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Can You Gain Weight on a Carnivore Diet? Many Will be Surprised!

So then the question needs to be asked, can you gain weight on a Carnivore Diet? The answer will surprise many of you!
Josh Koop
January 5, 2020

When you are starting a diet one of the largest questions you tend to see ask is whether or not you can gain weight on it. This is a two-fold answer though as you most likely aren't looking for body fat weight gain but MUSCLE weight gain. These both can be achieved but it depends on what workouts you do if any, and the level of exertion.

Can You Gain Weight on a Carnivore Diet? Yes, on any diet is fully possible to gain weight, whether it's the good weight like added muscle or weight from adding body fat. If you eat in a caloric surplus over time you will gain weight, depending on the efforts and use is a large determinant of muscle mass versus fat mass.

We are going to dive into what is the cause of weight gain and why there is more to weight gain than just consuming calories. We also cover CICO (calories in calories out) which does also drive RESULTS on body fat loss.

Can You Gain Weight on a Carnivore Diet

What Causes Weight Gain?

Your overall weight gain is managed by eating at a caloric surplus which over time will cause mass gain at a rate of 1 pound per approximately 3500 calories.

This is always an approximation as your body consumes things like protein for other purposes than energy by default, this is why stressing out muscles and keeping them rebuilding can be beneficial to you when eating in a surplus.

The CICO has been highly disputed with people claiming that there is no proof of its validity, these people are of course, not science-related and typically have issues with overconsuming calories without knowing it or worse, by false mental math.

I know it hurts people's feelings when you tell them to eat less, you DON'T need to move more but you have to be honest with yourself on the calories you consume. If you aren't losing weight then you are EATING TOO MANY CALORIES.


The major "competing" theory is that it is all about your hormones, this has been far and wide proven to be incorrect, even by the team which proposed it.

When studies were performed in a metabolic lab where they controlled everything including calories the hormones played no part in different results.

Weight Gain You Look For Is Muscle Mass

Let's be honest, whenever anyone says they are looking to gain weight at least 99% of them are looking specifically at muscle mass.

This requires adequate protein intake which allows for your body to rebuild the proteins that are required along with building new muscle fibers, so you should be targeting very good sources of complete protein to maximize your body's access to them.

Gaining strength is key to losing fat and a faster metabolism - Can You Gain Weight on a Carnivore Diet

This is one reason why I feel the carnivore diet is a perfect fit for working on building your body to its specific genetic limitation.

This isn't meant to be a downer but each person has a genetic limit to where they can get to without additional "supplements" that are illegal.

You have to be realistic to your goals and set them to be achievable, you can always work to appear more ripped by lowering your levels of body fat to maximize the muscle appearance.

Weight Gain You Don't Want Is Body Fat

When you are eating at a surplus you will gain some body fat, it is an underlying truth that is largely glossed over.

If you are aiming for muscle mass gain and are currently overweight the most important thing you want to focus on is protein, you want to maximize your intake.

This should help you as not all calories have to be consumed to be able to gain muscle if you have fat to lose you can use that fat instead of plate fat.

The issues come if you knowingly or unknowingly overeat foods, the carnivore diet isn't magic and you will gain weight if you overeat and don't breakdown muscle through workouts.

Eating like a carnivore isn't going to stop you from being able to overeat but it should hamper your attempts unless you have severe issues, if that is the case then you need to speak to professionals first.

Managing Calories As a Carnivore

One thing that a carnivorous diet has on its side is that meat is amazingly satiating and this feeling can last much longer than eating carbohydrates.

When you get the nutrition from good sources your body is content and stops signaling for more food.

At almost no times have I seen someone be able to eat a huge ribeye and then want to eat more, your body has to process and the meat and will send the signals to your brain that you are full.


This isn't always a perfect system and it is still quite possible to overeat calorically through the day if you eat multiple times.

What you will want and need to do is to count everything, download an app that allows tracking and/or write down everything, including when you sniff bread or eat a piece of gum.

Why Carnivore Is a Successful and Effective Strategy

The carnivore diet is focused on whole foods from animals and not on processed, boxed foods. This means that everything you eat will require your jaws and chewing thoroughly and this is another signal to your body that food is being prepared for digestion.


This is something that is missing from many processed sources, many times something like a bar is 1-2 chews per bite where a steak is 4-6 or more. This makes you eat slower also and lets you savor the food more than with many other options.

Final Thoughts

As you start your transition and life as a carnivore many things in your diet will change at a fundamental level, things like steak and eggs are on the plate for breakfast which used to be a no-no.

So if you decide to indulge in all the options available make sure to track religiously at least for the first month as you rebuild your diet.

As you move through your first month you can start to track less on your intake if you choose to.

It is always good to re-evaluate every few weeks and look to see if your weight is going where you expect it to, a good week of muscle gain won't be in pounds.

If you should see the scale moving up fast then you may want to re-check your intake and the total calories so you control them.

If you read this far you are amazing! I would love to hear from you in the comments below if I helped you gain knowledge and useful information, additionally I would like to know if I got anything incorrect that you believe should be researched more and updated. As always to get the word out please join our new Carnivore Rx group on Facebook and share this out on social media!

To the Carniovore Dieters Who Will Settle for Nothing Less Than Quality Meats

I have used ButcherBox now for going on nearly 3 years as finding meat that isn't raised on candy or junk like corn isn't easy. Instead of spending hours searching to get the best quality I have chosen to have ButcherBox deliver me high quality meats, from Ribeyes, Brisket, ground beef... Others may choose chicken with all cuts from whole to breasts, thighs, and more Then add in my side favorite which is heritage pork that tastes sooooooo much better than any store bought pork I have ever had.
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