The Primal Diet Overview

Recently my husband and I decided that we wanted to eat healthier. So like the good little researcher I am, I went on the hunt for the perfect diet. In doing so, I reviewed a few of the more popular diets that have a focus on healthier foods and removing processed junk from the diet. I also chose to look at diets that were more than just a 12 week fix, I wanted lifestyles. In doing so, I made up ‘information quick guides’ for myself so that I can know a bit about what comes out of my mouth. (Due to my love of everything health and fitness, he usually defers to me for these things).

I figured that I could also share these information quick guides with you guys so that you can have a brief overview of the diet to see if you want to look more into it.

Other diets in this series include:

The Primal Diet


The Primal Diet is founded by Mark Sisson over at Mark’s Daily Apple. It is a diet that is very similar to Paleo, with a focus on eating meats, vegetables, and fruits while cutting out processed and refined foods.

A difference between Primal and Paleo is that the original Paleo aimed for lower fats, whereas Primal is a borderline Keto Diet with a larger portion of your calories coming from fat. As we go, I will mention other similarities or differences from Paleo and Keto diets as we come across them.

Macro Breakdown

The Primal Diet macro breakdown is closer to Keto than it is to Paleo with higher fats. This diet also has options to go into ketosis (not to be misread as ketoacidosis) when you lower your carbohydrates. When calculating the amount of protein that you need, the calculation requires you to use Lean Body Mass, which what’s left after you remove the body fat percentage. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds with 25% body fat, you would have 37.5 pounds of fat. This leaves you with a Lean Body Mass of 112.5 pounds which you would use to calculate your protein needs.

Primal Diet Macro Calculations:

.7 -1 gram protein per pound of Lean Body Mass
100-150 grams of carbs per day
Remaining calories fats

Carb ranges:

Carb ranges are included to show you the different levels of carbs and what will happen when you keep them in a certain range.

0-50g/day: Rapid fat loss via intermittent fasting 1-2 days per week with adequate fat and protein. This level will put you into ketosis.

50-100g/day: Weight loss sweet spot: lose 1-2 pounds of fat per week. This level may put some people into ketosis. Some smaller people may toe the line with ketosis at this range of carbs.

100-150g/day: weight management. This is the level for where most people will maintain their weight. Highly active people or atheletes may need more than this.

150-300g/day: default grain based diet. This is the range of carbs that most people who eat a Standard American Diet consume. This allows for blood sugar spikes and crashes and higher insulin production.

300+g/day: At over 300 grams of carbs a day, you’re proabably consuming too many calories which alone is enough to cause weight gain, but the excessive number of carbohydrates being eaten are sending your blood sugar and insulin levels through the roof! This is the level where if consumed consistantly, you are at a high risk for diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and other weight related problems.

One exception to this is for atheletes who are working out at a level that requires this level of fuel to maintain their performance. (For example, olympic athletes, cross country runners, etc).

Now that you know how to categorize what you’re eating.. what do you eat?

  • Grains, sugar and sugar sweetened foods
  • Processed oils (canola, corn, safflower, etc) that can become toxic when processed with heat
  • Beans, lentils, soy and peanuts
  • Meat (bacon included), fish, fowl, eggs (pasture raised), vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, high quality fats, moderate amount of high fat dairy, high nutrient value carbs and dark chocolate(75%+) (quinoa and wild rice ok sometimes)
  •  Eat until satisfied
  • Staples: avocado oil, butter, coconut (oil, milk, butter, flour, flakes), EVOO
  •  Dairy: raw, fermented, unpasteurized, unsweetend, high fat options (ghee, butter, full cream, aged cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, greek style full fat, half and half, kefir, and raw whole milk).

The Primal Diet is also more of a lifestyle that comes with it’s own recommendation for exercise and movement.

Walking a lot is highly recommended as well as a few staple full body movements like push ups, pull ups and squats being a focus of your workout. There are also not a lot of very long, high intensity workouts recommended as most of our ancestors would not have wasted the energy on them.

If you think this is something that you would like to try out, head over to Mark’s Daily Apple or you can pick up his book the Primal Blueprint from Amazon.