Gracie Diet: A Comprehensive Guide to Nutrition and Healthy Living

Last updated on 03.08.2023 by

BJJ practitioners use a wide variety of different diets to improve their abilities and overall health. One diet that was made specifically for grappling is the Gracie Diet. A popular diet used by both members of the Gracie family and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu students. Here is our comprehensive guide to nutrition and healthy living through the Gracie Diet. Going through what the diet entails and if it is effective.

What is the Gracie Diet? 

Gracie Diet

The Gracie Diet was created by BJJ co-founder Carlos Gracie Sr. He created this diet for ailments he suffered from when he reached middle age. Carlos Sr. suffered from various ailments, from body aches and migraines that left him bedridden. Desperate to find a solution to his diminishing health, Gracie began looking for ways to improve his health. He began researching various books on nutrition and reading about which foods were healthy and which were not. After acquiring this knowledge, Carlos Sr changed his diet. Eating only natural foods and avoiding all processed foods while increasing his water intake. Carlos saw positive results almost immediately after implementing it. He was no longer bedridden and looked like a whole new person.

This led Carlos to create his own diet, which would be called the Gracie Diet. He would introduce the diet to his family and make all the members of the Gracie clan use it. The Gracie family would also see immediate positives from implementing this diet. Becoming faster and stronger and seeing a drastic improvement in their athletic performance.

The Gracie Diet Book

Rorion Gracie began selling the Gracie Diet as the Gracie Academy became established internationally. Encouraging all Gracie Jiu-Jitsu students to implement the diet to improve their health and training.

The Gracie Diet: The Secret of the Champions
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Gracie, Rorion (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 178 Pages – 02/16/2013 (Publication Date) – Gracie Publications (Publisher)

Today, not just Gracie Jiu-Jitsu students use the diet, but various BJJ students have adopted the Gracie Diet.

A Breakdown of the Gracie Diet

Food Combining

The primary concept of the Gracie Diet is proper food combining. According to this principle, different types of foods require different digestive enzymes, and when improperly combined, they can lead to digestive issues and reduced nutrient absorption. The diet divides foods into three main groups: Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Neutral Foods. Combining each of these three categories of food into different meals.


Carbohydrates include grains, bread, pasta, potatoes, and fruits. They should be the basis of each meal. However, specific rules are applied to their combination with other types of foods.


Proteins consist of meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products. They are divided into two categories: Acidic and sweet proteins.

  • Acidic Proteins: Acidic proteins include beef, chicken, turkey, and other red meats.
  • Sweet Proteins: Sweet proteins include fish, eggs, milk, and other dairy products.

Neutral Foods

In the Gracie Diet, there are four neutral categories of neutral foods.

  1. Vegetables (Except Tomatoes)
  2. Oils
  3. Butter
  4. Fats

You can use any of these neutral foods in your meals. Giving you numerous meal options.

Food Combinations to Avoid

The Gracie Diet lists food combinations users are advised to avoid consuming together. For instance, you should not mix carbohydrates with acidic proteins or sweet proteins with acidic proteins.

Time-Based Eating

The diet emphasizes eating specific food groups at designated times of the day. For example, acidic proteins are recommended for lunch, while sweet proteins are recommended for dinner.

The 5-Hour Rule

The Gracie Diet suggests waiting at least five hours between meals to aid digestion and prevent overeating. Snacking is discouraged between meals.


The Gracie Diet advocates drinking water throughout the day but suggests avoiding water during meals to prevent diluting digestive enzymes.

Listen to Your Body

One of the essential aspects of the Gracie Diet is paying attention to how your body reacts to different foods and combinations. Everyone’s body may have unique reactions, so listening to your body and adjusting your diet is essential.

Mindful Eating 

The Gracie Diet promotes mindful eating and encourages people to eat slowly, savoring each bite and chewing food thoroughly.

The Rules of the Gracie Diet For Each Belt Rank

Gracie Diet Rules

Carlos Gracie Sr wrote down rules for students of each rank to follow and pass on to the next rank. Check out the Gracie diet rules for each rank below.

White Belt 

At white belt, the rules of the diet are the simplest. Wash your hands before every meal and write down everything you eat during the week. Also, keep a clean diet 5–6 days a week to ensure you get the best out of your training.

Blue Belt 

Blue belts are encouraged to continue the habits they learned at white belt and make their diets more strict. They are advised to avoid desserts after meals, if not eliminate them entirely from their regimen.

The drinks that blue belts are permitted to drink water, iced tea, and veggie juices with absolutely no carbonated beverages. They’re also advised to eat clean for 5–6 days a week to ensure their best performance during training.

Purple Belt 

Purple belts are encouraged to continue the eating habits they learned at the white and blue belts. Also, eliminate all pork products from their diet.

Brown Belt 

Carry on the good eating habits they learned at the lower ranks while waiting 4–5 hours between meals. Brown belts are advised to eat clean six days a week, with one free day.

Black Belt

Black belts are advised to follow the rules of the Gracie diet every day of the week. It is also their duty to pass on their nutrition knowledge to the lower belts.

What do the Gracies Eat? 

Most of the Gracie family members follow this diet to some degree. Generations of Gracie family members have used this diet and have shown positive results. Following these guidelines has also improved the genetics of the Gracie family. Over time, members of the family have become bigger, faster, and stronger from following the diet.

Is the Gracie Diet Vegetarian?

No, the Gracie diet is not vegetarian, but a vegetarian could use the diet. They could just replace the meat proteins with vegetable-based proteins and eggs. 

A Critic of the Gracie Diet

It’s important to note that while the Gracie Diet has gained popularity, there’s no evidence to back its claims. Carlos Sr. took elements from other diets and made up his rules and claims about the diet.

As with any dietary approach, it’s crucial to consult a qualified healthcare professional or registered dietitian before choosing this diet. Individual dietary needs may vary, and what works for one person may not be suitable for another.

Does the Gracie Diet Work

All the rules and guidelines are basic common sense at the Gracie Diet’s core. Eat clean, avoid processed foods, and mix certain acidic foods with sweet ones.

Basic nutrition rules that you should already be following. Although, if you choose to use the Gracie Diet, you will see results in your performance on the mat and overall health.