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Dave Palumbo's Diet Plan (How & What He Eats)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers | Senior Coach
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: June 9, 2023

Ever heard of the diet devised by Dave Palumbo?

It’s a famous diet that was invented by - you guessed it - the now retired bodybuilder and fitness athlete Dave Palumbo.

Explained in simple terms, the goal of this diet is to help with weight loss and preserve muscle mass by eating loads of lean protein meals, while having one cheat meal per week with a focus on carbs.

Imagine incorporating this diet into your routine to produce shredded muscles that not only impress, but make you feel as good as you look.

How is this diet organized and what you should exactly eat?

We’ve explained it all below, but firstly…

Quick Summary

  • Dave Palumbo's diet mostly comprises high protein moderate essential fats and low amounts of carbs.
  • Palumbo's diet discourages the consumption of junk food, artificial ingredients, processed foods, excessive sugar, and hydrogenated fats.
  • The aim of Dave Palumbo's diet plan is to help with weight loss, and preserve muscle mass at any given time.
  • Anyone who want's to copy Dave's diet plan must be ready to eat six meals per day.

What Is The Dave Palumbo Diet?

The Dave Palumbo diet is composed mainly of large quantities of proteins, little amount of carbs, and a modest amount of essential fats. It’s essentially a high protein, moderate fat diet.

However, be warned that it isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires you to eat six meals per day!

Add on top of that a cheat meal once a week, and you’ve got quite a lot of eating to do.

To get started with this diet, you need to first find out your accurate weight.

From there, that number tells you your protein intake on a daily basis. This ratio is suggested to be 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound.

Secondly, while cutting sugar out of your diet is a given in almost any muscle building diet, removing it completely isn’t suggested.

According to Dave, the body requires glycogen in order to function properly and helps muscles to grow [1]. To acquire the necessary amount of glycogen, Dave recommends taking it through once a week cheat meals rather than on a consistent basis.

“When the brain switches from sugar to using fats, you’re said to be in a state of ketosis. A ketogenic diet is a state where carbohydrates are restricted enough so that the brain uses fat or ketones as a fuel source.”

- Palumbo

This meal should be taken on a consistent basis at the same time on the same day every week.

By taking in glucose on a regulated basis, it lowers cortisol levels which allows the body to revert back into a state of relaxation. It also strengthens the immune system and encourages growth stability.

With the amount of weight training you’re doing in the gym alongside following Dave’s diet, it’ll be necessary if you’re looking to achieve maximum performance.

Lastly, fat intake should not surpass 0.5 grams per pound on a single day, and stimulants must be avoided at all costs.

Who is Dave, Anyway?

Dave Palumbo is a bodybuilder who started his bodybuilding career by lifting weights after being a college runner.

Only 9 months after starting his training, he participated in a bodybuilding competition where he won 6th place.


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A post shared by Dave Palumbo (@huge285)

Since then, he has won many other competitions and shared his knowledge of fitness with others both offline and online.

He has also been able to successfully reshape the way people lose weight and gain muscle by introducing effective diets such as keto.

Moreover, he has a background in medicine, as well as a degree in biology and biochemistry.

These credentials vouch for his success and the trustworthiness behind his advice.

What To Eat On This Diet?

This diet involves choosing any foods that contain the necessary amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrates you need.

Starting with a lean protein meal, you want foods that have an abundance of proteins and essential fatty acids.

These include: meat, fish, eggs, poultry, and dairy products. Other recommended sources include nuts, fatty fishs, almonds, and swordfish as the main sources of fats.

To keep the diet as natural and bio as possible, Dave also recommends an intake of all natural peanut butter and extra virgin olive oil. As fiber plays a role in impacting muscle mass growth, Dave suggests also eating foods that are rich in fibre such as leafy greens.

We’ve also compiled a meal plan that covers all the requirements Dave Palumbo outlines in his diet.

But before we get to that, let’s first go over some of the foods you MUST avoid for the diet to be effective:

  • Junk food
  • Sugar
  • Excessive amounts of refined carbs (pizza, pastry, white rice)
  • Processed foods (snacks, biscuits, cheese)
  • Artificial ingredients
  • Hydrogenated fats (donuts, stick margarine, fast foods)

Sample Meal Plan

Here’s our recommended meal plan for you to follow. There are six meals to be consumed per day:

Meal #1: For breakfast, start with 5 whole eggs rich in essential omega 3 (easily found in most supermarkets). For more protein, try adding up to four egg whites (These do not necessarily need to be rich with omega 3).

Meal #2: The second meal of the day involves a simple protein shake. Mix around 1 tablespoon of all natural peanut butter with 50g whey protein and drink up!

Meal #3: This midday meal should include 8 oz. of chicken or turkey, and 1/2 cup of almonds or walnuts.

Meal #4: Time for the second whey protein shake. Identical to the first protein shake, mix around 1 tablespoon of peanut butter with 50g of whey protein.

