Peter Attia Diet: What He Eats And What He Does Not Eat?

Peter Attia Diet: What He Eats and What He Does Not Eat?

Last Updated on February, 2024

Dr Peter Attia, a medical doctor trained at Johns Hopkins Hospital, is well-known in longevity science. Although this longevity Dr does not advocate or recommend ‘one perfect diet,’ he shares his own diet regimen that has helped him achieve various goals over the past 12+ years.

Dr Attia believes one specific diet won’t fit every single person. Every individual is different inside out. Therefore, personalized changes should be made to any diet based on an individual’s metabolism rate, health goals, and ability to stick to the process. 

With the information I have explored below on Dr Peter Attia’s diet over 12+ years, you can tweak the diet as you see fit to achieve your personal goals no matter where you lie on the metabolic spectrum. 

Quick Summary

Peter Attia’s diet is based on the foundation of a low-carb and high-fat diet in order to minimize the consumption of processed carbohydrates and maximize the use of nutrient-dense foods. This can effectively help with weight loss and improved body composition.

Attia’s diet is backed by science based on how the human body metabolizes various macronutrients. It can help to control insulin resistance, lower blood pressure, increase HDL levels, lower triglycerides, and improve insulin sensitivity to control blood glucose levels.

Peter Attia considers supplements such as magnesium, L threonate, Methylated B vitamin complex, MCT oil, fish oil, glutamine, BCAA, Vitamin D3, magnesium L- threonate, glycine, ashwagandha and phosphatidylserine to support his diet.

The Principle Approach to Peter Attia Diet

a picture of peter attia smiling while looking at the camera

Peter’s diet is built upon the foundation of a low-carb and high-fat diet. In basic terms, the approach here minimizes processed carbohydrate consumption and fuels the body with nutrient-dense foods. 

Carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates, are the human body’s primary energy source because the breakdown and absorption process is rather quick; therefore, they are readily available as the quickest energy source.

So, the body automatically resorts to the efficient energy it’s given. The issue with too many simple carbs is that it will lead to weight gain and increase health risks like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol in the long run.

The approach in Peter Attia’s diet is to give the body a healthy primary energy source, like fats, instead of carbohydrates.

Fats, although the slowest form of energy, is the most energy-efficient form of all food nutrients. It can provide twice as much potential energy compared to carbohydrates and proteins.

Limiting carbohydrate intake forces the body to go into a state or condition called ketosis. Ketosis is where the body burns fat to produce ketones, which are used as energy sources.

Continuing in this state encourages the body to utilize as many body fat stores and deposits as possible, resulting in healthy weight loss and improved body composition.

It is important to note that the Peter Attia diet only encourages a healthy diet, including fats like extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, fish, etc. 

The Science Behind Peter Attia Diet

The Peter Attia diet is backed by science based on how the human body metabolizes various macronutrients. Carbohydrates like refined sugars and grains raise blood sugar levels, resulting in insulin resistance and chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Similarly, fats can provide plenty of energy while ensuring satiety for longer periods, even when consumed in moderation.

Put in simple terms, when you consume carbohydrates:

  • You feel hungry more often due to the blood glucose fluctuation levels 
  • You lose weight slowly because the body is NOT in fat-burning mode

But when you primarily consume fats and restrict carbs:

  • You rarely feel hungry because the blood glucose levels do not fluctuate
  • You lose weight faster because the body is IN fat-burning mode

The science behind a low-carb and high-fat diet is associated with improvements in many health markers. It can lower blood pressure, increase HDL levels, lower triglycerides, and improve insulin sensitivity to control blood glucose levels.

This makes the Peter Attia diet an excellent choice for people with diabetes or those at risk of other chronic diseases, as mentioned above.

What is the Peter Attia Diet?

peter attias nutritional framework

The Peter Attia diet does not follow a fixed set of rules or guidelines. The main target of the diet is to incorporate the latest science-backed research to maintain good health throughout the lifespan.

Dr. Attia uses nutritional support to improve metabolic health; therefore, finding a suitable nutritional plan to minimize disease risk and encourage consistency is key.

Although Attia does not abide by guidelines, his diet advocates a nutritional framework that abides by three key restriction areas as follows:

  • Dietary restriction (DR) – What you eat:
  • Although the Peter Attia diet is not a strict ketogenic diet, Peter advises cutting sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and junk foods like pastries, cookies, and potato chips.
  • Caloric restriction (CR) – How much you eat:
  • Instead of caloric restriction, Peter recommends intermittent fasting (though he prefers not to use the particular term). “Custom fasting” based on an individual’s needs to regulate blood sugar and metabolism will be most beneficial. 
  • Time restriction (TR) – When you eat:
  • Time-restricted eating/ feeding (TRE/ TRF) involves a gradual increase in the intermittent fasting window. For example, starting from 12 hours of fasting, it can be increased to 14, then 16, and so on. One meal per day (OMAD) is also a popular way of engaging in TRE.

