July 8, 2021

Carnivore Diet: A Meal Plan for Muscle Growth

Eating little more than meat is not for everyone, but it’s been tremendously beneficial for X3 users and Dr. John Jaquish himself. Carnivore diet benefits include muscle gain, weight loss, greater mental clarity, and improved general health. Learn more about this animal-based diet and get started with a meal plan for muscle gain.

About the Carnivore Diet #

The carnivore diet is an all-meat nutrition plan popularized by Dr. Shawn Baker M.D., who wrote The Carnivore Diet book in 2019. Baker’s diet leans on anthropological evidence that humans have always been carnivores 1 and have thrived on simple meal plans consisting mostly of meat and fat.

While paleo or keto enthusiasts would agree, Baker takes this one step further by suggesting we not just emphasize protein and fat but eat it exclusively. On the carnivore diet, you eat only meat, fish, or poultry alongside a small amount of dairy—no fruits, vegetables, nuts, or seeds.

This highly restrictive diet seems crazy to some, but it does have benefits. Among the reported carnivore diet benefits are muscle gain and fat loss.

You Need Protein to Build Muscle! #

The muscle gain is what makes the carnivore diet so attractive to X3 users. If you’re trying to lose weight and build muscle, you can only consume so many calories, most of which must be dedicated to protein.

Studies indicate approximately 2.4 grams of protein 2 per kilogram of body weight is needed to maximize muscle-building potential. If you weigh 200 pounds, that equates to roughly 216 grams of protein daily. So what does 216 grams of protein look like? A 1 pound steak has just over 100 grams of protein, so your 200 pound frame would need at least 2 pounds of steak per day.

The following general guidelines are easy to remember. Adjust them up or down as needed:

  • Men at 200 pounds - 2 pounds of meat per day
  • Women at 150 pounds - 1.5 pounds of meat per day

Whether you split your protein allotment into four small meals or follow an intermittent fasting plan and eat just once or twice daily, there isn’t much intestinal space for extras such as vegetables, starches, or dessert. According to the carnivore diet, that’s just fine because those extras are doing you more harm than good.

But Is the Carnivore Diet Safe? #

Most of us have ditched the four food groups by now, but it’s still common to believe in “eating the rainbow” for various nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. According to Shawn Baker, such efforts are futile.

What About Vitamins and Minerals?

So far, there’s been no anecdotal evidence that those on the carnivore diet are deficient in essential nutrients. Red meat provides you with plenty of iron, zinc, and even Vitamin C. In fact, Vitamin C becomes more available 3 on a meat-only diet since you’ve eliminated the foods that prevent its absorption. Dairy provides you with Vitamin D, while seafood contributes to omega-6 essential fatty acids.

What About Cholesterol?

We’ve long heard the saturated fat in red meat is responsible for high cholesterol and heart attacks, but the science begs to differ. There’s scant evidence 4 that saturated fat consumption directly leads to heart disease. What’s more, high total cholesterol may not be bad, as long as you have enough 5 of the “good” kind, or HDL.

What About Fiber?

Fiber adds bulk to our stool, but we can do fine without it. It’s a myth 6 you need fiber to help clean out your intestines. Your bowel movements might be smaller on the carnivore diet, but rest assured, the system is working just fine.

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How to Follow the Carnivore Diet #

As Shawn Baker mentions in his book, transitioning to the carnivore diet is not necessarily easy, especially if you try to go cold turkey on non-animal products. It’s perfectly reasonable to schedule a tiered transition. Gradually eat more meat and less of the other stuff.

To start, Baker recommends eating whenever you’re hungry, and eating until you’re satisfied. This meal plan is largely about developing your own intuition. So listen to your body and let it guide you regarding how much to eat and when.

If you’re interested in intermittent fasting, Baker recommends adding in that protocol after you’ve made the switch to a carnivore style of eating. Dr. Jaquish differs slightly on this subject. In his book ,he suggests prioritizing intermittent fasting over your specific diet instead. The thinking behind this? You’ll benefit from intermittent fasting regardless of your nutrition plan.

What Can I Eat on a Carnivore Diet? #

Beef, chicken, fish, cheese, and eggs on a table
Carnviore Diet Approved Foods

A big part of the carnivore diet’s appeal is its simplicity. If it comes from an animal, you can eat it. Done.

Red Meat

Choose fatty cuts to ensure you’re consuming enough calories. Some recommend varying the animal source or including organ meats for a greater variety of nutrients. Baker claims this isn’t necessary.

White Meat

Pork, chicken, and seafood are all on the menu. These items tend to have fewer calories than red meat, so you’ll need a greater quantity to feel satiated.

Eggs

Baker recommends using eggs as a side dish since they are problematic for some people. Listen to your body and if eggs work for you, eat them.

Dairy

Dairy can also be problematic for some people. Plus, lactose is a sugar and can spike your insulin. Baker recommends experimenting with goat or sheep’s milk versus cow. Learn how your own body reacts, and eliminate what’s not working for you.

Preparation

Use animal fats instead of plant oils for cooking. Use condiments as you need to, especially if you’re transitioning and still craving flavor variety. Ultimately, most people are just fine with sea salt.

What Can I Drink?

Drink nothing but water, coffee, or tea. Baker admits he hasn’t eliminated alcohol, although it does make him feel worse the next day, not better.

A Sample Meal Plan for Carnivore Diet Muscle Gain #

The following 3-day meal plan can help you get started with some variety. It’s based on three meals per day, but easily altered for those who practice intermittent fasting. Just skip the lunch and snack options.

Day 1 Breakfast Day 2 Breakfast Day 3 Breakfast
Flank Steak and Eggs Bacon and Eggs Shredded Chicken and Eggs
Day 1 Lunch Day 2 Lunch Day 3 Lunch
Chicken Thighs Brisket Lamb-burger with Goat Cheese
Day 1 Snack Day 2 Snack Day 3 Snack
Hard Boiled Eggs and Sardines Pemmican/Jerky Cheese Bacon Strips or Bone Broth
Day 1 Dinner Day 2 Dinner Day 3 Dinner
Ribeye Steak Salmon Steak Sirloin Steak

Carnivore Diet Results #

Carnivore diet benefits include weight loss, reduced inflammation, better heart health, increased mental clarity, fewer digestive problems, and greater muscular gains. While this highly restrictive form of eating may not be for everyone, Dr. Jaquish swears by it. He fits his 3 pounds of meat into one daily meal, combining the carnivore diet with the OMAD intermittent fasting plan.

Try the carnivore diet for 30 days to see if it works for you. After four weeks, you can cycle back to your regular meal plan or keep going if you like your carnivore diet results.

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Sources


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1747-0080.2007.00194.x  ↩︎

  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24834017/  ↩︎

  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10613768/  ↩︎

  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31841151/  ↩︎

  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11732933/  ↩︎

  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3435786/  ↩︎

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