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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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August 04 2009

How to Succeed with the Primal Blueprint

By Mark Sisson
197 Comments

So you’ve decided to join the challenge. You’ve created your own Primal Challenge Journal and have publicly stated your goals for the next month. Now what? First things first. You have to know the basics. If you’re new to the Primal Blueprint the following article will be like gold to you. Revisit it again and again until you’ve committed the concepts to memory. The graphs and charts are visual representations of the principles that are at the core of the Primal health philosophy and give you a taste of what it is in my new book, The Primal Blueprint.

You’ve defined the “what”. If your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, increase energy or just generally look and feel healthier these graphics explain the basics of the “how”.

The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve

What’ll It Be? The “Sweet Spot” or the “Danger Zone”?

Carbohydrate intake is often the decisive factor in weight loss success and prevention of widespread health problems like Metabolic Syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes. These average daily intake levels assume that you are also getting sufficient protein and healthy fats, and are doing some amount of Primal exercise. The ranges in each zone account for individual metabolic differences.

  • 0-50 grams per day: Ketosis and I.F. (Intermittent Fasting) zone. Excellent catalyst for rapid fat loss through I.F. Not recommended for prolonged periods (except in medically supervised programs for obese or Type 2 diabetics) due to unnecessary deprivation of plant foods.
  • 50-100 grams per day: Sweet Spot for Weight Loss. Steadily drop excess body fat by minimizing insulin production. Enables 1-2 pounds per week of fat loss with satisfying, minimally restrictive meals.
  • 100-150 grams per day: Primal Maintenance zone. Once you’ve arrived at your goal or ideal body composition, you can maintain it quite easily here while enjoying abundant vegetables, fruits and other Primal foods.
  • 150-300 grams a day: Insidious Weight Gain zone. Most health conscious eaters and unsuccessful dieters end up here, due to frequent intake of sugar and grain products (breads, pastas, cereals, rice, potatoes – even whole grains). Despite trying to “do the right thing” (minimize fat, cut calories), people can still gain an average of 1.5 pounds of fat every year for decades.
  • 300+ grams a day: Danger Zone of average American diet. All but the most extreme exercisers will tend to produce excessive insulin and store excessive fat over the years at this intake level. Increases risk for obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

The Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid

For effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and maximum longevity

New Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid

General Guidelines: 80% of body composition success is determined by diet. Limit processed carb intake (hence, insulin production), and obtain sufficient protein and fat to fuel and rebuild.

  • Protein: Average .7 – 1 gram per pound of lean body mass/day – depending on activity levels (more at times is fine).
  • Carbs: 50-100 grams/day (or less) = accelerated fat loss. 100-150 grams/day = effortless weight maintenance. Heavy exercisers can increase carb intake as needed to replace glycogen stores.
  • Fat: Enjoy freely but sensibly for balance of caloric needs and high dietary satisfaction levels.
  • Avoid Poisonous Things: Conventional Wisdom’s dietary guidelines promote fat storage, type 2 diabetes, inflammation and obesity!
  • Eliminate: Sugary foods and beverages, grains (wheat, corn, rice, pasta, breads, cereals, etc.), legumes (soy and other beans), trans and partially hydrogenated fats, high-risk conventional meat and produce, and excess PUFA’s (instead, increase omega-3 oils).
  • Modern Adjustments: Some modern foods that Grok didn’t eat can still be included in a healthy diet
  • Moderation: Certain high glycemic fruit, coffee, high-fat dairy products, starchy tuber vegetables, and wild rice.
  • Supplements: Multivitamin/mineral formula, probiotics, omega-3 fish oil and protein powder.
  • Herbs, spices and extracts: Offer many health benefits and enhance enjoyment of meals.
  • Sensible indulgences: Dark chocolate, moderate alcohol, high-fat treats.

The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid

For functional, diverse athletic ability, and a lean, proportioned physique

Exercising according to the three Primal Blueprint laws will optimize gene expression and promote Primal Fitness.

  • Law #3: Move Frequently at a Slow Pace strengthens the cardiovascular and immune systems, promotes efficient fat metabolism and gives you a strong base to handle more intense workouts.
  • Law: #4: Lift Heavy Things stimulates lean muscle development, improves organ reserve, accelerates fat loss, and increases energy.
  • Law #5: Sprint Once in a While stimulates the production of HGH and testosterone, which help improve overall fitness and delay the aging process – without the burnout risk of excessive prolonged workouts.

The Conventional Wisdom approach to fitness is clearly not working! Stress is excessive, weight loss goals are compromised, and many are misguided to pursue narrow fitness goals that are unhealthy.

  • Avoid Chronic Cardio (frequent medium-to-high intensity sustained workouts)
  • Avoid Chronic Strength Training (frequent and/or prolonged sub-maximal lifting sessions ending in exhaustion)
  • Avoid Regimented Schedules (instead, allow for spontaneous, intuitive variation in type, difficulty and frequency of workouts)

All this and much more can be found in my new book, The Primal Blueprint. Order a copy today and start getting Primal!

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197 thoughts on “How to Succeed with the Primal Blueprint”

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  1. Nice all encompassing post Mark. I love the carbohydrate curve. It puts everything in perspective and it works! More importantly it works in a sustainable way that is completely enjoyable. I’ve lost 8 pounds effortlessly in one month.

    Best,

    Ted

    1. HI There,

      Question, How can I drop more body fat when I already only consume 50-100g of Carbs/Sugars each day; I consume plenty of organic protein, good quality fats; veggies; I sprint once or twice a week; walk everyday; and I do crossfit style workouts a couple times a week? I still don’t have the body of a greek goddess, but I am trying. Oh and I take the right supplements. What do I do?

      Thanks
      Carly

      1. If you are eating like that and working out like that there is a good chance you are exceptionally healthy and look really fit. I would focus more on making peace with where you are at, loving your body now, and that wait for some inspiration to take things to the next level.

        1. I know this post is a couple of years old, but I am in the same position as Carly. I don’t eat for pleasure (no treats, strict Paleo for years) and I lift heavy weights several days a week with HIIT and still carry a lot of body fat.

          1. I am in the same position. I spoke to a physical fitness trainer.
            I believe it is because you need to do more strength training to build muscle. Even though you do more HIIT and cardio and burning fat, you need to balance it with strength training which includes either bodyweight exercises or high reps with low weights. There needs to be a balance.

          2. If you’re doing all of those things right, then you’re still ingesting more calories than you’re using. Restricting carbs keeps the body from producing excess insulin which can turn into extra fat. However, you still have to have a deficit of calories to lose weight. Even healthy fat like avocado is still calories if your goal is losing weight. Two options are: increase calorie use with additional physical activity, or decrease calorie intake. If you’re a grazer (likes to snack), one approach to the latter is intermittent fasting. For example, you can eat between 8am and 8pm, but fast (only drinking water) the other 12 hours. If you can get that to 8 hours of eating and 16 hours of fasting, you’re sure to get lean. Be sure to read up on it before trying the 8 hours on / 16 off. Good luck!

          3. check for hormone imbalances in your body that are restricting your body from working the way it is naturally meant to, which is as a fat burning vehicle

  2. I’m sure this will vary from person to person, but what is the maximum intake of carbs before you trigger a spike in insulin? I thought I read you don’t want to eat more than 30g in one sitting but want to see what the consensus is.

    1. Steve, it’s a good question, but there isn’t really a “maximum” level of carbs before triggering insulin. The quality of carbs matters a great deal, as well. A 20-oz Coke has the equivalent carbs of THREE pounds of carrots. Obviously, the coke will be disastrous for your blood sugar, but who is actually going to sit down and eat three pounds of carrots? The trick is to only eat primal or paleo-friendly carbs and focus on the fibrous, not starchy ones (unless you are especially active). Hope this helps!

    2. A friend of mine that is diabetic and on top of her diet has been instructed to keep her carbs at 26g or less per meal (3x daily) and she is right on target whenever she checks her blood sugar.

  3. Thanks for the pyramids! I’m a visual person, so this puts things into perfect perspective. I need to add more vegetables to my diet, pronto.

