well. I am glad to hear that I do not need to cut back 🙂

        1. i believe the bacon and butter amount was sarcasm. Use common sense.

      4. try putting frozen berries in a small amount of coconut milk..awesome

    2. Me too! …but there is such thing as too much sodium nitrates, so be careful… A bacon-heavy meal on an empty stomach first thing in the morning could potentially make you very ill. …not the pork, the nitrates they cure it with. Nitrate free? Then carry on!

      1. Nitrate free bacon is actually WORSE than cured bacon.

        Cook’s Illustrated paid for the test:
        Nitrite has long been a controversial food additive, with studies showing it forms carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines when heated in the presence of proteins, like those in bacon. Regular bacon is cured with nitrite (NO?) or a virtually identical chemical, nitrate (NO?), both of which act as preservatives, though only nitrite has the potential to form potentially harmful nitrosamines. Bacon labeled “nitrate- or nitrite-free,” on the other hand, is brined with salt, a bacterial lactic acid starter culture, and celery juice (sometimes listed as “natural flavor”).

        But here’s the catch: Celery juice naturally contains a high level of organic nitrate, which is converted to the problematic nitrite by the bacteria in the starter culture and also by saliva during chewing. Despite this fact, it’s technically correct to label the bacon “no nitrates or nitrites added,” since the compounds are formed during production, not added as ingredients. The question is: How do the levels of nitrite and nitrate in uncured bacon compare with those in its cured counterpart?

        When we fried up strips of our favorite supermarket bacon, Farmland Hickory Smoked, along with Farmland All-Natural Uncured Bacon (“no nitrate or nitrite added”), tasters found the samples virtually identical in taste and texture. To quantify the nitrite and nitrate levels in these bacons, we sent three packages of each type to a lab for testing. For comparison, we also sent three packages of the Best Buy from our tasting of artisanal bacon, Applegate Farms Uncured Sunday Bacon (labeled “no nitrites added”). As we expected, all of the bacons contained nitrite and nitrate, and the nitrite levels were well within U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines of no more than 120 parts per million (ppm). But to our surprise, the uncured bacons actually had higher levels of nitrite than the cured meat: Farmland Hickory Smoked Bacon registered an average of 9.7 ppm nitrite (and 48 ppm nitrate), while its All-Natural counterpart showed an average of 16.3 ppm nitrite (and 10.3 ppm nitrate). And the Applegate Farms Uncured Sunday Bacon averaged more than three times the level of the regular bacon: 35 ppm nitrite (and nearly as much nitrate, at 44.3 ppm).

        The bottom line: All bacon is likely to contain nitrite and nitrate, whether added at the outset or formed naturally during processing. If you want to avoid these compounds, you’ll have to avoid bacon—and any other processed meats containing celery juice—altogether.

        1. Thanks for the info, Ashley.
          Funny that few are commenting on this important information about bacon and marketing phrases.

        2. Mark has actually written about the nitrates and nitrites in bacon. He didn’t say uncured was worse, but he did say that buying one or the other doesn’t make a significant difference unless you care about the taste. https://www.marksdailyapple.com/a-quick-guide-to-bacon/#axzz2T2SMD0mM

          Personally, I don’t think the potential gain in flavor would be worth doubling my bacon costs, and with your mini-study now… I’m definitely sticking to my regularly cured bacon.

  1. “Bacon: There’s no such thing as too much bacon.”

    Can I get that on a T-shirt please?

        1. butter on the front
          side pork on the side
          back bacon on the back
          All around awesome tshirt

          (Please make them available in x-small?)

    1. Yes me too please, that would b a great t- shirt:))
      Loved this Article.. Thanks Mark

      1. Mark,

        We all want a “There’s no such thing as too much bacon” t-shirt. So, make one!

  2. “There’s no such thing as too much bacon.”

    I love you for this.

  3. Bacon, it is not just for breakfast anymore. Think I’ll cook some for Dinner.

    1. Primal shopping….”I need to run to the store for some more bacon!”

    1. Such a short phrase, but it made me laugh. There is such joy behind those words….thank you!

  4. In regards to sleep, Lights Out: Sleep Sugar and Survival recommends 9.5 hrs a night for 7 months of the year (fall/winter) as that is what our ancestors did up until 70 yrs ago when the lightbulb came into widespread use. Any thoughts on this? Also, won’t the fat in most bacon be high in omega 6 thus we want to limit intake somewhat? Thanks and love the website/book

  5. Ha! The bacon line was my FAVE too! Everything tastes better with a little bacon.

  6. Hey Mark, will the cook book have a section dedicated to bacon? If it doesn’t, it should.

  7. How about exercise? We know about chronic cardio, but how about those short, intense workouts that combine lifting heavy things with sprinting(CrossFit for me)?

  8. This was brilliant. Thanks, Mark. Here’s a question though: How do you calculate your lean body mass? How do you compensate for other componenets of you body (i.e. bone, organs, brain etc.)?

    1. Lean body mass is traditionally everything that’s not fat. So (1-BF%)*weight. There are several simple methods for estimating body fat percentage.

  9. Maybe the bacon kid from wifeswap USA had a point……..

    I possibly think that is the greatest quote on this website!

  10. OK, as much as I love “there’s no such thing as too much bacon” I would really love to clarify something. it’s not a concern for me but I always get into this discussion with my fiance who has high blood pressure. Is the sodium content of bacon a concern, or are you generally okay as long as you’re getting pastured, nitrate free bacon. We can kill a package on a Saturday morning so this is kind of crucial, haha. And if there’s a resource, please point me to it!

    1. One word (oops, two words)

      Side Pork

      Bacon without the brine and sugar, from pastured pigs. Use promptly, no preservatives. But if you can get through a package of bacon at a sitting, you can finish side pork fast enough.

      Sodium seems to make my muscle aches worse, so I keep a lid on it as well as I can. That eliminates salami and other cold cuts, except as a very occasional treat, also a lot of canned fish like sardines.

      1. I too have discovered the awesomeness that is side pork 🙂 Love it!

    2. Cutting sodium doesn’t drop your blood pressure by much. Low carb diet will see a big fall in blood pressure.

    3. Nitrite has long been a controversial food additive, with studies showing it forms carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines when heated in the presence of proteins, like those in bacon. Regular bacon is cured with nitrite (NO?) or a virtually identical chemical, nitrate (NO?), both of which act as preservatives, though only nitrite has the potential to form potentially harmful nitrosamines. Bacon labeled “nitrate- or nitrite-free,” on the other hand, is brined with salt, a bacterial lactic acid starter culture, and celery juice (sometimes listed as “natural flavor”).

