Before we touch on how Peter eats now, it’s worth noting he hasn’t always eaten this way.
For example, for 3 years, between 2011 and 2014 Peter ate a 100% ketogenic diet.
This was back before ketogenic diets really hit the mainstream, as visualized on Google Trends:
Peter was practicing the diet when it was relatively unknown, and thus he wrote a few interesting articles to help raise awareness on the subject:
- Ketosis – advantaged or misunderstood state? (Part I)
- The interplay of exercise and ketosis (Part II)
- What I actually eat (circa Q4 2011) – this post was full of keto friendly foods, but is not reflective of his current diet
He explains that whilst he no longer eats keto, it’s not because he lost confidence in its efficacy, noting:
“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.”
For more information on Peter’s transition away from keto, see:
Table of Contents
Firstly, lets just clarify what Peter’s diet is not…
- As mentioned above, it’s not ketogenic
- It’s not vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian
- It’s not dairy or gluten free
Peter’s current diet can simplified into 3 “rules”:
- Time Restricted Feeding
- Avoid Sugars, High Fructose Corn Syrup & Junk Food
- No Restriction on Healthy Starches and Vegetables
1) Time Restricted Feeding
At the low end, Peter fasts between 14 – 16 hours each day, and at the high end, he fasts between 20 – 22 hours. Essentially meaning he fasts for most of the day, and eats all his calories in a tight window between the afternoon and evening. From what he describes, this means some days he will be eating one (big) meal per day (often referred to by the acronym OMAD).
2) Avoid Sugars, HFCS & Junk Food
Peter makes sure to avoid foods containing sucrose (sugar) and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). These are often in non-obvious places such as sauces and dressings, for food that would otherwise be healthy.
He also works to avoid obvious junk foods such as potato chips, cookies, pastries etc.
3) No Restriction on Healthy Starches & Vegetables
Peter doesn’t place restrictions on healthy starches such as rice and potatoes. Likewise, no restrictions on vegetables.
What does one of Peter’s meals look like?
If Peter’s eating once a day, which he does from time to time, he eats about 3,000 calories in 1 meal. It’s usually a combination of:
- A huge salad – Such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, mushroom Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), freshly squeezed lemon, salt, and pepper
- Protein – He rotates through salmon, pork, steak or game meat
- Carbohydrates – A serving of rice, potatoes or sweet potato
The above meal is an example taken from a podcast with Kevin Rose. Of course, he isn’t always eating 1 meal per day, but he does generally aim to delay eating until at least lunch time / early afternoon.
…So that’s essentially “it” for Peter’s day-to-day diet. Or at least I’ve covered as much as I currently understand. It may also be of interest to peek at this post I wrote on Peter’s nutrition framework. Which provides a nice mental model for the way he thinks about diet.
Peter currently water fasts for 3 consecutive days each month. Research by Valter Longo and others show fasting benefits include:
- Decrease in visceral fat (the “bad” fat located around the organs, as opposed to subcutaneous fat, that’s visible under the skin)
- Increase in cellular cleanup (autophagy) around day 3
- Lowered IGF-1
- Decreased blood glucose and insulin
Up until the end of 2019 Peter was doing a 7 day fast once every 3 months. His process comprised of:
- 7 days of a ketogenic diet prior to the water-only fast
- 7 days of water only fasting
- 7 further days of keto after the fast
However, for 2020 he does a 3 day fast once per month, without the strict keto diet either side. He made the switch for 2 key reasons:
- 7-day fasts are intrusive on life.
- During the 7-day fast, it was typically day 2 where he saw a big shift in his glucose/ketone levels. With glucose normalising, and ketone production ramping up. Therefore he anticipates 3-day fasts will capture some of this important metabolic change.
So far Peter has found the 3-day fasts:
- Significantly easier than 7-days + he never feels as though he’s “dragging” like he does at points on 7-day fasts
- Allow for a higher exercise tolerance, due to less glycogen depletion. Meaning he won’t have to dial back the volume/intensity of his workouts each quarter
During the fasting period it’s water only. – and for Peter this means plenty of his favourite carbonated water drink – Topo Chico:
Supplements whilst fasting?
In AMA 11 Peter discussed his approach to supplements whilst fasting. He continues taking:
- Magnesium – he takes magnesium oxide and Magnesium L-threonate when not fasting. When fasting, he switches out the magnesium oxide for a slow absorbing form of magnesium (Slow-Mag), then continues to take Magnesium L-Threonate.
- Methylated B vitamin complex – Peter takes these all the time, fasting or not fasting.
He stops taking:
- EPA/DHA – he takes about 2g daily of EPA/DHA normally, but whilst fasting he stops. Skipping the ~20 calories or so it would contain.
- Rapamycin – He stops taking rapamycin whilst fasting because he is already getting natural mTOR inhibition via the fast.
- Metformin – He doesn’t take metformin anymore, however when he was taking it, he would stop whilst fasting.
- Sodium – on his 7 day fasts he would supplement 2 grams of sodium via bouillon. However, for 3-day fasts he doesn’t add sodium and feels good. But suggests that others may benefit from sodium whilst fasting, especially if they don’t fast regularly.
Fasting Mimicking Diets?
For those interested in emulating something like Peter Attia’s 3 or 7 day water only fasts, but aren’t quite as extreme, the ProLon fasting mimicking diet may be of interest (I reviewed it here).
Peter has also discussed using a custom fasting mimicking diet with his clients. However he hasn’t (that I’m aware) shared the specific details. As noted in his tweet below, two of the key components are calorie restriction and low protein.
Hopefully the above gives you a window into Peter’s diet (past & present). I’ve also written about Peter’s supplements and exercise routines:
- Peter Attia’s Supplements – What He Takes & Why
- Peter Attia’s Exercise Routines – How He Trains & Why
If you’ve got any questions or comments, please leave them below.
Lastly, this seems like a good opportunity to mention Peter’s subscription service – with which I have zero affiliation – but am enthusiastic about.
For an annual fee, it gives you access to his detailed show notes & “Qualys” series, which are short (<10 minute) highlights from the back catalog of podcasts.
This is a great way to support Peter’s continued time spent on the podcast, as well as make sure you’re getting all the latest and greatest info.