  4. As much as I love PB 200-300 grams of carbs a day won’t always produce “insidious weight gain”:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/mikeroussell#play/uploads/30/lqJSSMhXKj0

    And Tom Venuto:
    “If fat loss is your number one goal and you want to achieve it the healthy way
    without losing muscle or energy, then you can’t go wrong with 50-55% carbohydrates,
    30% protein and 15-20% fat as your starting point.”
    “I gained more muscle in the off-season,
    lost more fat in the contest season (as low as 3.4%) and stayed leaner all year round,
    maintaining a 7-9% body fat percentage without much difficulty. I also moved up a full
    weight class. My energy was better. I was leaner. I was stronger.”
    “My small adjustment to 50-30-20 might have worked well for me simply because
    I have an endo mesomorph body type and I’m a bit carbohydrate sensitive, but it also
    worked for the vast majority of my 600+ personal coaching protégés. ”
    – Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle p. 163

    Everything else is solid, but this Carb curve is not telling the whole story, in terms of weight maintenance.

    1. JE:

      There’s a great deal of explanation on here as to why Mark’s Carb Curve is the way it is. If you like the 50/30/20 ratio, you really don’t love the PB.

      However, http://www.fitnessspotlight.com just posted an interesting analysis of two relatively “high-carb” diets. The findings? As usual, it’s context: The sources of carbs matter more than the amount. So if you can get 50% of your calories from fruits and veggies WHILE maintaining muscle and losing fat, be my guest. It just doesn’t seem practical to me, having tried it myself before.

    2. But the man you quote did say “in the contest season”. He’s obviously professionally highly active. That makes him atypical and probably means he can get away with a higher carbohydrate intake than others.

      He’s atypical and also note his objectives are limited “stay[ing] leaner all year round”.

      What he’s recommending for people like him for that specific purpose, even if it does work on those terms isn’t necessarily a good idea long-term and bearing other factors in mind.

      What most impresses one about Weston A. Price’s findings is this one fact: that every single traditional society he investigated had intakes of fat-soluble vitamins (principally A & D) at levels of at least ten times as much that in the American diet of the 1930s. The gap would be wider now.

      In my opinion, that one fact should make everyone stop and think – and question what’s become conventional about low-fat diets, too.

      Now this wasn’t just hunter-gatherers Price looked at, but also fisherfolk, herders, and some healthy farming groups, like SWiss in remote Alpine valleys. These people were eating an astonishing range of different things that varied quite a lot from group-to-group. But they all had this high intake of fat-soluble vitamins from animal fats. They also also all had superb health with an almost complete absence of dental caries, with unusually strong and well-formed bones, and with an absence of degenerative diseases of several sorts.

      The thing is these people were living closer to nature and were probably in better touch with their bodies, so they knew what to eat. You don’t just throw away all that accumulated experience and knowledge across vast periods of time.

      Once you know their intake of fat, with those all-important fat-soluble vitamins, was so much higher than ours, and begin to get some idea of how many biological processes those vitamins are involved in you can no longer look at popular low-fat diets with the same eyes.

      Maybe a high-carbohydrate diet is OK for this sportsman, at any rate in the short term, for those narrow purposes that he’s stated. But it would be disastrous for a child or a pregnant woman. And one also has to ask “Will it keep Mr Venuto well in the long run?”

      1. I have Venuto’s book and it has been a great reference for a number of years. But you are correct that it is focused on a much more active style of training than the Primal Blueprint with lots more cardio, frequent meals and carb burning. PB also says that if you are doing an extra hour of exercise a day, you could up the carbs by 100g. But the idea of PB is NOT to train so hard so frequently so that you can extend your useful life.

        Note that both TV and MS have about the same percentage of body fat. Absent other fitness or competition goals you may have, the question to ask is “what’s the easiest way to get there and stay there?”

    3. The danger is looking at this for weight loss. The science is clear that genetically our genes are near identical to those of the hunter gatherers. We are healthier if we eat, move and interact as they did. Even modern day tribes are healthy. Endomorph, ectomorph etc. doesn’t really matter.
      Scott

  5. So I’m following this pretty closely, my carbs are as low as possible (literally the only carbs I get are from a lone piece of fruit daily) and working out fairly frequently.

    What I’m not doing is counting my caloric intake.

    Am I still likely to lose weight?

    1. We don’t count calories and we don’t actually count carbs. I hate math. If you eat the right things, you don’t really have to worry about the math. My husband has lost 44# and I have lost 32# following 80/20 primal (sometimes we cheat a little on the weekends). We do weights 2-3X/week and walk 5X/week. You will get more bang for your buck though if you swap out that piece of fruit for some veggies.

      1. Problem as I see it is I’m trying to get super lean (lose stubborn abdominal/hip fat that doesn’t seem to want to go), not just casually drop some excess. Does it still apply?

        1. Yes, but you can also try intermittent fasting if simply restricting the carbs does not do the trick for you.

  6. MDA viewers are indebted to all the free information he provides us Groks with. Buy his book; it’s full of great information! Mark is too nice.

  7. Nice robust summary of the primal blueprint. This helps me out in an analysis I’m currently doing of several different eating plans.

  8. Thanks for the visuals, Mark! I have the book (love it!), but it’s nice to have it plopped right in front of me (how lazy am I?) I just LOVE that the base of the pyramid is slow movement–I’m a walker from the time I was a kid, so it’s very validating.

  9. Second day of challenge. My challenge for this 30 days is to add heavy lifting and do some sprints. I already do sprints swimming.

    Thanks Mark, nicely explained.

  10. Great Post Mark (as usual).

    One thing that I think should be emphasized more than it is:

    Eliminate: Sugary foods and beverages

    Specifically the beverages part.

    If weight-loss is a goal or even a desired side-benefit of adhering to PB then eliminating sugary beverages tops the list of easiest things to implement as well as probably the greatest impact.

    1. For people who like “sugary beverages”. There is a tea out there, called Good Earth Original Sweet & Spicy. It is like a treat without cheating. It does not need to be sweetened at all but tastes wonderful!

      1. Hey!! I LOVE that tea! It really feels like you’re being bad when you drink it. So satisfying!!

    2. What about DIET Coke? Would one a day make that much difference? Also, what about Crystal Light drinks? I enjoy the Decaffinated Peach Iced Tea…can that be a staple drink on this diet?

      1. Whether to indulge in chemical sweeteners is a choice you will have to make. I would advise against it on several levels:

        1) The chemicals used for sweetening have been “approved” by the same governments that tell us we should be eating most of our calories in carbohydrates, and they are doing it for the same reason. There are big $$$ behind both the diet industry and behind the carbohydrate packaged food industry. Are the chemicals immediately toxic in small quantities? No. Are they GOOD for you in the long run? I would have to say that the jury is still out on that one.

        2) Indulging DAILY in sweetened drinks changes your palate. Since going primal, carrots are now SWEET to me, and 70% dark chocolate is now so sweet that I rarely eat it. It has really raised my ability to enjoy a wider variety of foods, and my cravings for sweets are pretty much gone.

        1. i totally noticed and agreed with you on the carrots, i can taste the sweetness in them. how weird?

      2. yes it would because diet drinks/sugar-free items have chemicals in them!! our body’s response to chemicals is to coat it with bodyfat! most people dont know this. Im amazed when I serve people at my job and they consume artificial sweeteners/sugarfree syrup.

  11. Thanks for the pyramid illustration. I have been teaching my Anatomy classes for years that the USDA and even the new government pyramids are way off. Even the Harvard School of Public Health pyramid is flawed. Would you mind if I used your pyramid as a better choice comparison to those (giving you full credit of course!)?

      1. That is awesome! Thank you! I will be sure to show them your book as a reference. The misinformation fed to kids about nutrition is unbelievable. I try to do what I can to present an alternate viewpoint and encourage them to look at the science behind the claims. Thanks again,
        Laurie

  12. Mark’s 30 day health challenge couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I’ve made the decision to go Primal. However, I am finding it hard to get down to the weight loss regime for carbs. I am using the application Lose it! for the iPod touch to track nutrients. The following is what I’ve eaten today:

    Breakfast:
    – 3 egg omlette with onion, tomato, red pepper, mushrooms, 4 oz of top sirloin steak, and 1/4 cup of salsa
    – 1.5 cups skim milk

    Snacks:
    10 almonds
    Beef Jerky
    small Greek Salad with onions, cukes, tomato, olives, and feta.