Attia highlights that one or more of these three parameters are essential to losing weight. Those who do not engage in any one of these parameters are essentially on a Standard American Diet (SAD) that will result in weight gain and chronic diseases.

What Does Peter Attia Eat? A Breakdown

Peter Attia’s diet has evolved based on the progress he has made relevant to his health improvement needs. Based on information from 2011, the following breakdown discusses Peter’s Diet over the years.

1. Current Diet

From Peter Attia’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) #44, I found the below details on his current diet. Peter believes maintaining muscle mass is key to longevity and staying physically active later in life.

On that approach, he has set two goals for himself:

  • Increase muscle mass
  • Reduce body fat 

To hit the above goals, he does the following:

  • Eat 1g of protein for every 1lb of body weight (2.2 g per Kg)
  • Consume 2700- 2800 calories per day
  • Tracking how much protein and calories are consumed using Carbon app

For Peter’s body weight, he is looking at 180- 200 g of proteins per day.

meal plan of peter attia for carbohydrates

He has segmented the intake of this amount of protein to 4X a day as listed below:

  • Breakfast– 8 eggs (4 whole and 4 whites) with buttered toast
  • Protein shake– A shake that has 24 Oz of almond milk, 50 g protein, and frozen fruit
  • Lunch– Usually a chicken salad with a variety of vegetables, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar
  • Dinner– Varies widely, but using the tracking app helps keep him within goals

A note on carbohydrates: The above diet is targeted to help build muscle. Peter has passed several phases of the keto diet, but his current priority seems to lie in the goals mentioned above. Therefore, there is no strict rule on carbohydrate consumption as long as he sticks to his approach to achieving the above goals. 

2. Past Diet

Time Restricted Feeding Years- 2014- 2020

During this period, Peter’s diet was not:

  • Ketogenic
  • Vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian
  • Dairy or gluten-free

Peter based his diet on three simple rules:

  • Time Restricted Feeding (TRF)– Following TRF, Peter was intermittent fasting for a minimum of 14- 16 hours per day and a maximum of 20-22 hours per day. So he fasted most of the day and consumed all the allocated calories within a tight eating window, which typically fell from the afternoon to evening. He also mentions that he sometimes has only one big meal a day within a tight window.
  • Avoid Sugars And Other Junk– He avoided sucrose and high fructose corn syrup foods, including sauces and dressings. Processed foods like potato chips and other obvious junk food were maintained to a bare minimum.
  • No Restriction On Healthy Carbohydrates And Vegetables– Peter did not restrict healthy starches like whole foods, whole grains, rice, sweet potato, etc. There was no restriction on vegetables either.

In 2014, Peter shared that his typical intake is around 3000 Cal per day, but it can be as low as 2000 Cal (especially when traveling) or as high as 5000 Cal. Below is an overview of Peter’s meals. 

Lunch

Peter has a huge salad for lunch, combining romaine lettuce, kale, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, olives, mushrooms, olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, white vinegar, almond slivers, and chicken breast or tuna. 

He also takes 7 hard-boiled eggs, an avocado, 76 g of cheese or 2L of the Peter Kaufman super starch shake with heavy cream, sugar-free almond milk, chocolate super starch, 2 tbsp of almond butter, 20g of Biosteel whey protein and frozen fruit.

If he has a snack, it is usually a cup of macadamia nuts or an apple covered in nut butter.

Attias Meal plan for Lunch
Dinner
dinner meal plan of peter attia

Peter’s dinner varies a lot, but he has shared the following:

  • A big bowl of salad with a pound of salmon (without nuts). Plus berries for dessert.
  • An omelet using six eggs, shredded cheddar, vegetables, a side of steamed broccoli in butter, and 2 tbsp of almond butter for dessert
  • Two heaped plates of curry stir fry consisting of tofu, broccoli, bell pepper, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, a sauce made with curry paste, and Greek yogurt.
  • A steak or salmon (around 8 Oz/ 302 g ) with a large bowl of salad without nuts
  • One or two seaweed salads, a sashimi platter, a California roll, and another specialty roll

Water Fasting

From 2014 to 2020, Peter also exercised water fasting. Every three months until the end of 2019, Peter used to be on 7-day stretches of water fasting.

He followed the below routine:

  • 7 days of ketogenic diet before the water-only fast
  • 7 days of water only fast
  • 7 more days of keto after water only fast

Benefits of water fasting include:

  • Decrease in visceral fat
  • Increase in cellular clean up (autophagy) on around day 3
  • Lowered IGF-1
  • Decrease in blood glucose and insulin 

From 2020 onwards, Peter switched from the 7 day fast to 3 day fasts every month. He also did not follow a strict keto diet before and after the fast. This is because he noticed significant changes by day 2 of the 7-day fast, where glucose is normalized and ketones are increased.

