Does Calorie Counting Matter on the Carnivore Diet?

Carnivore diet: Calories matter; focus on protein, fat; consult professionals.



Introduction

The carnivore diet, a way of eating that consists solely of animal products like meat, fish, and eggs, has been growing in popularity over the last few years. It's lauded by proponents as an effective way to lose weight, reduce inflammation, and improve other health markers.


But a common question that arises is: do calories still matter on a zero-carb diet like carnivore? The short answer is yes, calories do still count. But due to the satiating effects of protein and fat, you may find you naturally eat less without consciously counting every calorie.


In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive into the nuances of calorie counting on the carnivore diet. You'll learn:

  • How it compares to a normal calorie-restricted diet

  • Tips for losing weight successfully

  • The importance of protein and fat

  • Sample meal plans

  • Expert tips for transitioning

  • And more

Whether you're considering going carnivore or just starting out, this guide will give you a solid understanding of how calorie intake fits into the equation. Let's get started!

Understanding the Carnivore Diet

Before we dive into the calorie question, let's quickly cover what exactly the carnivore diet is.


The carnivore diet is an extreme form of low-carb, high-protein dieting where you get 100% of your calories from animal products. The only foods allowed are:

  • Meat: beef, chicken, pork, lamb, etc.

  • Fish and seafood

  • Eggs

  • Small amounts of dairy like butter or heavy cream (optional)


Foods you eliminate on a strict carnivore diet include:

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Grains

  • Beans and legumes

  • Added sugars

  • Processed foods

The elimination of carbohydrates puts your body into a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for fuel.


Potential benefits of the carnivore diet can include:

  • Weight loss

  • Reduced inflammation

  • Balanced blood sugar

  • Increased mental clarity and focus

  • Improved digestive issues (for some)

But the big question is - can you really eat as much meat and fat as you want and still lose weight? Let's explore how calories fit in.

Do Calories Still Matter on a Zero-Carb Diet?

When it comes to weight loss specifically, calories do still matter on the carnivore diet. The basic formula of calories in vs. calories out still dictates whether you lose, gain, or maintain your weight.


Eating too much of even healthy animal foods like grass-fed beef and pastured eggs can lead to a calorie surplus and weight gain over time. The laws of thermodynamics haven't changed!


However, the unique composition of the carnivore diet may make calorie restriction and deficit creation easier.


Here’s why:

  • Protein is highly satiating. Protein-rich foods keep you fuller longer compared to carbohydrates. Eating protein decreases levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. This spontaneous reduction in appetite can lead to lower calorie intake without consciously restricting.

  • Fat promotes satiety. High-fat cuts of meat, butter, and other animal fats promote satiety. This causes you to eat less overall during the day.


Together, ample protein and fat prevent hunger and cravings. This makes reducing total calories easier versus a standard diet.


So in summary:

  • Yes, a calorie deficit is still needed for weight loss.

  • But satiety from protein and fat may create that deficit naturally.

  • Calorie counting isn’t necessarily required.


Next, let’s look at some practical strategies for losing weight successfully on the carnivore diet without counting every morsel.

Tips for Losing Weight on the Carnivore Diet

Here are some tips to help you naturally achieve a calorie deficit for weight loss on the carnivore diet:

1. Prioritize Protein at Every Meal

Protein is hands-down the most satiating macronutrient. Making protein the centerpiece of your meals helps regulate appetite and decrease overall calories.


Aim to get 30-50 grams of protein at each meal, or a minimum of 0.6-1 gram per pound of body weight daily.


Some examples of high protein carnivore meals:

  • 3-4 eggs plus meat

  • 8 oz steak/burger patty

  • Salmon fillet

  • Chicken breast

  • Protein shake made with collagen powder

2. Choose Fattier Cuts of Meat

While protein drives satiety, fat provides flavor and also promotes feelings of fullness. Choose fattier cuts of meat like ribeye, chicken thighs, pork belly, and salmon.


Up your fat intake further by cooking in butter or beef tallow, and adding oils, bacon fat, or heavy cream to dishes.

3. Stay Hydrated

Thirst can often masquerade as hunger. Especially when transitioning to carnivore, drink plenty of water between meals to prevent false hunger.


Aim for at least 2-3 liters of water daily. Add an electrolyte supplement if needed.