    It’s 5:15pm and I’m at 60.5 g of carbs, 55.4 g of fat, and 81.6 g of protein.

    Seems like it will be tough to keep that level of carbs going. Suggestions for my last meal of the day? I’m thinking a salad with diced chicken breast or Mark’s cold tomato soup.

      1. Wonderful site but – you won’t believe this – I can’t find the ADD BUTTON!! They say it is “to the left,” but I cannot find it.

    1. Try for something with more fat. Just some nice (grass-fed or organic/hormone-free) red meat and some boiled or raw dark-green lefty vegetable sounds like a good dinner. To top it off, cook the red meat in butter. Lots of it. Mmmmmmmmm….. That’s what I had last night for dinner. 😛

  13. I love this summary. Very concise and easy to follow.

    I also appreciate how each item was summarized in the book. This is a keeper!

  14. Hey Mark? Can you explain the carb curve to me in relation to different sized/gendered people? I mean, do the ranges stay the same no matter who you are?

    Surely little 130 pound female me needs fewer carbs to lose or even effortlessly maintain than a 300 pound man would, right?

  15. Thanks for the great visual. It will definitely make things a bit easier at least conceptually. In practice on the the other hand…..

  16. I second FlyNavyWife. I’m 5’3″, 105 lb female, and if I eat 100g carbs a day, I start edging up in weight. I certainly can’t regularly eat 150g a day and ‘effortlessly’ maintain my weight.

    1. Yes, Mark makes a point when introducing the carb curve in his book that smaller, lighter people will have lower carb requirements and those that do lots of cardio will have higher ones. This is not “one size fits all”, but the relative proportions should work for most people. For reference, Mark says he weighs about 165 lbs and is at 8% body fat. If you weigh about 2/3 of that, you are probably looking at 60-100 g carbs in the maintenance zone, unless you are really active.

    2. I am reading alot about “primal” or a “paleo” program. I agree with the fact that People are literally poisoning themselve because of the garbage being consumed. It appears that grocery stores are equipped to promote processed products, NOT food. In a nut shell all that’s being eaten are pure chemicals with no nutritional value. Then there are the boxed products, again, pure chemicals. I am obese becase I had an illness that put me in bed for 2 yrs, I am trying what is being said & I am feeling so much better, people need to open their eyes, eat like a caveman.

  17. 5’3″ and 105?!

    anyway 🙂

    wanted to chime in and say that the book is FANTASTIC.

    Im almostprimal (I tend to get way too many funcarbs over the weekend sometimes. Thanks to summer blockbusters & my penchant for movie popcorn) but am all the way primal with the workouts.

    great stuff conveyed so clearly and humorously in the Blueprint.

  18. Thanks Mark, this is great! Thank you for laying it all out, clear and simple . I can see me perusing this page a lot over the coming month.

  19. I just wanted to know what you think an appropriate amount of healthy fat intake is for someone who is extremely active? I follow the protein and carb intake you advise, but seems like my fat intake at every meal varies. Just wanted an overall daily fat intake idea to keep my energy levels up.

  20. Why is conventional meat and produce listed as “high-risk”? High-risk for what, e-coli? Also, I’d think that high-fat dairy would be more acceptable (for a lactose tolerant person) than high-GI fruits or tubers (bananas, potatoes, etc.)

    Other than that, nice pyramid. It’s the best one I’ve seen yet and it’s much better than the oft-cited Harvard pyramid, let alone the classic USDA pyramid of old.

    1. Also, you can eat a fair amount of vegetables and fruits and still stay under 50 grams of carbohydrates. For example, according to data on fitday, these are the approximate amounts you’d need to get about 50 grams for some common veggies & fruits (milk and liver included for comparison):

      -4.5 cups of whole milk (between 1/4 and 1/3 of a gallon) – 49.6 grams
      -3 medium oranges – 46.2 grams
      -1.5 lbs strawberries – 52.3 grams
      -3 lbs (!!!) raw spinach – 49.4 grams
      -1.5 lbs raw broccoli – 45.2 grams
      -3 lbs of fried beef liver, weighed raw – 51.6 grams (I don’t recommend such a large amount, though, as it might have toxic levels of vitamin a!)

      So it IS possible to eat a significant amount of veggies and fruits on a very low-carb type of diet. I think I’d get sick of spinach before I could get to 3 pounds…

    2. Conventional meat has 1) added hormones, anti-biotics and who knows what chemical and 2) a much much higher omega 6:3 ratio than pastured meat.

      High-fat grass-fed RAW dairy sounds good, but homogenization of milk damages the healthy fats in milk and makes them much unhealthier for you. Pasteurization also doesn’t have the healthiest effect on milk either.

      But even raw grass-fed dairy should be taken in moderation because, as Icarus noted, dairy has carbs too.

  21. Hi Mark, you stated above:

    Carbs: 50-100 grams/day (or less) = accelerated fat loss. 100-150 grams/day = effortless weight maintenance. Heavy exercisers can increase carb intake as needed to replace glycogen stores.

    I lift weights 3 times/week for about an hour, punch a heavy bag 2 times/week for approx 30 minutes(3 minutes on, 1 minute off) and run once per week (long sprints of 200-400 yards w/1-2 minutes rest inbetween for approx 10-15 minutes total).. Would I be considered a heavy exerciser with this routine? I feel great keeping my carb intake within the 50-100/day range, but would more carbs be beneficial to my glycogen stores and therefore help my exercise performance?

  22. probably i’m wrong, but i can’t help felling uncomfortable with the PB food pyramid:

    wouldn’t it be better to place meat and fish at the basis and vegs./fruit on the second place?

    1. We gotta remember to look at how our ancestors were able to eat. Most of their diet would have been things they could forage making meat secondary. Also, meat is very acidic and by eating tons of veggies (especially greens) we can guard against all that inflammation.

    1. Meat isn’t the only thing at the base, eggs and fish make up a big part of my diet too.

  23. what is the best to use as an oil for cooking? and for something like eggs is it better to use butter? or marg?

    1. For general cooking you can’t go past coconut oil. Eggs are delicious done in heaps of butter, good in coconut oil too. Extra Virgin Olive oil is fine as well if you keep the temperature moderate.
      PS: don’t say that M word too loud around here! 😉

    2. Also, you might want to consider walnut oil for low-heat situations or cold-food use, avocado oil for up to moderate-heat cooking, and macadamia-nut oil for moderate to even medium-high (up to 375 degrees) heat cooking.

      Grass fed meat is best if it’s cooked pretty slowly anyway, and left rare or (at worst) medium-rare… so butter and the above oils are all magnificent for that kind of cooking (and all of them are great for salads!)

  24. Thanks for this article. Very good read and good place for knowledge gathering. One question – Your recommendation on avoiding legumes is the only thing that is the exact opposite of most other sources of health information that I have read, including the age-old Ayurveda and the Chinese book of longevity. Any comments?

    1. The recommendation against legumes is most likely due to the lectin content. Lectins are believed to contribute to auto immune disease and may contribute to cancers. The evidence for the cancer link is still weak but it is increasing as more is understood about lectins.
      For more info check out Robbwolf.com, thepaleodiet.com (Loren Cordain has some very interesting scientific articles here regarding these types of things) and westonaprice.org for soy info.

      1. And remember, just because a belief has been around for thousands of years (Ayurveda) does not make it right. People still believe in ghosts but I have yet to see any meausrable, observable, and repeatable data on the existence of ghosts.
        Lectins however have had studies with meausrable, observable, and repeatable results and the evidence thus far points to them being not so good for you.

      2. Hi! What wheat and legumes (and bananas, and potatoes) have in common is Amylopectin. All of the different types (Amylopectin A through E) is a toxic effect on the body.

  25. Stupid question – does the amount of fibre in a food affect the carb count? If I’m eating 100 g of carb (fruit and veg) a day, but 25 g of that is fibre, do I count that as 75g or 100g?

  26. Any ideas on a low-impact replacement for sprints? Back just can not handle sprinting. Swimming would probably work, just not always possible.