      But here’s the catch: Celery juice naturally contains a high level of organic nitrate, which is converted to the problematic nitrite by the bacteria in the starter culture and also by saliva during chewing. Despite this fact, it’s technically correct to label the bacon “no nitrates or nitrites added,” since the compounds are formed during production, not added as ingredients. The question is: How do the levels of nitrite and nitrate in uncured bacon compare with those in its cured counterpart?

      When we fried up strips of our favorite supermarket bacon, Farmland Hickory Smoked, along with Farmland All-Natural Uncured Bacon (“no nitrate or nitrite added”), tasters found the samples virtually identical in taste and texture. To quantify the nitrite and nitrate levels in these bacons, we sent three packages of each type to a lab for testing. For comparison, we also sent three packages of the Best Buy from our tasting of artisanal bacon, Applegate Farms Uncured Sunday Bacon (labeled “no nitrites added”). As we expected, all of the bacons contained nitrite and nitrate, and the nitrite levels were well within U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines of no more than 120 parts per million (ppm). But to our surprise, the uncured bacons actually had higher levels of nitrite than the cured meat: Farmland Hickory Smoked Bacon registered an average of 9.7 ppm nitrite (and 48 ppm nitrate), while its All-Natural counterpart showed an average of 16.3 ppm nitrite (and 10.3 ppm nitrate). And the Applegate Farms Uncured Sunday Bacon averaged more than three times the level of the regular bacon: 35 ppm nitrite (and nearly as much nitrate, at 44.3 ppm).

      The bottom line: All bacon is likely to contain nitrite and nitrate, whether added at the outset or formed naturally during processing. If you want to avoid these compounds, you’ll have to avoid bacon—and any other processed meats containing celery juice—altogether.

      1. I know I’m a little late for the discussion! But that was a really interesting bit of information about bacon, I didn’t realize celery juice contained appreciable levels of nitrates. You say our saliva can break this down into nitrites, does this also mean that when I eat celery with any other meat I might be getting nitrosamines?! Just kidding, ha, I think there probably has to be heat involved in that reaction. But I would be curious in knowing how the nitrosamine levels in any cooked bacon might compare to the TSNAs in tobacco products.

  11. Obesity and diabetes connected to lots of sleep? Sounds like the classic correlation vs. causality problem. I wouldn’t be surprised if the lack of energy associated with obesity results in increased sleep, and we all know about diabetes and obesity by now.

    Like bacon, there is no such thing as too much sleep–you’ll eventually wake up.

    1. there is no such thing as too much sleep–you’ll eventually wake up

      Usually… 🙂

    2. Or maybe if you have a sluggish thyroid you’re prone to longer sleeping jags. I guess the same could be true if you have an overactive thyroid; need more sleep… It might be a sign that there is something wrong internally if you require more (or maybe less) sleep.

      If you’re otherwise following PB, I think you could use the guidelines as a way to make sure you are healthy internally. If your needs are different, it could be used start a conversation with your doctor.

  12. Mark,

    Have you mentioned the same limits for coffee? I take 2 cups everyday…

    Thanks

    Venkat

  13. I am wary of the sodium content, as well, since I have one kidney. I was a bit dismayed to plug some foods into fitday and find that my 5 slices of thick bacon give me about 1.6 grams of sodium. Granted, I buy my bacon from a rural butcher so it might not have quite that much in it, but I’m still concerned.

    1. Can you get hold of side pork?

      Equally delicious, no sodium added. Maybe your rural butcher can save some aside for you instead of curing it for bacon.

    2. PrimalChild,
      I am about to start PB. I too, have one kidney. Any issues? I would love to know or get any advice. Thank you!
      K

  14. Bacon is right up there on my awesome list with espresso, red wine and sex… that’s right, I said it…

    1. Espresso isn’t so taboo any longer, the little West has become more westernized, slowly catching up pace. Sex, sure… Red wine, don’t be Un-‘merican!

  15. I’m very grateful for this. Nice and concise way to explain it to my friends.

  16. Bacon bacon bacon!!! Went to a Brazilian Grill this weekend and two items wrapped in bacon kept ending up on my plate. BTW nothing gives a more Primal feel to a meal than meat on a spit.

  17. There is no such thing as too much bacon…My dog wrote that for you didn’t she? LOL

  18. “There’s no such thing as too much bacon” I’ve said this for years, now its official! Thanks Mark

  19. In regards to protein intake; how do you calculate your lean body mass, it can’t just simply be your weight can it? I weigh 160 lbs so doe that mean my diet throughout the day encompass 160 grams of protein?

    Any enlightement from you guys to clarify my confusion would be great.

    thanks, steven

    1. Do a search on how to calculate your BMI (body mass index). It will tell you what percentage of your body is fat. The rest of your body is lean body mass (muscle, bone, cartilage, water, etc). For example, a 160lb man who has a BMI of 25% has a lean body mass of 120lbs (160 * .75).

      A simple calculator for LBM is at http://www.healthstatus.com/cgi-bin/calc/calculator.cgi . These are simple numbers and estimates, so take them with a grain of bacon…

      1. Hi Mark. I think you’re confusing body mass index (BMI) with % bodyfat. BMI is simply weight in kg divided by the square of the height in meters. BMI does not measure % bodyfat, although in general a higher BMI means higher bodyfat, unless you have a lot of muscle mass.

    2. If you know your bodyfat percentage (from scales or caliper tests etc) the balance of your weight is lean mass.

      I’m 125 lbs with around 20% bodyfat so my lean mass is 80& of 125 lbs = 100 lbs of lean mass.

      Hope that helps.

      I love bacon too, and a month ago I was a card carrying vegetarian LOL, Grok on!

    3. I’m obviously not Mark- but here’s how I do it.

      I take body fat percentage and subtract it from 100 to get LBM percentage and multiply that by total weight.

      100-25% body fat = 75% LBM percentage.

      150 pounds x .75 = 112.5 pounds of LBM

      1. Since muscle affects the BMI, I think it particularly screws up the results of the BMI calculations/charts for women with muscles. The BMI charts are based on average, and on average, most women don’t have much muscle.

  20. Good article.

    However, the alcohol link is broken. “Page not found”.

  21. They do make a chocolate bar with bacon in it now, btw (I found it at Cost Plus so far). NOW we’re talkin’

  22. Sacrilege though it may be, any bacon is too much for me. Not because of the fat or the sodium; I simply don’t care for it. My personal “ad libitum” food happens to be eggs. It helps that I get them from a local farm for $1 a dozen, of course.

  23. I had to laugh when I saw “There’s no such thing as too much bacon.”

    Actually I remember when I was in Boy Scouts on a camping trip we cooked up tons of bacon which I consumed to my heart’s content. Unfortunately the effect it had on me prevented me for several years from even being able to think about bacon without wanting to throw up. Fortunately I eventually overcame my repulsion and eat it two or three times a week now, but in moderation.