Therefore, a 3-day fast was sufficient for Peter to capture his anticipated metabolic change. This fasting period was a strict water-only period. Peter included his favorite carbonated water drink: Topo Chico.

The Ketosis Years- 2011 to 2014

During the 3 years from 2011 to 2014, Peter was on a strict nutritional ketosis diet. This was even before keto diets were a thing. 

Based on a blog post from 2011, Peter’s diet back then can be summarized as follows;

Overall Calories4000- 4500 Kcal per day
Fat intake400- 425 g
Protein intake120- 140 g
Carbohydrate intake30- 50 g
Water Intake1 gallon (3.79 L) daily

Peter was practicing a diet that was less known by many. On that note, he highlights, “I was leaner and more mentally and physically fit during this three-year period [ketogenic diet] than during any other period of time as an adult, and my biomarkers were as good as they had ever been.”

articles by peter attia on keto diets

You can check out the following articles by Peter on keto diets, which explain in detail the different aspects to it:

3. Supplements

Peter Attia’s supplementation routine often changes based on his needs and body response.

However, below is a list of supplements that he has mentioned often:

  • Magnesium– 400 mg daily to preserve potassium for cellular function and avoid cramping. Slow Mag, a low-release supplement, was mentioned in 2018.
  • L threonate- To help Mg transportation to the brain
  • Methylated B vitamin complex– To compensate for his impaired ability to process folic acid
  • Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oil– Around 30 ml every morning to support the production of ketones for immediate utilization during intermittent fasting periods
  • Fish oil– Around 10 ml every day with dinner to improve heart health and reduce inflammation
  • Glutamine and BCAA– To build and preserve muscles
  • Vitamin D3– To build muscle and improve bone density

For sleep, Peter takes:

  • Magnesium L- threonate – To decrease sleep latency and promote relaxation
  • Glycine – 2 g to calm the central nervous system (CNS)
  • Ashwagandha – 600 mg to reduce cortisol and improve sleep latency
  • Phosphatidylserine (Jarrow formulas PS- 100 only when jet lagged)- To suppress cortisol

Benefits of Peter Attia Diet

There are many advantages to the Peter Attia diet. Some of the primary benefits include:

  • Weight Loss– Limited carbs and a high-fat diet allow the body to enter the ketosis state, primarily utilizing fat reserves for energy production. This results in significant weight loss and improved body composition.
  • Enhanced metabolic performance– This diet manages insulin resistance to improve insulin sensitivity and control blood sugar levels. It also lowers triglyceride levels and increases HDL cholesterol through the increased intake of healthy fats and limited consumption of processed food. These changes contribute to maintaining optimal health levels by preventing risk factors that can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc.
  • Improved cognitive function– Healthy fats like avocado, nuts, olive oil, etc., support improved health and cognitive function. These food choices can help you think clearly, focus better, and improve memory in the long run.

Further reading:

Frequently Asked Questions

The Peter Attia Diet is generally suitable for most people; however, pregnant and nursing mothers and those with underlying medical conditions should consult with a healthcare professional before making significant dietary changes.

Yes, carbohydrates are permitted while following the Peter Attia diet, although in moderation. Healthy starches and vegetables should be included in a diet, while processed and junk food should be minimized.

The visible results of the Peter Attia Diet can be seen in as little as a few weeks, depending on the individual’s metabolic rate and ability to maintain ketosis. Consistency with the diet plan is key to achieving visible results.

Yes, exercising is encouraged while following the Peter Attia Diet, as it is important for leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Takeaway Thoughts

On top of the nutritional framework on which Peter Attia bases his diet, there are a few other distinct rules, more like tips to enhance the reliability of the diet. Physical activity, sleep, and stress management are primary factors that are key to maintaining the diet effectively.

At the same time, Peter specifically highlights alcohol consumption because it has become a casual trend for any and all occasions.

Since alcohol serves zero nutritional value, keeping consumption to a bare minimum just to enjoy it mindfully will ensure fewer consequences in the long run.

Another mindful practice you can follow to make well-informed diet changes is using continuous glucose monitors (CGMs).

Using CGM tools will give you the advantage of learning your metabolism, including your insulin sensitivity and tolerance to carbs. This information allows you to adjust and make rapid changes to leverage your diet goals.

Hopefully, the above information on Peter Attia’s past and current diet gives you the necessary insight to help you create a diet plan to achieve your goals.

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Linda Walter
I’m a fitness trainer and a health coach. My GOAL is to empower everyone to live a healthier life even after passing their prime. You can find more about me here.

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