    1. I came into this -super- unfit, with a lot of back damage (from carrying around hundreds of extra pounds). I found the CTS (circular strength training) routine to provide a good general fitness, and found that adding the occasional round with heavier-than-usual club-bells, and the addition of belly dancing (yes, even for guys!!!) made a HUGE impact on both my fitness and the alleviation of pain in my back — just a thought.

  27. Hi Mark.. I was just wondering if yogurt would be alright in my diet for fat loss? I’m still certain that I stay under my 100g per day. A serving of yogurt for me only at breakfast comes to 30.2g grams of carbs, 10g protein and something like 25g of sugar.. but apart from the yogurt I have eliminated ALL processed sugar, the only type of sugar I get is the stuff from the fruit I eat.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Daniel, I eat yogurt most days and have been steadily losing fat with PB. I would suggest trying to get away from the yogurt with added sugar though. Now I eat plain greek yogurt with some added berries. While I was transitioning from sugared yogurt I added a small amount of jam, and gradually decreased the jam until I didn’t need it any more. When fresh berries are out of season (or just too expensive) I use frozen ones thawed in the fridge overnight.

  28. Does the restriction against legumes include peanuts (if it says so in the book, my copy is in the mail)?
    Tangentially: are peanuts considered Primal? They’re inedible raw, but are considered a great source of healthy fats when cooked. But…does cooking them oxidize the fats to the point that they’re no longer considered healthy?

  29. I have been living the PB lifestyle for about 5 weeks now. I found out about it from doing P90X and Tony Horton’s FB page. I am a 42 year old Mom and have been exercising incessantly for most of my adult life. I am a 1/2 marathoner (and always kept up high mileage) and avid interval trainer/weight lifter. I was feeling burned out (after P90X) and tired of sacrificing my life for some unattainable fitness goal. I never looked like I was in the shape I was, eventhough I was/am much stronger than a lot of men I know. This program has let me ease up on the crazy exercise and lose fat for a change. I could never lose it like this before eventhough I always ate very healthy – it was the low-fat eating and too many carbs! I hope these breakthroughs continue so I can do other things with my free time!

  30. if someone, namely me, has a lot of food intolerances how could they eat primal? The native americans never drank cows milk, which is why I figure more NA’s are lactose intolerant than any other race.
    so, i have tried all sorts of beef and pork, bought from many different places, including pastured, and i still cannot eat either meat. I can eat turkey and chicken and fish, though my husband doesn’t like the smell so cooking it is hard. i have a severe intolerance to all things dairy, so cheeses and milk are out. My intolerance to many different vegetables is rapidly rising also, green peppers, radishes, potatoes, onions, ginger are all out of my current diet. Oil is another thing i find makes me feel ill when consumed. Chocolate and caffeine have been gone from my diet for years. I now drink only water or white teas. I have a really hard time with most grains already, though i do love and enjoy wild rice. I suffer migraines or extreme discomfort when i eat anything on the above list. When I eat too much refined sugar i get a ‘fog’ headache.
    So, based on all these restrictions, is there any way i could go primal?
    would love to hear from other people who have food intolerances.

    1. I have been in a similar condition. What I found is that the more things I removed from my diet, the more I ate the same foods over and over. The constant exposure to the same items allowed my immune system to become increasingly more sensitive to what I was eating. It was a vicious cycle.

      What has helped me: 1)to not eat anything every day, once every 4+ days is better; 2) identify 4 or more items for each food type (meats/veg/fruit/etc) and eat them in a 4+ day rotation; 3) always eat fruit with some form or protein, always eat veggies with some form of fat.

      I was already eating primal and this allowed me to continue to do so while restabilizing my immune system.

    2. PurpleSpongeBob I cannot tell you how exactly you describe my exact situation. I was wondering if you have had any results or any suggestion that you have followed that gave you positive results.

    3. I have migraines, too. I’ve been trying to control them using Dr. Bucholz’ “Heal Your Headaches: the 1-2-3 Program” diet, which eliminates several of the foods that you mentioned. I had already gone low-carb a year before adopting the anti-migraine diet, so I was determined to keep to that (starches & grains don’t agree with my stomach & cause me to gain weight).

      You’ll probably end up eating a lot of chicken and allowable vegetables. Green peppers are not digestible by many people due to their skin. Shallots, leeks, & green onions are not supposed to be migraine triggers and may be a good substitute for onions for you.

      The recommendation to pair fruit with protein is a good one. I find that if Ii pair it with protein or fat, I’m ok; but if I eat it on its own, I also get a “fog” headache.

    4. Maybe look more into FODMAP’s. Fructose intolerance or HFI the more detrimental kind of fructose intolerance where you can not tolerate any form of fructose and sometimes galactose.
      I too have suffered all my life with adverse affects to fruit and veggies. I’m now in the process of do the tests associated with these intolerances.
      Maybe looking into them further might give you the answers you are looking for…..
      Hope that helps 🙂

  31. Wow, I can’t believe how succinctly you posted exactly how one should live to be healthy, lean and fit. I have tried to explain this lifestyle numerous times but for now on will just send people to this page.

    As for carbs, the recommendations here are pretty much right for me. I train a lot so I do get away with more carbs than I should eat. But ultimately carbs easily make me fat and lethargic.

    Great article!

  32. I am dairy intolerant – my mom is native american.

    I am primal for six months and do not eat any dairy, potatoes, grains, chocolate or sugar. I have not eaten dairy for years, but my ND told me to give up sugar completely, period, about six months ago. I was having terrific IBS and my cholesterol was rising. She told me sugar raises cholesterol. So, I listened and sugar is a goner for me since November,2009.

    PB is easy to implement with your personal restrictions. Do not think of your life in terms of what you cannot have, but in terms of what you can have.

    If you haven’t already, get rid of grains, sugar and dairy. Entirely. You will feel so much better you will not ever want the stuff again.

    It sounds like you need to give your gut a time to rest and heal. In time you can re-introduce beef and pork. It may take a few months. It took me about 4 months to heal up to the place where I can now eat a tiny cracker without misery.

    I am O negative, so a big meat eater according to Eat Right for Your Type. I feel great on meat. Remember, the reason for rising anecdotal “intolerance” (I have been tested through a blood test for my intolerances) is your damaged intestinal track. Stop the offending foods, give your body a simple pure diet for a few months, and it will heal. You can re-introduce foods slowly over time.

    I have healed, you can too!

    Sandra

  33. I am looking at the Carbohydrate Curve graphic and wondering if the presentation of the data could somehow be flipped so that the ideal (Grok) is at the top instead of cornered at the bottom. In other words: put the superior state on top for quicker conveyance of the message?

  34. Just getting started. Makes a lot of sense. Are raisins a good snack? Eat lots now.

    My wife was wondering the validity of Eat Right for Your Type and if the two diets are intertwined in any way.

    1. Like most dried fruit, for the weight, raisins are mostly sugar. Lots of fructose carbs. One quarter cup has 25 grams of sugar. Also, there may be other ingredients such as pesticides, canola oil, etc.

    2. Like most dried fruit, for the weight, raisins are mostly sugar. Lots of fructose carbs. One quarter cup has 25 grams of sugar. Also, there may be other ingredients such as pesticides, canola oil, sulfites etc.

  35. I want to raid my pantry and throw away ALL the high carb stuff but the hubby doesn’t understand why. I really want to lose this extra weight that I have been carrying around since the birth of my daughter (over 2 yrs ago)!

    1. Hello! I had the same problem. I was completely convinced that Primal was THE WAY and he was totally wacked out by it.

      Just go ahead and delegate your own pantry or cupboard. At the least, just start making primal meals. If he starts gaining weight by eating his other junk foods in addition and sees you loosing it (which you will right away)… he will be convinced. Or better yet he will feel full with the meals you make and be loosing weight with you, which is my experience.

      Just wait until you cook up a hearty breakfast…

  36. I’m 21 years old, 5’4″ and 115 pounds. I lost about 80 pounds on my own at home over the past little while, but I feel like I’m stuck with a higher body fat percentage than is preferable for someone of my light weight. I do lift heavy weights and do body weight exercises, accompanied by some cardio, but nothing has seemed to work so far at getting rid of the last excess bits of fat.