4. Stop Eating When Comfortably Full

Pushing past fullness can easily tip you into a surplus. Allow your natural hunger and fullness cues to guide you rather than eating to a point of discomfort.


It may help to:

  • Eat slowly without distractions

  • Put down utensils between bites

  • Stop about 10 minutes before you feel excessively full

5. Listen to Your Body’s Signals

Learning to differentiate between true hunger, cravings, and thirst takes time. Pay close attention to these signals, especially when first transitioning to carnivore.


Giving your body what it needs rather than just eating out of habit will help calibrate your appetite.

Should You Count Calories on the Carnivore Diet?

Whether or not to count calories comes down to personal preference and what helps you stay consistent.


Calorie counting can provide accountability and ensure you eat at a deficit, especially if weight loss is a main goal. Apps like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt make tracking easy.

However, others may find calorie tracking stressful or obsessive. If that's the case, focusing on high protein ratios, fat for satiety, and listening to your hunger signals can be enough.

Try the carnivore diet without tracking for 2-4 weeks. If the weight isn't coming off as you expect, add in calorie counting. Or vice versa - track at first, then wean off if it feels restrictive.


Finding the right balance to suit your personality and needs is key. Don't be afraid to experiment to figure out what works for your body.

The Importance of Protein on the Carnivore Diet

Getting adequate protein is crucial on the carnivore diet, especially if aiming for weight loss. Here’s why:

  • Satiety: Protein is the most filling macronutrient gram-for-gram. Eating protein with every meal helps regulate appetite and decrease calories.

  • Thermic effect: Your body burns more calories digesting and metabolizing protein compared to carbs or fat. This can create up to an 80-100 calorie deficit daily.

  • Muscle retention: When in a calorie deficit, protein helps maintain lean muscle mass as you lose weight. Preserving metabolic muscle is key for long-term weight management.


According to research, aiming for 0.7-1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass is optimal. This equates to:


  • 110-150g protein for a 150 pound woman

  • 130-180g for a 180 pound man


On a 2000 calorie carnivore diet, that would equate to about 30% of calories from protein.


Prioritize protein at every meal by basing dishes around fatty cuts of meat, eggs, fish, shellfish, and incorporating collagen supplements. This will help you meet your protein needs effortlessly.

Fat for Satiety on the Carnivore Diet

While protein drives satiety on a hormonal level, dietary fat provides satiating bulk and flavor. Without carbs and fiber, upping healthy fat intake is key to feeling satisfied on carnivore.


Healthy fats to emphasize include:

  • Fatty cuts of red meat

  • Pork belly or shoulder

  • Chicken thighs and legs

  • Salmon, mackerel, sardines

  • Whole eggs

  • Avocado oil, olive oil, beef tallow

  • Butter, ghee, lard

  • Heavy whipping cream


Aim for at least 60-80 grams of fat daily, and as high as 150-200g depending on your calorie needs and preferences.


Cooking meats in fat, adding oils and butter to veggies, and incorporating high-fat dairy are easy ways to increase your intake.


Relying on fat for satiety allows protein to primarily be used for retaining muscle mass as you lose weight - giving you the optimal body composition results.

Sample Carnivore Diet Meal Plan

Here is a sample day in the life eating carnivore for weight loss while keeping calories around 1500-1700 range:

Breakfast

  • 3 eggs fried in butter

  • 4 oz pork breakfast sausage

  • 1/2 avocado

  • Water or coffee

Lunch

  • Cobb salad with 4 oz chicken, 2 slices bacon, hard-boiled egg, avocado, blue cheese

  • Water with lemon

Dinner

  • 6 oz ribeye steak

  • 4 oz salmon fillet

  • Side salad with oil and vinegar dressing

  • Sparkling water

Snacks (if hungry)

  • Celery sticks with cream cheese

  • 90% dark chocolate

  • Beef stick

  • Bone broth


This provides a good balance of high-quality protein, natural fats, and keeping overall calories in check for steady weight loss. Portions can be adjusted up or down depending on individual needs.

Expert Tips for Transitioning to Carnivore

Shifting to a zero-carb carnivore diet can be challenging. Here are some tips to set yourself up for success:

  • Cut out all non-animal foods. Don't try to ease in with a "low-carb" approach. Eliminating carbs and plant foods completely helps adapt metabolically.

