3 Things to consider when starting the carnivore diet
1. Salt intake
When switching from a standard american diet, or any diet that includes processed foods, you will be eating significantly less salt. Fresh meat does not contain salt (unless it was added like bacon, sausage, or chicken), same goes for unsalted butter. This means you will have to get used to salting your food.
It can be very counter-intuitive since this is generally frowned upon when eating a “normal” standard american diet. Maintaining a balance of electrolytes is important so be sure to salt your food and enjoy that amazing flavor!
2. Calories and whether to count them
The carnivore diet doesn’t subscribe to the “calories in, calories out” way of thinking, so counting calories generally isn’t necessary. BUT if this way of eating is drastically different from your previous diet, it may be helpful to gauge if you’re eating too much or too little.
For me, the carnivore diet is so satiating that I was full while eating only 800ish calories which is way too little! Listening to your body is the rule, but I was beginning to experience dizziness and nausea, and counting calories was the only way I figured out why I had those symptoms. I’ve stopped counting since then, but it was very helpful in the beginning.
On the other hand, if you find yourself gaining weight, you may realize you’re eating way too many calories. It’s true that determining how many calories is “too many” can be trickier than determining what is too few calories, but there are some common sense markers to use. For example, if you are a sedentary 115 lb woman eating 5000 calories per day, it’s safe to assume that is too many. You can also look into your macros as I will explain next.
3. Fat vs Protein (vs Carbs)
Macros are another issue that isn’t particularly important on the carnivore diet. Also, I included carbs in parenthesis because this isn’t a low carb diet on purpose, it’s just that animal products are generally low carb with the exception of dairy and possibly bacon.
If you are aiming for ketosis, a ratio of 65-80% fat to 20-35% protein are the common ranges. I’ve seen different numbers and again this isn’t necessarily the purpose of going carnivore. An easy rule of thumb is 1g fat to 1g protein. That will get you to the 65%:35% range.
The only reason to change this will be similar to the rule for counting calories, if you find yourself gaining or losing weight and wish to change it. If you are gaining weight, you may be eating too much fat. On the other hand, if you are losing weight you may be eating too little fat.