    About one or two months ago, I stopped eating grains. That helped my stomach problems a lot, but admittedly, I just replaced the grains with other carb sources (like quinoa, for example). I feel like I can’t function on a low-carb diet.

    I went low-carb/high fat for quite awhile (a couple of months) and the result was me having chest and stomach pains, from consuming too much fat — even if it was from a healthy source — and migraine headaches.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? I feel like I have no idea what to do at this point. 🙁

  37. I am a 20 year-old college student recovering from a back surgery due to a herniated disk from what is being referred to as “chronic cardio”. My goal was to be an ultra-marathon runner but all I got out of it in the end was a bad knee, torqued hips and a back surgery ha! In the meantime I have found the Primal Blueprint (hallelujah!) but am struggling with the exercise component of PB. How should I best get into sprinting and lifting heavy things with a compromised back? any ideas on workouts or suggestions in general?? I’d love any and all advice…

  38. I love this site! I have been lo-to-no carbing it for 3 or 4 years now. At my max I dropped 60 pounds from my highest weight of 265lbs! Yikes! I had dropped down to 205 but normally maintain around 210-215 range. I seem to have plateued here. I am 6’3″ btw. Anyway I love your site. It is fantastic!!! Just wish I could lose the last of this belly fat…

  39. One question though about this and other paleo type diets… why no cheese?

    I mean, I realize that they did not have cheese back then so is this just to go along with the paleo theme or is there an actual health reason? I eat alot (and I do mean alot) of cheeses which I find mostly labeled zero carbs or <1 gram of carbs per serving. High protein, high fat low carb. So what is wrong with cheese. When I lost my 60 lbs I was only eating meat, eggs and cheese! Are there reasons that I should now avoid cheese? My current diet is mainly meats, cheeses, greens and some fruits.
    Thanks!

  40. why is fruits at the base of the pyramid. I thought fruits were rare finds in Grok’s day and were few and far between???

  41. Why is it that the levels of recommended carbs are not ‘per lb of bodyweight’ as the protein is?

    I am 6’4″ and 200lbs surely I can safely eat more carbs than a 110lb woman?

  42. The results from this way of life just speaks for itself. You’re happier and have a higher sense of well being.

  43. So how do I do this diet, being that I’m a vegetarian? I don’t get my protein from meats, but from legumes and grains. Help!

    1. The easiest solution would be to abandon vegetarianism. Alternatively, eat lots of eggs and drink whey protein.

    2. Ya I have the same issue. I am a vegetarian (I do eat eggs and milk). How do I follow this diet? Since I get my protein from legumes as well.

  44. I don’t know where to start. I’m 21, and unhealthy. I want to become healthy, but I have alot of bad habits. I don’t know where to start for my health. If anyone, anyone at all has any advice, I’d really like to hear it.

  45. I’m sorry if you’ve already answered this somewhere. Your book is on the way to my mailbox as we speak, but I’m curious….do the veggies count in the carb intake? I know fruit counts if you’re trying to lose weight, so veggies probably do too huh?

  46. Looking at the carbohydrate chart, it is interesting to compare with the Federal Food Pyramid. The current reccomendation is 45-65% of daily calories from carbs, which if you are consuming 2000 calories is 275 calories from carbs. This is near the top of the “Insidious Weight Gain” region. Yikes! A good addition to the chart might be a red arrow “Federal Guideline” pointing at that spot on the curve with a note about what it means…

    References: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/DGAC/Report/D-5-Carbohydrates.pdf (Page 4 of 61)

    Mark: Great work, thans a bunch!

    Steve Schilz

  47. Hi!
    I love this approach!
    The only thing I feel a little uncomfortable with is avoiding prolonged cardio. I’m a cross country runner, and we train daily 6 times a week (with different intensities, of course, we run 20-50 minute range).
    I’ve never had a problem with cardio before, running has actually improved my joints ever since I started.
    I want to know the problems behind cardio, especially since it’s provided great benefits for me.

  48. How do I know if I am eating the 100 grs of carbs daily or I am exceeding them. I am a little bit confused with this. I am already eating clean for 3 weeks but I am not sure if I am doing the carb thing correctly. I am eating no more than 2 pieces of fruits a day, mainly berries..

  49. Mark,
    I am stupid & lazy.
    My daughter is a Registered Dietition in Oncology.
    BUT I hate figuring out all the how muc of this in Grams, how much of that in Grams.
    Why can’t anyone just give us “simple folk” exact amounts; say, 1 slice of bread a day; 1/2 filet of Tilapia, etc.
    I know most people probably know all this by heart, but I don’t and it is too time consuming for me to figure out what each “gram” or other measurement means in SIZE or PORTION of the food to eat.
    Sorry, I’m ranting. I get so aggrevated about the whole “measurement or weight? thing with eating.

  50. So, what constitutes 100gms a day of carbs?
    I don’t have a scale and such, so ….
    How do I figure my grams if I make
    homemade bread?
    I want to spend my latter years remembering what my children did as toddlers, grade schoolers, etc.
    I want to remember the moments in time of their special days, times & family time.
    How can I loose weight w/o impacting my brain with more stuff I have to remember as opposed to stuff I WANT to remember?
    http://www.mealsmatter.org/MealPlanning/Equivalents/
    http://www.livestrong.com also talks about portion size, but not Grams.
    Someone please S-P-E-L-L it out in simple life using terms.

  51. My carbo intake is between 60 to 80/ day. I use the carbo curve as a guideline. But I discovery that some products as for example wine doesn’t gives you so much carbo. 2 glasses of wine gives you 4 carbs. Not much. I read and over read the book PB and others like Paleo diet but I don’t find anything about what kind of products you have to be alert even if they gives you low carbs. Should we be alert of the calories or fat(under 100 a day)? What do you think? I still can get the last fat and make me crazy. I do weight lift, sprint (once a week) and walk with the dog. Love wine (2 or 3 glasses not more a day). Shall I stop? If I look my carbos they still under 90.

  52. I’ve been primal for 17 days, I feel so much better but I’m not losing as much weight as I was hoping. I only wanted to lose about ten pounds but I’ve only lost two or three in 17 days. I’m very active and have always eaten well but I really wanted to eat even better and look even better. Any advice or suggestions to help me drop the weight and tone? Thanks!

  53. Here’s the thing. I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian, but I want to go primal for health, but yet eating meat just goes against my beliefs. Yes, I already read the articles about why humans need meat and Mr. Sisson’s escape from vegan island. My question is, can I use eggs to replace meat and still keep primal and healthy? What about fermented milk and cheese?

  54. Can you eat all bran while doing this? Because it is a carbohydrate
    sorry if that sounds stupid

  55. What are some examples of a “high Fat treat” at the bottom of the pyramid?

  56. After a decade of circling through everything from zero-carb fat fast Atkins to 100% Raw Veganism these diagrams are genius.

    Its what I do – fruits & vege first (though from your recipes/etc. it seems like meat/fish/fowl/eggs is actually on the bottom rung!?) I eat 80%+ raw veges (green juices, sprouted seedss, microgreens, wheatgrass, etc.). Roasted beetroot & steamed veg once in a while. Low GI fruits for treats and a few times a week I’ll have wild salmon or wagyu.

    For me its an ethical thing – so its wild meats once or twice a week – rather than “hunting” & gorging on giant serves of meat three times a day every day. Unsure if we did that in the primal era.

  57. Oh, and I also do organic fresh coconuts & avocado and pinches of the wild superfoods (goji, spirulina, etc)…

  58. We are a gaggle of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with useful information to work on. You have done a formidable activity and our entire neighborhood can be thankful to you.

  59. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people think about worries that they just do not know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal.

  60. Hey there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any solutions to stop hackers?

  61. A lot of thanks for all your valuable hard work on this web site. Kim take interest in participating in investigations and its really easy to understand why. A lot of people learn all relating to the powerful manner you provide invaluable techniques through your web blog and as well boost participation from website visitors on that matter so my girl is truly discovering a great deal. Take pleasure in the rest of the year. You are performing a great job.