  • Plan out weekly meals. Make a grocery list, meal prep meat and cook batches of eggs to have ready to go. This makes grabbing a quick carnivore meal simple.

  • Manage cravings. Sugar and carb cravings are common in the first 1-2 weeks. Stay on top of hunger by eating protein often, increase fat for satiety, and power through the transition period.

  • Consider Weight Loss Peptides. The weight loss peptides such as Semaglutide and Tirzepatide(Mounjaro) injections can help reduce appetite and cravings. They may make sticking to carnivore easier.

  • Supplement if needed. Some may benefit from exogenous ketones, electrolytes, and L-glutamine powder in the adaptation phase.

  • Transition slowly if necessary. If attempting full carnivore causes fatigue or other issues, start by removing processed carbs first. Then taper down produce and dairy. A gradual shift can help.


With the right preparation, you can make the transition to meat-only eating more comfortable. Be patient with yourself and your body.


How Peptides can reduce appetite and cravings:


Semaglutide (brand names Ozempic and Wegovy) and Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) are injectable medications originally developed for treating type 2 diabetes. However, they have also been found to be highly effective for weight loss due to their effects on appetite regulation. While these brand name meds may be extremely expensive, Semaglutide and Tirzepatide Peptides are a significantly more cost effective alternative to crave hunger.


These glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists work by mimicking the hormone GLP-1 which is released from the gut after eating. GLP-1 activates receptors in the brain that suppress appetite in several key ways:

  • It decreases ghrelin, known as the "hunger hormone" that drives appetite. Lower ghrelin means less feelings of hunger.

  • It increases peptide YY and GLP-1, hormones that induce feelings of fullness and satiety after eating. This promotes meal termination.

  • It slows gastric emptying, meaning food stays in the stomach longer keeping you feeling fuller for longer.

  • It reduces food cravings and the reward value placed on high-calorie foods.

  • It activates pro-opiomelanocortin neurons which decrease appetite.


Together, these effects result in reduced calorie intake, often in the range of 10-15% reduction total daily calories.


For those struggling with persistent hunger, cravings, and the willpower needed to stick to a restricted diet like carnivore, semaglutide or tirzepatide peptides can provide a helpful adjunct for appetite control.


However, they should be used under medical supervision due to potential gastrointestinal side effects. When used properly, these medications lead to significant improvements in appetite that can make dieting easier.


FAQs about the Carnivore Diet and Calories

Do I need to eat fatty cuts of meat on carnivore?

Emphasizing fattier cuts of meat and adding fat during cooking helps provide satiety. Without carbs and fiber, fat is key for feeling satisfied on carnivore.

What if I’m not losing weight on carnivore?

If the weight loss seems to stall, try tracking calories for a week to ensure you’re in a deficit. Also evaluate your protein and fat ratios. Lowering carbs often leads to reduced calories, but it’s not guaranteed.

Is cheese allowed on the carnivore diet?

Some lactose-free hard cheeses like cheddar or mozzarella are allowed in smaller amounts, depending on your tolerance. But dairy can spike insulin so moderate portion sizes.

How much protein should I eat each day?

Aim for 0.6-1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight. More active individuals may need toward the higher end while more sedentary people can start around 0.7 grams per pound.

What if I’m always hungry on carnivore?

Increase fat intake by cooking meats in butter or oils, adding sauces, or having snacks like hard boiled eggs and avocado. Hard cheeses can also help between meals. Ensure adequate electrolytes and water. Hunger should stabilize.

Conclusion

To wrap up, calories do still matter for weight loss on the carnivore diet. But ample protein and fat work synergistically to naturally decrease caloric intake if relying on hunger signals.


Making protein the main focus of meals, choosing fattier cuts of meat, and stopping when comfortably full are keys to success. Tracking calories can help ensure a deficit, but isn’t always necessary.


Experiment to find the right approach for your body and needs. With the nourishing foods allowed on carnivore, achieving an optimal physique is certainly possible. Just stick with the basics.


Eating just meat and animal products isn't for everyone. But with the right precautions, carnivore can be a viable option for those looking to slim down. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider before making drastic diet changes.

This content was first published by KISS PR Brand Story. Read here >> Does Calorie Counting Matter on the Carnivore Diet?




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