Can you eat all the meat you want on a keto diet?

The short answer is yes, you can eat all the meat you want on a keto diet. However, there are some important caveats to consider.

What is the keto diet?

The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that shares similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. The goal is to get your body into a state of ketosis, where your body switches from primarily burning glucose to burning fat and ketones for fuel.

On a standard keto diet, 75% of calories come from fat, 20% come from protein, and just 5% come from carbohydrates. To put that into perspective, a typical 2,000 calorie keto diet would contain:

  • 167 grams of fat
  • 100 grams of protein
  • 25 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber)

Achieving ketosis requires an extremely low intake of carbs, usually below 50 grams per day. This minimal carb intake induces the metabolic state of ketosis, resulting in rapid weight loss.

Why can you eat more meat on keto?

There are a few key reasons why the keto diet allows for more meat consumption compared to other diets:

  • Meat is low in carbs – Meat contains almost no carbohydrates, so it can be eaten liberally without impacting ketosis.
  • Fat is encouraged – Up to 75% of calories on keto come from fat. Meat, especially fatty cuts like bacon and ribeye, fits the high-fat goal.
  • Protein is moderate – At 20% of calories, protein is also emphasized but not unlimited. Meat is a go-to keto protein source.

In summary, meat fits perfectly into the keto macronutrient ratio. It provides fat and protein without raising carbs.

Benefits of eating more meat on keto

Here are some of the top benefits of eating meat on a ketogenic diet:

  • Nutrient density – Meat provides important micronutrients like iron, zinc, selenium, and B-vitamins.
  • Satiety – The protein in meat is very satiating, helping keto dieters feel full and satisfied.
  • Ketogenic amino acids – Meat contains branched-chain amino acids that help maintain ketosis.
  • Versatile ingredient – Meat can be prepared in many delicious keto-friendly ways.

Additionally, meat contains all 9 essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on their own. Choosing meat on keto ensures you get these important aminos.

Potential downsides of eating too much meat

Although meat can certainly be a part of a healthy keto diet, eating too much may cause some potential downsides:

  • Environmental impact – Meat production requires more land, water and energy compared to plant foods.
  • Cancer concerns – Some studies link excessive red and processed meat intake to increased cancer risk.
  • Heart disease – Evidence on the impact of meat on heart disease risk is mixed and may depend on the type of meat.
  • Nutrient deficiencies – Replacing plants with meat long-term may lead to deficiencies in key nutrients like magnesium that are abundant in plants.

Moderating meat intake and choosing leaner cuts may help mitigate these potential risks.

How much meat can you eat on keto?

There are no strict limits on meat in a ketogenic diet, but aiming for 2-6 ounces (57-170 grams) at meals is reasonable for most people. This satisfies protein needs while still emphasizing fat intake.

To determine your personalized meat intake on keto:

  1. Calculate your protein target. A common range is 0.6-1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.
  2. Divide this protein target across your regular meals and snacks.
  3. Choose fattier cuts of meat and add fat like butter, oil or cream sauces to meet your fat goals.

As an example, a 160 pound person with 25% body fat would have ~120 pounds of lean mass. Their protein target could be 96-120 grams of protein daily from meat and other protein sources like eggs and dairy. This would provide 8-10 ounces of meat at three meals.

Best meat choices for keto

Here are some of the top meat options to enjoy regularly on a well-formulated ketogenic diet:

  • Beef: Ground beef, steak, roasts (chuck, ribeye)
  • Pork: Bacon, sausage, pork chops, ham
  • Lamb: Chops, leg of lamb, ground lamb
  • Poultry: Chicken, turkey, duck, eggs
  • Wild game: Venison, bison, elk, quail

Choosing fattier cuts of meat and adding extra fat during cooking can help follow the high-fat keto ratio. Leaner meats like chicken breast may require added fats.

Sample high-meat keto meal plan

Here is a sample one-day high-meat keto meal plan providing around 2,000 calories:

Meal Foods
Breakfast 3 eggs fried in butter, 4 slices bacon, avocado
Lunch Burger patty topped with cheddar on lettuce, side salad with ranch dressing
Dinner 8 oz. ribeye steak, roasted broccoli with olive oil
Snack Turkey roll-ups,berries

This sample menu provides around 30 grams net carbs, 165 grams fat, and 115 grams protein. It emphasizes fatty meats at each meal along with low-carb plant foods.

Tips for following a meat-rich keto diet

Here are some tips to follow a meat-centric ketogenic diet:

  • Choose fatty, high-quality cuts of meat like ribeye, chicken thighs, or pork belly.
  • Add extra fat when cooking like butter, heavy cream, baconf at, or oils.
  • Include non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, peppers or asparagus with meals.
  • Consider organ meats like liver once per week for extra nutrition.
  • Drink broths or use salt generously to replace minerals lost from lower plant food intake.
  • Supplement as needed with magnesium, potassium and other required nutrients.
  • Get bloodwork done periodically to ensure safety and optimal nutrient status.

Sample higher protein keto plan

Some people do better with a higher protein version of the ketogenic diet. Here is a sample higher protein keto meal plan providing around 2,000 calories:

Meal Foods
Breakfast 3 eggs, 3 turkey sausage links, blackberries
Lunch Shrimp salad with olive oil mayo, avocado, tomato
Dinner 6 oz. salmon, asparagus, olive oil
Snack Low-carb protein shake

This meal plan provides around 30 grams net carbs, 110 grams fat, and 150 grams protein. The higher protein intake may suit strength trainers, athletes, or the elderly.

Meat-based keto diet meal plan

Here is an example weekly meat-centric keto meal plan providing around 2,000 calories per day:

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Bacon and eggs Chicken sausage and greens Steak and eggs Bacon and avocado Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs Leftover pot roast Ham and egg muffin
Tuna salad Chicken wings Deli meat wraps Taco salad Bunless burgers Chicken Cobb salad Steak Cobb salad
Meatballs Chicken thighs Pork chops Steak fajitas Lamb kebabs Shrimp skewers Roast chicken

This meal plan emphasizes fatty and protein-rich meats at each meal along with low-carb vegetables and healthy fats like olive oil, avocado and nuts.

Potential micronutrient deficiencies

Although meat is nutritious, an ultra high meat intake could potentially cause deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals over time.

Micronutrients that may need close attention on a meat-heavy keto diet include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

Eating organ meats, seafood, eggs, nuts/seeds and low-carb fruits and veggies can help provide these nutrients. Supplementing may be necessary in some cases.

Transitioning to a meat-rich keto diet

When transitioning to a meat-heavy keto diet, here are some tips to do it safely and effectively:

  • Reduce carbs gradually over 2-3 weeks to ease into ketosis
  • Be diligent about sodium, potassium and magnesium intake
  • Include small amounts of gut-friendly carbs like non-starchy veggies
  • Drink sufficient water and mineral-rich bone broths
  • Get enough vitamin D and omega-3s from seafood and/or supplements
  • Consider starting with a higher protein approach before lowering protein
  • Listen to your body and adjust as needed based on energy, hunger and cravings

Bottom line

In summary, it is certainly possible to eat all of the meat you want on keto. However, balance and moderation are still advisable.

Aim for 2-6 ounces (57-170 grams) of meat at meals paired with low-carb vegetables, nuts and healthy fats. Choose fatty cuts of quality meat whenever possible.

Monitor your energy, hunger levels and micronutrient status. Make adjustments over time based on your individual response. Overall, listen to your body to determine the optimal amount of meat in your personal ketogenic diet.

Leave a Comment