  62. I would suggest trying to get away from the yogurt with added sugar though. Now I eat plain greek yogurt with some added berries. While I was transitioning from sugared yogurt I added a small amount of jam, and gradually decreased the jam until I didnt need it any more. When fresh berries are out of season (or just too expensive) I use frozen ones thawed in the fridge overnight.

  63. This man hacks my email and facebook accounts daily hacked my website and is generally made my life hell any time i touch a computer for the last seven years. his latest prank was to use someones account that I was romantically interested in and interfere in our relationship eh even went as far as to get someone to pretend to be him on the phone and try to tell me horrible things.

  64. My own take on privacy is that at least with Facebook, Twitter, etc. I CHOOSE to put data up there, and am careful in selecting what I do commit to tehse people. After 20 years online in one form or another (I go back to the days of dialup BBS and FIDONETs) I work on the principle that everything I commit online may come back and bite my bottom anyway.

    I am more concerned about the invasion of privacy conducted by Google with its Street View, its keeping of search records to build its database of intentions, etc.

    And ultimately Hell, Im MUCH more worried (living in the UK) about the authoritarian laws of personal liberties that my Government is still introducing.

  65. As I understand it you have full capacity to delete information and their rights to your information ends with the deletion (not to be confused with deactivation) of your account, except for that data which has already been distributed. Also they note that it may persist in backup for a reasonable length of time, which I can only assume is until the backup is phased out.

    The parts about facebook applications seems more troubling to me than facebooks stake in the matter.

  66. The problem is when they have castrated, cut-off, and self-mutilated genitalia on their brains and think they are doing people a favor when they try and put this self-projecting morbidity on theirs!

    Im sure Im not the only one to happily refuse to let every healthy, natural, genital impulse be associated and over-coded in advance with pallid, sickly ideations of incest & castration.

    Much better orgasms that way! And dating becomes both a self-affirmation and an affirmation of earthly, somatic, natural-biological life!

    Lacan in Seminar XVII broadens the concept of castration that much, that a change of terminology is more than just a little justified

  67. I gained more muscle in the off-season,
    lost more fat in the contest season (as low as 3.4%) and stayed leaner all year round,
    maintaining a 7-9% body fat percentage without much difficulty. I also moved up a full
    weight class. My energy was better. I was leaner. I was stronger.
    My small adjustment to 50-30-20 might have worked well for me simply because
    I have an endo mesomorph body type and Im a bit carbohydrate sensitive, but it also
    worked for the vast majority of my 600+ personal coaching protgs.
    – Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle p. 163

    Everything else is solid, but this Carb curve is not telling the whole story, in terms of weight maintenance.

  68. I’m with you on this. I still consider myself new to the blogging world and can still (at times) be insecure with my posts and writing. When someone takes the time to at least acknowledge that they read it and leave a positive..thanks for sharing. It helps encourage newbies 🙂

  69. Mark,
    I’m past the point where I’m going to sprint anywhere anytime anymore. I walk daily and sometimes work out on an incline treadmill, do yoga and use the weight machines at the gym. What can I do to replace the sprinting? I also don’t Play much. Never have.
    Thanks. I’m using your cookbook on a regular basis and gave it to friends for Christmas.

  70. Mark,

    Quick question, there are more and more diets out there that are restrictive diets, and as I have been with PB for just under a month (and WOW has my life improved already! I am currently 6’1” 230lbs, down from 240lbs) but I digress. My question is that there are diets out there that are specific to bloodtype, do you support these diets within the PB food map? e.g. I am A+ and it suggests that I avoid mushrooms, peppers, and other awesome things like citrus fruits. This restricts me even fruther, yet, I am seeing amazing losses on the scale without cutting these from my diet. Should I continue to stick with PB’s recommendations and say NUTS! to their suggestions?

    It really is confusing with the myriad of nutrition suggestions, and I have never felt so energetic before switching to PB. A little insight from your vast wisdom would be very much appreciated!

    ~Jason

  71. Should athletes follow the same guidelines considering they need to be even more fit? Obviously runners need to have the endurance and therefore do a lot of cardio….?

  72. About coffee – I don’t drink caffeine, so I only drink decaffeinated coffee (and black or with coconut milk). Is there something specific about coffee to consider, or is it just the caffeine intake?

  73. Is organic raw sugar alright to use in replace of regualar sugar, or is it just as bad.

  74. I put a link to this info graphic in my latest “I’m finally going paleo blog” post. Surely this has got to be one of the most helpful pages in the history of the net.

    I also referred to Mark as the “pop-king of primal”. Woo-whoo. Wee-hee.

  75. I would put fat grams instead of carb grams in that graph:

    carb-g fat-g
    300 77 danger
    250 100
    200 122 gain
    150 144 maintain
    100 166 lose
    50 188 keto
    0 211

    Assuming 2000 calories/day & 100 grams protein. Otherwise you’ll end up in hibernation.

  76. Mark,

    When you say you should not stay under 50 carbs per day for very long are you referring to total carbs or net? I just started Atkins and my total carbs are @ 40, but it’s 20 net. I’m perfectly happy in this zone: losing weight, not hungry, not craving. What’s the probem with staying here? I’m getting lots of veggies (tons) but no fruit yet. The only reason I’ve been able to get from Atkins that it’s important to steadily increase carbs is because you’ll get bored if you don’t.

    Well, I don’t think the addition of a cup of milk, a few nuts and some strawberries is going to make much of a difference for me either way if I don’t desire them. Is it really unhealthy to stay in the “induction” phase if you’re doing well with it? Why does my body NEED more carbs when I already feel like I’m about to burst with the many and varied veggies I already consume?

    1. From what I can tell..there really is no such thing as a “Net Carb”. A carb is a carb is a carb. It seems like Atkins gets you a little closer to a PB than the regular American diet, but doesn’t take you home, so to speak.

      If you are smaller, maybe you are closer to your optimal than it would appear…the amounts in the chart, from what i have read, are ranges…and those ranges can vary a little I would guess.

      The blueprint is about the optimal way to achieve a healthier lifestyle. The best thing to do, is listen to Your body.

  77. Don’t forget that protein’s insulinogenic effects are largely counterbalanced by the release of glucagon, a hormone that helps us burn previously stored fat, after protein consumption.

    This is in contrast to carbs, which unapologetically raise insulin, and fat which is essentially biologically inert.

  78. I calculated that my lean body mass is about 135 lbs. So even if I use the 1 gram/lb per day of protein as a guideline, this means I should be having less than 5 ounces of protein a day? How can it be so little when protein is the bulk of what I should be consuming in a day?

  79. Adam, it’s the amount of protein in the food, not the weight of the food.

  80. So, I know it’s somewhere on your site, but short of sitting at my computer longer than I need to hunting down info, how can fruit be so unhealthy for you. I have a pretty big salad for dinner every day and it includes apples, strawberries, blueberries, and other various veggies. Plus, I eat other fruits here and there. Yes, I know it has sugar, but it’s natural sugar as opposed to table sugar. What other info do have to offer on a low to no fruit option in your diet? I just don’t see cutting out the fruit.

  81. Mark, I just don’t think this diet is healthy with protein at the bottom of the pyramid. Too much protein will lead to a highly acid forming diet which is not healthy. Surely vegetables should be at the bottom of the pyramid. FYI I do agree with you about carbohydrates. Maybe this diet helps you stay thin, but you are doing long term damage to your organs. Why not just reduce the amount of protein to that which you need to maintain muscle mass etc?

    I look forward to your reply (if you have one).

  82. is there a no exercise diet plan? What if you are disabled or paralized?

  83. Hi i am currently new to the PB’s diet and just trying to order all the main elements I will need. Cocunut oil is down as an essential. However from further research there seems to be main different types HELP. Do i need:
    – Refined coconut oil
    – Virgin coconut oil
    – Pure coconut oil

  84. is it more beneficial to IF in the morning, afternoon, or night? Or does is not make a difference?

  85. I was wondering how could i accostume this diet for someone who´s vegetarian? I have a hard time eating lost of veggies and i think i´d end up starving. Do you (or anybody) have any ideas for how to follow the primal diet the healthy way,while still being vegetarian?