Remember the golden rule: no sugar!

Meal #5: Consider this the dinner meal, where the focus is on saturated fats and high protein foods. This can include red meat or fish, followed by leafy greens such as a green salad.

Ideally, you want to aim for 8 oz of red meat or swordfish. As for the green salad, avoid  toppings such as red peppers or tomatoes. You can however add 1 tablespoon of olive or nut oil to give it a richer taste.

Meal #6: We end with yet another protein shake as we’ve done previously. That means a total of three protein shakes taken in one day. It’s up to you how you want to take them, but make sure each protein shake is taken alternatively in between meals and not all at once.

The Cheat Meal: Only after two weeks of following the diet is it suggested to start incorporating cheat meals. This is because that’s how long it takes the body to adjust and shift into the ketosis state.

What your cheat meal consists of is completely up to you - hence why it’s called the cheat meal.

Any type of food is allowed, as long as you stay within the daily 0.5 grams of fat per pound limit. You’re also allowed to take up to 400g carbs through donuts, bread, cereals, bagels, ice cream, or anything else you’ve been craving the whole week to eat.

If you’ve been fighting your temptations, now's the time to let loose and go wild!

Extra Tip: During a low-carb intake diet, the body runs out of water quickly. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid cramping.

How Does His Diet Work?

This diet works depending on the amount of carbs consumed.

When your body has a low amount of carbs, it will eventually shift into a state of ketosis.

The longer it remains in this state, the more fat gets burned. As a result, body fat is forced to be used as a fuel source for quick fat loss.

When it comes to muscle gains, the diet takes advantage of the fact that muscles require fuel to repair themselves. It's a great way to kill two birds with one stone, especially when committing to a rigorous training regimen.

By limiting the amount of carbs present, your body utilizes them for priority tasks such as muscle repair.

Once carbs are reintroduced into the body during your once a week cheat meal, the glucose is immediately processed into nutrients for your muscles instead of body fat.

Is The Dave Palumbo Diet Good For You?

The Dave Palumbo diet is good for you if are a man over 200 lbs. Thankfully, it can also be customized to other weight ranges with ease.

This diet is highly suggested by reputable pioneers in the industry, but at the end of the day, it all depends on how your body is going to react and what your goals are. Everyone has different views towards diet plans, so be sure you do what works for you.

Some people claim it is excellent for weight loss and to gain muscle mass, but that the low carb diet is difficult to commit to.

As for drawbacks, common side effects of the Dave Palumbo diet include temporary glucose withdrawal, which may make you feel weird in the beginning. However, your body will most likely eventually adapt once it starts to see results.

When looking at the pros and cons of the diet, we focus on the man who made it happen. Dave Palumbo has been preaching about this diet for years.

Compared to others who have difficulty committing to it, Dave has a wealth of experience in the field and most likely knows a thing or two about the sacrifices necessary for growing muscles and getting in shape.

Therefore, if you’re aiming to achieve similar results, you’ll probably want to listen to someone who’s been there and done it.


What Would Be the Right Dose of Omega 3 for a 220 LB. Person?

The right dose of omega 3 for a 220 lb. person would be about 9 grams on a daily basis.

Can You Have Peanut Butter Instead of Cashew Nuts as Recommended in the Diet?

Yes, you can have peanut butter instead of cashew nuts. Breaking things down, you would need to take about 2oz of cashew nuts, which provides around 12g of fat. (That’s nearly 40 cashews). You can also replace this amount of fat with 1.5 tablespoons of peanut butter, with one tablespoon containing around 8 grams of fat.

What if You Can’t Find Omega-3 Rich Eggs?

You don’t have to be overly concerned about finding eggs rich in OMEGA-3 M, as 5 whole eggs would provide a similar amount of nutrients. Whole eggs are certainly a huge part of this meal program.

Is It Okay to Have Coffee During Dave Palumbo’s Diet?

It’s totally okay to have coffee as long as you don’t have more than 2 cups per day and you don’t use sugar.

Are You Going To Try Dave Palumbo's Diet?

A simple keto diet can give you results in a matter of weeks. But if you intend to gain muscle mass while losing weight, the Dave Palumbo diet is worth trying.

The secret to achieving success with Dave’s diet is by being strict about the amount of food you consume. Make sure to weigh out your food during each meal, and of course, stick to the diet by not taking too many cheat meals!

That being said, it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Committing to this diet program requires work. If you’re not comfortable with sticking to a diet for weeks let alone months, you’ll probably struggle to get the Dave Palumbo diet to work for you.

However, if you’ve got the discipline to back up your motivation, the Dave Palumbo diet can help you achieve the results you’ve been looking for.


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2 thoughts on “Dave Palumbo’s Diet Plan
What He Eats On a Daily Basis

  1. Great review of his diet. For everyone who’s curious, Dave Palumbo also has his own website. Check it out.

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