    1. I seem to recall that you get more nitrite from saliva than you do from bacon, although I don’t have a reference handy…

    2. i love bacon, and having more is a good idea. but i worry because even many uncured bacon brands have “flavors” as an ingredient. maybe it’s a bit to soon to go wild on the bacon unless you explicitly know the source and ingredients.

      i bet homemade bacon far surpasses to store bought flavors. i personally love Beelers brand bacon. http://www.beelerspurepork.com/ but i don’t over do it.

  24. Just one question: how about all the salt in bacon? Or is it something else that makes it taste salty?

  25. Ive been eating primal with no counting calories, just lots of reading and learning and feeling good. But how do you figure what your cal’s are when cooking with fats. I don’t measure, should I? what about the meat juices? I know Ive lost a bit of weight, I do workout and get ravenous, but I think regardless of eating primal, how do I know if Im over doing it? Any trial and error suggestions, I feel good.

    1. Threadless.com has an awesome shirt:
      “Bacon: the gateway meat”

  26. 2 Questions.

    1) Does the upper ceiling of protein still apply when trying to gain mass?

    2) What does 3 grams of omega 3 look like in real life. I buy the liquid.

    1. 2) What does 3 grams of omega 3 look like in real life. I buy the liquid.

      That would be around 3.5 milliliters of pure oil, or just under three quarters of a teaspoon full. Obviously it would depend on how pure your oil is though…

  27. I frequently have dinners that consist of nothing but 3-4 strips of bacon and a glass of Sangria

  28. Since I’m eating more of the stuff now than ever before, I’ve switched to non-cured bacon as to avoid the nitrates. IMO, it’s not quite as good as the chemical-laden stuff, but hell: it’s still bacon.

    1. Dr. Eades states in his latest comments section:

      “Actually nitrites are a health food so you needn’t spend the time trying to get rid of it. 80 percent of the nitrates and nitrites in the diet come from vegetables sources – processed meats account for little.”

    2. I eat thick slice nitrate free bacon, and it’s much better than the thin sliced. Went to a restaurant the other day and had their thick sliced bacon, gag! It was so salty I could hardly eat it.

  29. Mmmm….bacon is Meat Candy! 🙂

    This is a great read Mark, and timely for me as well. I’ve been primal for about two weeks now (a newbie!) and I’ve been wondering about a lot of this. As far as the food items go (vegetables, fruit, animal proteins, fats, and bacon!) I’ve been going with trying to develop an intuitive sense of how much I need, but not trying to limit myself too much, especially since I guess I’m in “transition mode” and am feeling a little tired and maybe a carby hunger pang or two. I’ve managed to stave those off with other real food choices. I now think that punching in my food into FitDay every now and then would be a good benchmark to see how I’m doing.

    Great site, great method, great blueprint! Only two weeks in and I’m already feeling much better. Plus my muffin-top is shrinking, what’s more!

    1. Hey wonderful paintings BTW. I’m a portrait painter myself 🙂

  30. What a great post. This makes for a very useful summary. It’s easy to know what types of things can (and should) be eaten but eminently practical to know their limits. Thanks, Mark!

  31. Oh my god. I’ve grossly overestimated my omega 3 requirement. I’ve been necking about 2 TABLEspoons with every meal!!! Whoops.

    1. I hear you! After some reading I was under the impression that I needed 10-15g daily! Took that much for a few days, ended up with extreme headaches and just had a CT scan (negative). Scary stuff. I think I’ll cut it down regardless of what I’ve heard. And talking to MD’s about this stuff most just pooh-pooh it anyway.

    2. Depending on the quality of your fish oil, you may need 2 Tablespoons. The values you should be looking for on the back of your bottle of fish oil is the amount of DHA & EPA (omega3’s) that each serving contains. That might end up being quite a bit if the product you’re using isn’t as pure.

  32. My wife and I make a bacon soup with the ‘pieces and ends,’ it’s soooo good! Anyone wants the recipe hit me up.

    1. Send it this way! (Cheetah_812002@yahoo.com)

      I keep cooked bacon in the fridge (along with other food) for my son to snack on after school… I try to limit it only when we’re going to eat dinner soon.

      Although the look on his face usually tells me that he doesn’t want to ruin his (bacon) snack with dinner. 😀

      1. I love this….a bacon lovers support group….lol. I keep cooked bacon (at least 4 packs a week) in the fridge at all times also. I precook almost all my food in one day (usually sunday)because it saves so much time and I’m single and don’t need “hot prepared meals”. I lead a very simplistic life now thanks to living primal.

        1. Aaron – I’m with you. I’m a mother of 2 and have a hubby too. I cook about 8 meals every Friday night. This lasts through the week. Typical fares can be 5lbs of bacon. 9lbs of chicken and other meats. I prepare many meals and have them in the fridge all week. This keeps the guessing out of ‘what’s for dinner’ as well as keeps us on the primal straight and narrow. There’s no question that what’s in the fridge is good for you.

          Bacon becomes a great snack. My son even bought me some bacon flavored dental floss for christmas this year!!! LOL

          On the sleep topic: I’m a ‘mutant’ i believe you described them in a previous post. I rarely if ever get more than 6hrs of sleep a night. With most nights averaging 4.5 hrs. I never set an alarm, and never intend to wake.. i just do. I’ve been like this for > 35 years. I don’t know if there’s any advantages other than more hours in the day to get things done! However, I CANNOT lay in bed nor force myself to sleep.

          Chocolate.. have any of you tried Endangered Species Chocolate?? They have some really great ones with mint, canberries and almonds as well as blueberries etc. They are all very low carb. 1/2 a bar (about hershey’s bar size) only has about 15 gm carb. You can get them at Kroger or Walgreens (as well as the web).

          Long live BACON!!

    2. Okay, Get the stock pot hot like a skillet and throw about a pound of bacon ends in, cook till done.

      Remove the bacon, save till the end.
      Do NOT remove the bacon fat.

      Add about a quart of Turkey stock, or chicken and half or 3/4’s cup turkey fat to deglaze the pan. ( This was initially a leftover night recipe) and 2 cups water.

      Add a half to whole yellow onion (depending on your taste, I like the whole thing)

      Add two carrots, chopped.

      Add 2 tbl spoons celery seeds.

      2 tbl spoons ground pepper

      1 tbl spoon garlic powder

      Half stick butter

      salt to taste.

      Bring everything to a simmer and let it cook together for about twenty minutes.

      Use a stick blender, blend until an even consistancy is achieved.

      Bring soup to a boil, and drizzle in about 3-4 eggs. The idea is that they cook nearly instantly creating noodle-like wisps.