  86. Mark, I’ve been a fan and subscriber to your website for a while now and noticed something strange when I went to order the Primal Blueprint book. On the website article here these comments go with Meal, Fish, Fowl, etc is on the bottom of the pyramid at the base. When I went to purchase the book (unsucessully due to computer issues – trying again later) it showed a free PB Food pyramid poster with it, that featured Meat, etc on the next to bottom layer and Veggies, etc were now on the bottom. Is this a mistake, change of concept or a new way of thinking?

  87. So I’ve decided to cut my carb intake down because on average I was eating 150-200g carbs a day on a roughly 3000-3200 calorie diet. Those carbs came from a couple of fruits and dairy products. I’m attempting to go almost complete primal/paleo by cutting out all dairy except for at max 2 cups of whole milk a day immediately after my workout.

    My goal is to keep my total carb intake between the 50-100g range. I crossfit 5 days a week also.

    What I don’t seem to understand is this: will cutting the carbs down but eating roughly the same amount of calories allow me to shed the fat I have? Or will i still need to cut the calories down slightly to stimulate weight loss

    I’m currently 201 lbs, and 6’1 at 28 years old.

    Any help is appreciated!

  88. How about Oats ? I feel satiated with oats and can completely replace rice / wheat with oats. Has any one tried it and had successful weight loss with the paleo diet ?

    1. Yes, started out in the healthy range but with a body composition I wasn’t happy with and I was getting married so wanted to look great in my dress. I was the leanest and in best shape I have ever been in from eating Paleo and doing Crossfit.

  89. I’ve been eating clean for a year before transitioning to PB in March 2012. The one question I have is with the foods in the Moderation category. In 1 day I could eat 2-3 fruits, 1 cup HF Greek Yogurt, 1 sweet potato & 2-3 servings of nuts and nut butters. As I’m writing this it sounds excessive for 1 day. And…yes Weight Loss is a major goal. Should I cut back on this food group?
    Thanks!

  90. Thanks for the great website and the very enlightening information. I am diligently trying to get fit, lost the weight and eat right! I have so many questions…but this article is a great start for me. I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance a year ago. Just staying off pasta, grains, bread, cereal and anything with gluten has helped me lose 30 lbs. That’s halfway to my goal but I want to do more to maximize this effort and to eat correctly forever! Thanks for your tips. Can’t wait to get my book.

  91. Mark, I’ve been fighting hypoglycemia for years. In the past, breads and such have always made me feel better, and a recent calorie-restricted diet always left me dizzy and shaky, in between the lack of calories and starchy gluteny things. I’m day 3 on the Paleo diet and the ability to eat as much as I want is really helping, but I’m curious if you have recommendations as far as fasting? I’m wondering if the PD will help even out my blood sugar, since eventually my body won’t be overreacting with the insulin, but will a day of fasting affect this? Currently, I can’t go more than 3 hours without eating or I’m a hot mess of low blood sugar.

  92. I don’t know if it’s already been mentioned but I want to know Mike’s opinion on my plan. I would like to combine juicing (to make getting the right carbs and vitamins and minerals easier) with a primal eating plan. Say, one fully loaded juice a day and almost no edible carbs for the rest of my meals. Any advice or opinions? Currently my juice includes apples, lemons, limes, spinach (they were out of Kale), celery, cucumbers, carrots, ginger, and a couple of those Naked smoothies (all in a big pitcher to pour a glass).

  93. Hi Mark!
    Im one of the many in dire straights! My worst symptom of wheat-indulgence over the years is severe asthma (and yes, fat too). If I were to sprint or try to lift heavy items, my asthma would kick in and Id end up in the hospital. Any “starter” suggestions for those of us just too sick to do more than eat Primal?

  94. So Mark, how do we get this message across in schools? We have a huge tidal wave of health problems comingour way.

  95. Mark hey, i was wondering how come olive oil is not under the category of oils for cooking. is there anything wrong about using olive oil as a cooking oil?
    thanks

  96. So I’m curious to try the primal lifestyle out. Im a vegetarian with dairy/wheat/soy allergies so I’m mostly primal(sans meat). I do crossfit and bikram about 3-4 times a week. I haven’t really leaned out as much as I would like and Im wondering what I need to change. I bike to work and try to get about 3 miles of walking in a day. Thanks for any help.

  97. Hi! I am not new to low carb living but I am taking my second run at it. This is largely due to the fact that I was a ery committed vegan for a long time until I had to admit to myself that it just didn’t work for me. I lived on whole grains and beans. I have non-celiac gluten intolerance and that combined with the rice and beans… well you can imagine how bloated, uncomfortable I was and how much I struggled with my weight.
    About ten years ago, in absolute desperation I did the Atkins diet and lost thirty pounds. I felt great. What derailed me was that around that time I was finding out about my gluten intolerance and I got sidetracked baking all sorts of things with gluten free baking mixes, forgetting that they were high carb.
    I am back at it again, determined to feel better. I have to add that I also have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and have lived with it for a few decades. I do not expect to cure it with diet, but I do know that I can help myself to feel much better and to function much better with a change in my diet.
    Within 24 hours of giving up gluten I felt significantly better.

    My question, is this. As a former vegan I developed a love of black beans and garbanzo beans. For me those will be really hard to give up. When I get to the point of maintenance for my weight, I will not be introducing any small amounts of wheat into my diet. It is a no-go for me. What do you think of making black beans or garbanzo beans a sometimes treat if I keep the quantity small and have them maybe once a month?

    By the way, I am following your blog now using the Bloglovin’ site. I prefer that method since I follow a large number of blogs and am not good at checking my e-mail.

    Thank you so much for your help and your wonderful blog.

  98. What would you say the daily carb count for a growing 11 year old boy should be? I was losing weight for awhile, and now I’ve figured out why I’ve stopped. So I want to reduce my daily carbs a little bit to continue that a little longer, but my son probably has different needs than I do. Most of this information is great for us adults, but I’m having a hard time finding any info on raising paleo/primal kids.

  99. Got to this link from Lesson #2 where you explain that grains have anti-nutrients that disrupt digestion. What about soaking/sprouting grains? This supposedly gets rid of the anti-nutrients and makes the grains digestible and healthier.
    What are your thoughts on this? Does soaking or sprouting grains make them acceptable for the primal lifestyle?

  100. I was just wondering if the amount of carbs is your total intake of carbs, or my net carbs? (Carbs (minus) fiber)?

  101. Hi Mark,
    This information couldnt have come at a better time. I am absolutely convinced that I’ve been killing myself with my high carb and sugar intake and using extreme exercising to try to keep the weight down. I’ve been eatting primal for a couple of weeks now and I gotta say, I’m beginning to crave this food. I’m slowing losing my desire for the other stuff as well. My question is this, I’ve recently have a major knee operation and am bed ridden for a few weeks and then I am allowed to use crutches for 6-8 weeks following. What things (if any) do I need to do to adjust to such a low activity level that can help me still achieve my weight loss goals? Is it even possible?

  102. Hi Mark,

    I love this post and the visuals. However I can I work the PB as a vegetarian?

    Any vegetarians out there who have had success with PB?

    Many thanks!