      Serve, add the bacon back in the soup as you serve it so that it is still crispy SOOOO good!

      Btw, this soup is solid in the fridge 🙂
      Oh and I like to spice it up. If you want you can add several ounces of diced (cooked) andouie, or peperoni (the kind that looks like summer sausage not the pre-sliced junk)and 1 jalapeno, sliced and seeded. Let it simmer for five minutes and you’re great.

      1. Seriously? The rendered fat from a pound of bacon, 3/4 cup of poultry fat, and a half stick of butter?

        I am sure this tastes great, but dang… it makes the roof of my mouth greasy just thinking about it.

  33. What about eggs?

    I was eating three a day for breakfast (omega-3 boosted), then read a comment by Mark about allergy buildup, so I’ve cut back.

    Any concept of what the daily/weekly egg limit would be?

    Thanks,
    KJ

    1. KJ

      Allergy to cooked eggs is very common. The heat changes the entire composition and nutrients of eggs. I have been eating eggs neary every day for a few years . The best way to consume them is raw (like Grok). I have never had an issue with salmonella either. Get the highest quality eggs you can buy (organic, cage free-AAA even better) and make a protien shake blending the eggs as little as possible at the end. You should not have allergy problems eating your eggs this way.

      Good luck

  34. Spot on with bacon, however where are most of you getting truly pastured bacon that is nitrate/nitrite free?

    Several big brands on the market selling “Nitrate free, vegetarian fed, non-hormone” pork bacon has much blood on their hands with this false claim. Since bacon is usually fat, I would guess that the Omega6s are 20:1 to 3’s because of what they are actually fed. “Vegetarian fed” simply means that they were not fed meat. In pig farming, ONLY does grain apply here. As a matter of fact, I’ve not been able to locate on a mass market level a bacon product that does not have its traces heading back to feeedlot pigs. I am lucky enough to buy a truly raised on pasture with less than 10% grain fed (oats, flax, and barley). But I am pretty sure the 3 products I see at Trader Joe’s, our local Nature’s Bin and a few local grocery chains are all selling this mass market product. Unless I am making a big issue out of nothing, I’d say bacon is going to be a difficult one to say “too much is always never enough.”

    Am I far off here?

    1. Dr. Eades states in his latest comments section:

      “Actually nitrites are a health food so you needn’t spend the time trying to get rid of it. 80 percent of the nitrates and nitrites in the diet come from vegetables sources – processed meats account for little.”

  35. I get the best bacon and pork products from Thundering Hooves farm (located in Walla Walla Washinton. They also do mail order I believe.

    1. Thanks Classic! Live in western WA and have a really hard time finding pastured, grass finished anything. If anyone knows of any on the Kitsap Peninsula area, I would greatly appreciate the info. I have signed up for a couple sites on the internet, but have not received any interest in selling to this area.

      1. Karla,
        TH delivers all over the state. Check out there website. For some reason I cannot add that here but you can google for it.

  36. I love bacon too, but isn’t pork inferior to beef/lamb/etc. as a nutrient source? Between that and the sodium issue, I’d think there may be such a thing as “too much.”

  37. Hi Mark,
    wanted to share my experience in regards to sleep.

    The timing of your sleep is very important. Over the last 4 years of primal living, I’ve noticed that I naturally get very tired around 8:30-9pm. Thinking back, I always have gotten tired around that time, but then you watch tv or do laundry or whatever and you “push” past that tiredness. I checked with others and a lot of people also have that 8:30-9 im ready to fall asleep on the couch haze. I think it’s good to go to bed at that time as 11pm is a prime REM time…when you go to bed at 9, it’s perfectly ok and normal to get up at 4-4:30 in the morning…which coincidently is the best time to meditate, contemplate or think. (sages from many different cultures and backgrounds have written and talked about this early morning time, chinese medicine associated that time cycle with the “lung energy”, so breathing exercises are particularly powerful and helpful in those early morning hours.) Try it for a few weeks, get to bed on time…get up early and see if it works for you…I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
    Sorry for the ramble 😉

    Marc

  38. Mark, how do you feel about the recommendation in the book Lights Out that everyone should get 9 hours of sleep? For quite some time now I have been sleeping 7.5 a night, but since reading Lights Out, this past week I kicked it up to 9.5 hours a night, and I’m feeling a huge difference. Do you think that the research on overweight and diabetic people sleeping more is skewed? Correlation isn’t necessarily causation. Perhaps they sleep more because they are unhealthy, but that’s not the same as saying they are unhealthy because they sleep more. Just interested in your perspective. Thanks!

  39. hey. i dont eat bacon. any other non high sodium suggestions? i thought high sodium was not good on paleo/primal?!
    just what i heard.
    also, where are you folks getting your fiber? from veggies i presume? i realize we are not to eat grains, really, but can veggies supply enough? or are we to take fiber supps?
    just checking. want to do this right.

  40. I like keeping protein higher; more like 1.3 grams/lb. Then eat around 35-50% fat and I fill the rest with carbs.

    I also find having a higher carb day (lots of fruit, yams, etc) about every 4 day seems to help when leaning down. Not to mention the positive effects on leptin. Keep in mind though that I will eat 50-60 grams of carbs per day when leaning down and closer to 100 when in ‘maintenance’ mode.

    1. Hi Sterling, I have also found a higher carb day to help drop BF now and then. I cut my fat intake down on these days though. Is this what you do or do you keep fat the same on high carb days? Thanks

  41. WOAH WAIT WHAT?!???

    DUDE YOU PROBABLY DON’T WANT TO LINK THIS ARTICLE ANYMORE LOOK WHAT IS SAYS!

    When we eat sugar, our body releases the hormone INSULIN, which tells the brain WE’VE HAD ENOUGH TO EAT, explains dietitian Ursula Arens of the British Dietetic Association.

    high insulin levels dampen the appetite,
    *THIS IS BLASPHEMY, THIS IS MADNESS!!*
    but fructose doesn’t trigger this insulin response (OK IF FRUCTOSE DOESN’T CAUSE INSULIN RELEASE HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FATTER THEN?), so the brain doesn’t get the message that you are full,’ she says.

    1. Pardon me,

      i’m referring to the first link in the fruit section. seriously, Simon Cave doesn’t know his elbow from… an insulin spike..?

    2. I was JUST about to comment on that.
      My eyebrow went skyhigh as I read through the fruit article.
      But I guess once again “dietitian” says it all…

      Besides that fructose not triggering an insulin response is completely false, is there really something about insulins function on signaling the brain about “fullness”? Never heard of it before.

      Thanks.

  42. You talk about chocolate and cocoa…

    What about Cacao? I buy cacao… I believe it is just raw chocolate. I have on average .5-1 servings a day which comes out to about 30-60 calories. This seems reasonable…

    And, what about hemp seeds? I love hemp seeds and enjoy them in a smoothie. Is 5 tablespoons (312 cal) a day ok?