  103. Hello,
    I am doing bodybuilding and my diet is adjusted ideally for my needs (carbs/fat/pr.)
    I dont have problems about be linear but i am concerned about the health aspect of my diet.. So i hope that your site will help me to know which foods/ carbs are better to consume for health?
    Also its first time that i see someone say that 200g of carb per day it isnt good??
    Thats the daily amount that i eat ofcourse come from sterchy carbs and i have a solid 6 pack all year. I eat a lot of legumes and less vegies, and you suggest to not eat legumes (starchy) and eat exclusive vegies? Then i must eat a hell of vegies to cover my needs (200gcarbs). Please some light here.
    (Sorry for my language i dont speak good english, hope you inderstand)

    1. Oh sorry i forgot to say that i am lifting heavy weights 3 times a week (4-5hours/week).Once a week sprint for 5-10mins and walking everyday for 20-30mins. Also my diet consist of:
      Protein Intake: mostly from high quality sources chicken,fish,meat (in that order)
      Carbs: most from lagumes (starchy) and on POST some simples
      Fats: Omega3 (from Supplement) and Omega6 (from almonds,olive oil) and less unhealthy fat like from milk or meet. Also i am trying to keep the analogy of om3-6 to 2-1 with the best days to 1-1)

  104. ive had gerds for 20yrs, about 5 of those year’s ive studied or tried to gain some insight. this is one of the biggest information websites out there and it’s free “thanks”. i haven’t read much here yet because i only found this site last night, i doubt i’ll take everything at face value, i don’t believe in the cave man diet or theory. mankind has been on earth no longer than an estimated 13.000yrs but i definitely agree that excess wheat is the main trigger in gerds and should be limited not cut out completely for the reason high protein and fat diets are bad for the heart and kidneys and overall health, getting carbs from vegetables is not so convenient for a single male who doesn’t cook! also vegetables are mainly simple carbs not complex and simple carbs “sugar” is known for it’s acidic conversion. what’s your take on getting some carbs from rice potatoes and oats?

    last week i increased carb intake by 20 grams from wheat, oats and potatoes this slight 20 grams “accidental” increase gave me morning dry mouth, excess wind mostly trapped! from information gained here last night i realised the reason i couldn’t swallow more than 2 spoonfuls of ground ready brek oats is because 1 the dry mouth and 2 the wind was not letting my food go down instead trapping and forcing food to stay around the esophagus. i’ll have to go now!!! i’ll finish by saying around 25 grams of ready brek oats are better for me than replacing with wheat, basically if i balance my carbs from oats, potatoes, and wheat i get less acid refluxing, if i got all carbs from wheat i’d be hospitalised even though i take ppi’s, but still i have to limit those different carb sources.

    what a life ruining experience gerd’s can be i hope gerd’s disappears from earth for good in these end days. i was saddened to read some other stories last night of long time gerd’s sufferers. get well soon from this disease ve nomar amen.

  105. New Guy here, I have one question about the Paleo regime; Legumes, it seems these would have been consumed in large quantities by any self respecting caveman, yet they are frowned upon in this lifestyle. Sorry if this has been asked before I just have not seen it addressed yet.

  106. Help!! Can some one tell me if this is right? I feel like I’m eating too much fat, by the numbers. I log food in myfitnesspal.com. My username is HDRockerCgirl if someone wants to take a look at my diary. I’d just like to know if I’m doing this right.
    This is from today’s diary but is close to the same for the last 3 days.
    Fat. 113g
    Carbs. 51g
    Protein. 96g
    I am new to PB it’s my 3rd day and lost 1.6 lbs. I’m very happy about it but I don’t want to crash and burn later. I haven’t gone totally primal, just getting the swing of things first and trying to understand it all.
    ????

  107. I try to eat healthy, though not Primal. I eat few simple carbs, very little sugar, and almost nothing “in a box”.

    However, after being on LIpitor for about 20 years, I convinced my doc that statins, in general, are not healthy. The problem is that now that I have stopped taking the statins, my cholesterol, HDL, LDL, trig, etc. are way out of whack. Scarry! So, now what do I do? It’s hard to imagine adding more fat and potentially cholesterol raising food to my diet.

  108. Hi Mark,
    I hope this isn’t a silly question, but when you mean keep your carbs in those zones, would you count the carbs in almond milk, or fruits like banana? And would these levels be lower for high-glycemic foods? Thanks.

  109. If I want to lose weight, I should only count carbs and not calories? How do I know how many carbs I’m eating in the first place? A bit confused with this concept. Any advise would help. Please and thank you!

    1. You could count your calories on My Fitness Pal. Whenever you log your food it also counts your micro nutrients like protein, carbs, sodium, and sugar intake. I’m going to start counting my carbs on there.

  110. Mark,

    Thanks for the articles you have created. But all of these have the purpose to lose weight? I am thin/ectomorph/hard gainer. How about for those who want to gain weight? Is your advice still applicable? Thanks.

    McRyker

    1. I have been eating primaly for 2 years and have lost weight. My husband started a year ago, he has been underweight his whole life, and he has gained 15 lbs. This is the highest he has ever weighed. He looks great – fitter not fatter.

  111. I have now been on the primal blueprint for over two months. Prior to this I was pretty much following it with the exception of lectins. I don’t eat dairy as I have a casein allergy, I haven’t been eating wheat and gluten for five years when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and I don’t eat soy as I have a soy allergy. About two years ago I removed all lectins from my diet as I wanted to see whether I would see improvements in my overall health as I try and heal my body from my autoimmune disease and even though it must have made some improvements I didn’t really notice it to be honest. Since January the 6th of this year I started removing all sugar from my diet for the second time in five years, but this time it really started to make improvements to my health. I have seen significant improvements but I still have around 30-40% to go to get to around 80-90% optimum health, which is why I chose the primal blueprint diet. I am pretty strict and very disciplined, I have hardly any sugar, limit my fruit intake to 2 portions a day, but I have enjoy nuts and some fats, like avocados (never more than a quarter per day) and have heaps of veg. Because I have been bedridden for significant periods of the last five years, I have slowly started to build strength over the last year with some improvements, I do find that when I push a little too hard (i.e. do yoga for a little too long or even contemplate walking) things slip back and my body crashes. I am really desperate to see this change and I was hoping you could help with this. I used to be a mountain biker, climber, sports enthusiast and I just miss walking and being active with my kids. I started with yoga as I know from past experiences (when I have viral meningitis around 9 years ago), it really supported me back into a healthy zone. I would also really like to loose some fat as being inactive (even with a good diet) I have developed fat around my middle region, which honestly I am truly fed up with. I appreciate that some walking and activity would shift this, but that doesn’t seem an option for me. I would really like to know what you suggest and look forward to hearing from you. I am new to this forum, so not sure whether your reply will hit my inbox or whether I need to check back here?? Many thanks

  112. Everything sounds great and I’m ready to come aboard, only problem is, my husband does not eat any vegetables or fruit! I’m talking none! Can this still be a life style change we can still achieve? How can we get over this obstacle and be healthy about it?

    Thanks,
    Trish

    1. I’m no expert, but I think he must eat organ meat to have a truly balanced diet in the absence of veggies. I’d be careful about supplements as a replacement, most of the affordable vitamins on the market could not remotely be classed as real food. Veggies take on a whole new flavor once you your palette renews in it’s life after grains and processed, sugary garbage.

      Good luck, I think I’m just starting to convince my wife after a few months.

  113. Hey guys! I started the 30day challenge and wow…challenging hah. I just cant seem to resist eating NUTS! They are my go to thing for snacks…tahini! The stuff is my kryptonite. Then almond spread…SO GOOD in the teaspoon fulls. This only seems to happen at night, when I’m watching a TV show, have finished dinner (mostly when I havent consumed heaps of meat)…is my body craving more fat? What’s the go here? I don’t get it. I eat lots of vegies, minimal fruit, but I think I go overboard on dairy (milk n cheese), the nuts and coconut cream/milk….I would like to lose some fat and def build more muscle, but I keep fluctuating from being super ‘good’ (counting carbs and dragging myself away from nuts/creams) to just eating it willy nilly!
    Help?

  114. Hello Mark,

    A U.S. Navy buddy of mine told me about you and the Paleo Diet while deployed in 2011 to Yemen with SOCCENT. I knew then I should revise my eating and did for a bit but did not go all in. Well, I’m all in now. I retired from the U.S. Army on 1 Feb 18 having served 35 years in the U.S. Army. I was gaining weight, extreme high blood pressure, borderline diabetic, over 14 operations throughout my body (not including dental operations which are disturbing to the amount I’ve had), nerve damage, numbness in my hands, arms, shoulders, feet, legs, etc… I never felt so bad until I decided to fast and start on the Paleo Diet. I am feeling much better, but still not great. I’m drinking tons of water and have lost about 25 lbs in about 2 weeks and am down to 210lbs now. I hope to lose more but not at such a rapid rate. I often get emails from you but need what we call in the military “BLUF” Bottom Line Up Front… meaning, do you have a list of foods I should eat and another that I should not? Would be very helpful in diving into this as fast as possible. I’m 54 years old, look young and want to feel the same way. God bLess, V/r John