    Excellent article Mark!

  43. I have hemp in my homemade bars. I heard if it is not heated, hence in the raw, it is good, same w/ flax.
    and also almond and coconut flours/meal.
    back to the fiber?!
    are we eating our fiber thru veggies alone/ or enjoying a good nightly drink of metamucil or chewable fibers?
    just checking…and ps: i eat dark cocoa powder too, Hersheys makes a 10 cal per tbs dark choco cocoa content powder. i put on my berries at night.
    dont think it really has carbs in it, although i have not checked closely.

  44. Isn’t Parma ham superior to bacon? Less ingredients for one thing:

    Parma ham: Pork Leg, Salt

    Vs Organic bacon from local Supermarket/Grocery store (Tesco to be specific)

    Bacon: Organic Pork (87%), Water, Salt, Preservatives (Potassium Nitrate, Sodium Nitrite)

    1. organic bacon isnt supposed to have sodium nitrate in it…

      mine says pork salt spices, natural smoke flavor?

  45. David: Yes. If your reasoning for carb cycling is upregulating leptin and losing body fat, then reduce your fat. I’m usually around 100 grams/day, but when I carb cycle I drop fat to 50 grams/day. Fat seems to interfere with a rise in leptin.

  46. Eggs: I too wonder about too many eggs. Conventional Wisdom says no more than 5-6 a week, but we often eat 2-4 a day, every day. Is a dozen or more a week too much?

    Whey Powder: What about too much whey protein powder? Purists wouldn’t include it at all since it is so processed, but many of us consume it for convenience. How much of your total daily protein intake should come from whey powder? Is 1/3 too much? 1/4?

    Fish Oil: We have recently been reading (amongst the Robb Wolf crowd) about going on much higher doses (12-15 grams per day) to get Silent Inflammation down, then cutting back to around 6 grams a day for maintenance. y husband and I have been experimenting with over 6 grams a day, and we both feel great – less hungry, more alert, fewer cravings. Mark, on what basis are you recommending so much less? Anyone have any research on this?

    Sodium: Lastly, someone mentioned too much sodium leading to increased aches and pains. Is this true for anyone else? I don’t watch my sodium intake at all, so I’m curious if it has made a difference for someone else who doesn’t have high blood pressure issues.

    Thanks for the great conversation!

  47. What about cholesterol? Butter and bacon could really elevate one’s cholesterol or could be really bad for someone watching their cholesterol.

    1. http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/

      go here and read more on MDA about cholesterol and saturated fat and how they are good for you. Elevated cholesterol is not harmful or risky. It depends on the details. I’m quite sure that low total cholesterol is associated with higher mortality rates whatever that means.

      1. I just bookmarked that site. It will be great for my family who still listens to conventional wisdom too much. Thanks!

  48. I would think so. i think everything in moderation. eggs, bacon, all fats.
    of course simple carbs should be limited if at all possible. they just aint good except to get you out the door on a long run day~molasses works well for that kick in the seat i need!!

  49. So for me, with around 172 lbs of lean body mass, I should only have 6oz of protein a day? That is one large chicken breast…. no eggs, no bacon, no nuts…. I must be misunderstanding something here….

    1. Chicken has other stuff (ie: water) than just protein… 1 oz chicken = roughly 10g protein.

      So you’d have to have about 3 of those 6oz breasts.

    2. I think that is enough for homeostasis, but if you really want to put on mass eat more. I personally like 5 egg breakfasts every day.

    3. If you have 172 lbs of lean body tissue, then the 6 oz of protein will be going straight to structural repair tasks around the body: repairing muscle and organ tissue (assuming you’re eating the low carb/ high fat/ high protein way). You can eat more protein/meat than that in a day, as the rest can be converted to glycogen and stored for future energy in the muscle and liver tissue.

  50. The chocolate part disturbed me a little… Because I recently started using cacao (no caffeine) instead of coffee.

    But then cocoa (from the study) does have CAFFEINE. Caffeine is known to increase the insulin response when taken in conjunction with carbohydrates. Coffee + pastry = diabetes, FWI.

    So, I’ll keep enjoying my cacao thank you!:)

  51. I love Mark’s articles but strongly disagree with the recommended amount of protein intake. Protein’s main function is body repair. Once this is done, all excess protein is simply converted to glucose or fat. The body is conservative and does not need these extra amino acids in the blood stream. If you don’t believe me, then eat hordes of protein and you will see that no matter what, your muscles will not grow any more nor will your organs grow in size. The amino acids must go somewhere and they simply get converted to glucose and fat to be used as energy.

    The unfortunate thing about this conversion is that, toxic nitrogen compounds are produced which must be excreted by the kidneys. Primates are alone in that they have trouble dealing with these nitrogen waste products because of a lack of the enzyme uricase.

    Even in starvation/low-calorie studies only about 30g of protein a day are needed to spare lean tissue.

  52. All I know is that I’m eating bacon and eggs cooked in butter after fasting all day until now and am quite satiated to say the least.

    Cheers,

    Brent

  53. I know I personally do best on at least 9 hours of sleep, so the work weeks kill me. You can guarantee Saturdays I try and stay in bed as long as humanly possible…

    Bacon is good and all, but it is high in PUFA’s and omega 6, so I would not go as far as to say “theres never enough bacon”. I personally don’t have access to pork side, pork belly or unsugared or uncured bacon so it is not part of my PB at all.

    But for cheers…here is 100 ways to use a stick of bacon
    http://www.endlesssimmer.com/2009/08/18/100-ways-to-use-a-stick-of-bacon/

    like other, I pray vegetarians see the light soon as I just did a hell of a ranting blog post on them

  54. I am very new and just learning and trying to find my way with amounts of protein and all. Wanting to lose weight and feeling very hopeful from the comments here. It makes alot of sense especially since eating this way I have not been craving carbs, which I cannot believe.

  55. Haha yes bacon is delicious…. but do you really think you can get away with eating several pounds at once? Or are you just saying you can eat it all day…?

  56. Hola Amigos,

    Thank you Mark for this article, very helpful. I have been wondering about some of these things myself lately.

    My personal experience is:
    Protein/ Fat/ Carbs- I feel best with moderate protein, low carb (all natural- no man made stuff), and high fat.

    Sleepwise- going to bed around 10/10:30 and rising around 6:30 leaves me refreshed and energized. Usually during the day I close my eyes for about 20 minutes around 2-4.

    I appreciate the comments on fruit especially. Recently I started eating more mangoes and my carb cravings returned. I’m going to refer to lower sugar fruits and see how I do with those. Although, living in Mexico I do think our fruits are less sweet than in the US- I know they are definitely smaller.

    Gracias!
    JADE

  57. I heard that a lip balm is made that is flvoured like bacon. Called Bacon Lip Balm

  58. I’m shocked at the amount of carbs in a wrap!! (75 in a small one, 120 in a large, according to the carb chart). So the number of carbs in one large, plain wrap is equal to the number of carbs in 8 slices of bread??? Having trouble digesting this one.

    1. Are you sure you were looking at carb grams and not calories here? Brand of Wraps you were looking at? I get La Tortilla Factory “Smart and Declicious” wraps with 18 grams carb, and 12 g. fiber, so net 6 grams carb.(also 3 g fat and 8 g protein). Unfortunately, these have canola oil, although they do make an olive oil version which is not always available where I shop (CUB foods, St Paul, MN)

  59. Pig fat is pretty high in omega-6. I’m down with lard and bacon in reasonable amounts but going crazy with the pork fat means you’re taking in a lot of the unhealthy polyunsaturated fatty acids. The unfortunate truth is that there is such a thing as too much bacon.

  60. Great article. This answers my question from yesterday’s post!
    Thanks!!!!

  61. This sounds like a paltry amount of protein. If I am 200 lbs and 20% body fat, this means less than 6oz of protein per day. I am not sure that is adequate for an active strong man.

    1. T, 1 ounce of meat has, on average, about 7 grams of protein (the rest is other organic matter, mostly water). If you weigh 200 lb at 20% BF (160 lb LBM) and are shooting for 1 gram of protein per lb of lean body mass, you would need about 23 ounces of meat (1.4 lbs) per day, not 6 ounces. Does that sound more reasonable?

      1. I love the way you switch between metric and imperial, just as we do!

        Just in case anyone is struggling on this, and I know I did last week when I had a blond moment and thought I could only eat 100 g steak and no other protein each day …

        1 oz = 32 g

        Beef has 28 g of protein per 100 g
        Chicken/Salmon 25g and Bacon 17g.

        So if you are looking for 160 g (5 oz) of protein per day, and that is a LOT you would be talking around 26 eggs or, 571 g (or 18 oz) of steak, or 941 g (55 oz bacon), or 640 g (20 oz) of chicken/salmon each day!

        On the Webcast Mark talked of a daily total of around 120 g before you have the potential to generate extra glucose depending on the activity level/size of the individual. He recommended spreading the protein through all your meals through a day to allow the body to keep the amino acid pool topped up without overloading in one go and generating glucose.

        Hope I’ve quoted the great one correctly!

        1. I really am having a blond moment this time!

          28 g per oz

          So 20 oz steak, 33 oz bacon, was getting carried away with eat all you like, and 23 oz of salmon/chicken!

          Apologies, brain fade!

  62. I went to my favourite organic food shop today and discovered that they had pasture-fed naturally wood smoked bacon!!! Sodium nitrate free 🙂

  63. Mmmm… bacon. Now I’m hungry! Glad about the butter thing too, I love to make up some garlic butter to pour over my chicken… yum! I need to get some lunch!

  64. I’m out of BBBAAACCCOOONNN!!! NO! now after reading this, I am hungry for bacon.

  65. I’m a recovering vegan and when I was growing up bacon was a no-no because of my Seventh-Day Adventist religious upbringing.

    This may be a dumb question, but what is so great about bacon in comparison to other meats? How come there is no limit to bacon but there is in other meats? And is it true that pig fat contains more omega 6s or does that only apply if they are grain fed?

    1. In all honesty, the obsession with bacon is more about taste than quality of nutrition. Bacon is delicious, high in fat, and did I mention delicious? You can consume quite alot of it because it is fatty so it’s not like some other meats such as chicken where you could actually consume so much that you make yourself sick.

  66. Question from a newbie…I want to LOSE weight, do I need to eat fat? I am scared of getting larger!

    1. Yes you need to eat fat! Here is Mark’s Definitive Guide: https://www.marksdailyapple.com/fats/ That would definitely be a good place to start, but also look at the primal carbohydrate curve. If you don’t eat as many carbs, like the Primal Blueprint decrees, you need a way to make up the calorie deficit so you aren’t staving yourself. Don’t be afraid of fattier cuts of meat if they are grassfed/finished and look into different cooking oils. There is a whole world of dietary fats that it sounds like you will have a great time exploring. Have fun.

    2. Eat plenty of healthy fats. Lose the grains and consume less carbs overall if you want to lose weight.

  67. I definitely think Bacon is great, but I lost about 11 pounds when I went from eating nitrite free bacon everyday to eating the same bacon once a week. I was carrying so much water, and it was shocking to see how much water my body was retaining. Everything else is spot on. Have you ever tried gorging on fruit? It is almost impossible to do, and I would argue doing that every once in a while is good for you.

  68. Thank you for the reply…haven’t had any grain now for about three weeks. Knew about those carbs but now in the last few days realized I have to limit all other carbs from fruit etc to be under 100 to be losing weight. as I read the book I learn more. Also limitimg protein now to under 140 g to be in compliance to the suggestions on that. I do have alot to lose. Does this sound right? I am still reading the book. Thank you, this is very helpful to read your comments too.

  69. I always thought even paleo eaters should avoid bacon due to how much its processed? And butter was non-paleo?

  70. i disagree on butter and bacon. while i do use butter, it’s not exactly a primal food, and i tend to keep it to a very small amount for cooking, and a small-moderate amount to use after cooking.

    as for bacon, i even if you get a nitrate free organic brand, it’s still loaded with sodium.

    1. “while i do use butter, it’s not exactly a primal food”

      If Mark Sisson isn’t an expert on which foods he includes in his diet/program qualify as “Primal”, then nobody is:

      “Cordain…still adheres to the failed Conventional Wisdom that saturated fats raise cholesterol and may cause heart disease, so he eschews butter and coconut oil (two of my favorites whose health benefits are supported by extensive research)…”

      https://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-book/references/questions-and-answers/

  71. So I guess there is a strong distinction between bacon and fatback of pork or pork loin? Is it only considered bacon if it is cured someway?

  72. Rapunzil organic Extra Dark Chocolate (70%) bars have 15 gr of carbs in 1/2 bar. One bar is 3 oz. Half a bar is quite a bit. 1/4 bar is plenty for a chocolate fix. Available at Whole Foods in Portland, Maine.

  73. What about kielbasa? I eat that every morning with my eggs and some berries. It’s delicious and has lots of fat.

  74. Hi! I’m a new Grokette! Seeing weightloss results in the 3 weeks I’ve gone Primal 🙂 Needed this article last week! Ha! Thanks so much for posting. Exactly what I had been wondering.
    Renee

  75. Mark’s assertion that excess protein consumption is automatically converted to glucose and thus negates the goals of eating a low-carb diet is wrong.

    (Check Stryer’s Biochemistry for more details than most will want.)

    The carbon skeletons of deaminated amino acids may be converted to glucose (ONLY by demand of the liver, NOT based on the supply) or oxidized in the citric acid cycle.

    Different amino acid carbon skeletons have different fates (precursors) in the CAC – leucine is purely ketogenic, a bunch others are purely glucogenic (with respect to the CAC), and the remainder are both.

    An excess of protein is one where the urea cycle is overwhelmed, meaning all NH4 cannot be excreted (resulting in protein poisoning).

    Less that this (which is a very high amount of protein for people with healthy kidneys) just means it’s burned or stored as fat.

  76. Re chocolate and insulin, a study quoted on the Life Extension site has a different conclusion than stated above:

    “” Dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity, blood pressure

    In a trial reported in the September, 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, men and women with hypertension and impaired glucose tolerance experienced an improvement in both conditions after two weeks of consuming dark chocolate.

    Researchers at the University of L’Aquila in Italy randomized 11 men and 8 women to receive a daily regimen of 100 grams flavanol-rich dark chocolate or flavanol-free white chocolate for 15 days. This was followed by a one week period during which no treatment was received, and another 15 day period during which the treatments were switched between groups. Blood pressure, endothelial function, glucose tolerance, serum cholesterol, and C-reactive protein were assessed at the beginning of the study and at the end of each treatment period.

    Participants demonstrated significant insulin resistance and diminished insulin sensitivity upon enrollment, as determined by oral glucose tolerance and insulin testing. These conditions improved compared following the intake of flavanol-rich dark chocolate but were not improved by flavanol-free white chocolate. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased following consumption of dark chocolate, and endothelial function, as evaluated by brachial artery flow-mediated dilation, improved. Additionally, dark chocolate was associated with reductions in total and low density lipoprotein cholesterol.

    Flavanols and related polyphenols may improve insulin resistance by increasing nitric oxide bioavailability in the endothelium and reducing reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Because insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance are risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and hypertension is also a cardiovascular disease risk factor, dark chocolate, along with other dietary components, could help contribute to the prevention of these common diseases. The authors conclude that their findings “suggest a potential value to developing flavanol-rich, low-energy cocoa foods, beverages, and supplements.” “

  77. Interesting Sam, I’m not as chem savy, but simply put, if you eat high fat it would be damn hard to get protein poisoning, the question is do you need it if youre the average joe? And if you can maintain a healthy state of lipolysis (with a LC and a HF diet)the question is why would your body even want to convert protein to glucose if fat is the perfered fuel of choice? I’m trying to get this! In your opinion (or anyone elses) Does this sound like I’m on the right track?

    1. Depending on your definition of HF I think it’s virtually impossible to get protein poisoning – I’ll arbitrarily define HF as 50-90% by energy. (Always presuming normal kidney function of course.)

      You only *need* enough protein to support repair and growth. Since you can’t really know how much that is, various guidelines have sprung up – including the one Mark discussed above. I was just addressing his claim that eating more than this was somehow bad – ie, negating low-carb – which simply isn’t correct per the biochemistry.

      The reason gluconeogenesis occurs is some tissues cannot use ketone bodies or fatty acids for energy – they must use glucose. Exactly how much glucose is needed is poorly known, probably because it varies tremendously based on keto-adaptation and load!

      1. I want to clarify my last paragraph.

        GNG only occurs if you have insufficient glycogen in your liver – in other words, the liver gets the order from the pancreas to release glucose, can’t release enough to satisfy the demand, and starts busily making it from available amino acids.

        (Note that this doesn’t happen in some binary off/on mechanism – just about every biochemical process is smoothly varying.)

  78. The reason more than 9 hours of sleep is associated with more health problems is that people that sleep that long are probably not really getting quality sleep. So if you need more than 9 to avoid dragging through the day or even with 9+ you are still dragging through the day it is possible you have a sleep disorder, especially one like sleep apnea, which is known to increase rates of obesity, hormonal imbalances, cardiovascular problems etc.

  79. Thanks Sam. I’m starting to get it, . It seems like any gluconeogenesis would be so minute at that point I don’t see what the damage could be unless you were trying to stay in ketosis. So high fat would be more of the focus not high protein. Ah, question after question; such as life.

  80. Great article…too much of a good thing is not a good thing.

  81. Is it ok to replace bacon with some other meat like fish or chicken? because i dont get to eat bacon that often..

  82. What is a good high fat snack? I’ve tried coconut milk but I hate the taste.

    1. I’ve only been on PB for about a month but my favourite is berries with double cream. Another one is pork crackling. Also chicken drumsticks, nuts, and sardines in olive oil.

  83. I’ll give another shout-out for the chocolate bacon bar. I found it at World Market. Then, the other day, I went back, and next to the chocolate bar was… the dark chocolate bacon bar! I will have to treat myself soon.

  84. So does this work for kids and toddlers? What can I give them to make sure they are getting all they need? Mine won’t eat salad. You should do a post on kids!

  85. I wish there wasn’t so much confusion and disagreement even in the paleo world. (Do we need loads of greens for minerals and fiber or we’re fine with 50 grams of veg carbs? differences between Don Matesz and dr. Harris for example) We end up doubting everybody or having to check everything ourselves. Talking about protein requirements, I read that it’s about 1 g per kg of lean body mass not per pound. That means for me 55 g multiplied by about 4 (25-8 grams in 100 grams of meat) gives 220 grams of meat or less if eggs and cheese are also eaten.
    Talking about nitrites, it’s still not clear if they are a health hazard or not. Generally nowadays processed meat has sodium ascorbate added to the sodium nitrite to inhibit the formation of nitrosamines in the gut. Is it really safe to cook it? Can my kids have ham for their lunch at school? Who knows. Plants have nitrates, not nitrites, nitrites might form in your mouth when you eat them. the Junkscience post focuses on the minute amount of nitrites in meat products and the comparison with the plants but still mentions in passing the possibility of the formation of nitrosamines which is really the issue.
    Can somebody clarify?

    1. Hi Helen, you can get it in Brisbane from Allsop & England, 297 Old Cleveland Rd, Coorparoo 4151. Ph (07)3397 4117. It is sodium nitrite free bacon from free range pork. It is genuinely wood smoked instead.
      Angelina.

      1. thanks, Angelina. I’ll check them out.

        It seems we often need to look for alternative suppliers. Where I live we sometimes have farmers’ markets, and there’s a local supplier of organic goat.

        Regarding Simona’s comment about confusion – I’m newish to Paleo food but I find that same issue across the board, with biased research and new and old data. I like Michael Pollan’s view: “eat (real) food, not too much, mostly plants” and try to get some variety, so that any one toxin isn’t going to be present in excess.

        1. Yes, I cannot stress the importance of variety enough. I have found with many people that I know that if they continue to eat the same foods ‘day in day out’ that they start to develop reactions to them and have to stop eating them altogether for a while. Especially if they are the type that are prone to allergies. Plus there is the issue of getting as many of the nutrients that are available to us as possible. So a wide variety of vegetables and fruits are important. Unlike my father who just tries to eat apples as his only source of fruit all the time :O

  86. Zero Carb is extremely easy and definitely not boring. I cannot imagine that fruit and vegetables are more exciting that pork chops, KerryGold butter and six eggs.

  87. Great article Mark. Avocado mashed is great alternative to butter although I still do enjoy butter now and then.

  88. Wine wondering…

    I was wondering if the way the wine is made makes any difference in how good it is for you or how much is okay to have. I make my own wine from several varieties of organic crushed red grapes. I take the juice (unpasteurized of course) put it in clean glass gallon jugs and ferment it with nothing but ITS OWN wild yeasts. Each batch is a little different from the next but they are all nice to drink and quite alcoholic (8 to 10 percent). The thing is…

    I can drink 2 to 4 glasses of my wine and get the same good feeling effects as I would with regular bottled wine, BUT… I feel great while I am doing it ‘and’ the next day there are no ill effects whatsoever. In fact I feel very good (more energetic as well as more rested) and this never happens with any bottled wine I have ever had. In fact regular bottled wine can make me feel pretty crappy the next day if I have too much, but the homemade seriously never does, so…

    Is it healthier to drink homemade wine that is made without any additives whatsoever, just organic grapes? And since there are no ill effects the next day can it be good for you? Could you even drink more of it and still be healthy?

    I know the research is on the alcohol content but that may not be the only factor. Perhaps the wild yeasts create a healthier alcoholic beverage. In any case I have had as much as 32 ounces of my natural home brew with an alcohol content of 10% and still had no ill effects at all.

    Hope you can comment on this sometime Mark, though I do know you a busy guy. Hope this all helps somebody out there!

  89. There’s no such thing as too much bacon or butter…because when you’ve eaten enough of it, you are no longer hungry.

    Bacon is a fatty cut of meat, so it satiates much quicker than lean meat. And butter? Once you’ve attenuated your taste buds to it, you quickly realize just how inferior margarine and vegetable oils are in comparison to grade A butter.

    It’s no accident your bodies taste buds and satiation signalling are cued to FAT.

    That’s because the FAT is were most of the nutrients are stored.

    Google “rabbit starvation.”

    Protein poisoning only occurs when you eat lean protein and not enough fat.

    As for sodium and nitrites/nitrates?

    Folks, the reason why sodium is so vilified, is because processed foods are high in sodium. People who eat too much processed foods (high in Omega 6 rich vegetable oils, carbs, HFCS etc.) experience high blood pressure…and conventional wisdom blames the sodium.

    It’s bullshit.

    Eat as much bacon as you like. Because of it’s high fat content, your body will tell precisely when it’s had enough.

  90. I do well most of the time eating Primally, with little or no consulting the book or Mark’s articles, etc. I would guess that I’m 95% “on” most of the time, occasionally falling to maybe 85%.

    Biggest downfall? Red wine. If I open a bottle intending to drink 1 or 2 glasses, I’ll inevitably have 4 (or 5).

    I don’t eat a lot of fruit, but I do like apple and banana slices spread with almond butter. Without looking it up, I’m guessing that bananas are not particularly great, Primal-wise.

    Bacon? Yeah … lots of it! Glad to know I’m OK there. Same with butter: You should see how I slather it on sweet potatoes. Speaking of which, now that I’m working at home (unemployed!), I have a sweet potato every day for lunch. Can you overdo sweet potatoes?

  91. I really appreciated this article and its back to the basics approach. Thanks Mark!

  92. I don’t want to rain on the parade, but the fact is that bacon (actually pork in general) is rather high in unstable polyunsaturated fatty acids. There is valid science on the subject that suggests it may be better to minimize ALL polyunsaturates, including fish oil. Cancer & premature aging are reported to increase in populations consuming a high fish diet. There is also evidence that the so-called essential fatty acids are not essential in the diet at all and that the human body normally posseses endogenous enzymes to produce these in correct amounts when sufficient dietary saturated fat is available and these enzymes are not supressed by dietary polyunsaturates. Despite the current medical establishment love affair with fish oil, the highly unstable nature of both omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturates appears to make them pathogenic when consumed in the diet in other than minimal amounts. So I’m not down with The Great Fish Oil Experiment.

  93. Sex–Bacon– Do you realize it was after teh Fall of Adam and Eve that they had sex–and of course could eat bacon?

  94. From the paper “A comparison of organic and inorganic nitrates/nitrites” Sami A. Omar in the journal “Ntric oxide” 2012.

    Although both organic and inorganic nitrates/nitrites mediate their principal effects via nitric oxide, there
    are many important differences. Inorganic nitrate and nitrite have simple ionic structures and are produced
    endogenously and are present in the diet, whereas their organic counterparts are far more complex,
    and, with the exception of ethyl nitrite, are all medicinally synthesised products. These chemical
    differences underlie the differences in pharmacokinetic properties allowing for different modalities of
    administration, particularly of organic nitrates, due to the differences in their bioavailability and metabolic
    profiles. Whilst the enterosalivary circulation is a key pathway for orally ingested inorganic nitrate,
    preventing an abrupt effect or toxic levels of nitrite and prolonging the effects, this is not used by organic
    nitrates. The pharmacodynamic differences are even greater; while organic nitrates have potent acute
    effects causing vasodilation, inorganic nitrite’s effects are more subtle and dependent on certain conditions.
    However, in chronic use, organic nitrates are considerably limited by the development of tolerance
    and endothelial dysfunction, whereas inorganic nitrate/nitrite may compensate for diminished endothelial
    function, and tolerance has not been reported. Also, while inorganic nitrate/nitrite has important
    cytoprotective effects against ischaemia–reperfusion injury, continuous use of organic nitrates may
    increase injury. While there are concerns that inorganic nitrate/nitrite may induce carcinogenesis, direct
    evidence of this in humans is lacking. While organic nitrates may continue to dominate the therapeutic
    arena, this may well change with the increasing recognition of their limitations, and ongoing discovery of
    beneficial effects and specific advantages of inorganic nitrate/nitrite.

  95. I still don’t understand “how much” Fat? We can put ranges and formulas to figure carbs and protein. Is fat just the leftover calories following carb and protein calculations or is there a better way to figure that out?