Have you heard about the 80/10/10 plan? This diet and lifestyle program is based on The 80/10/10 Diet: Balancing Your Health, Your Weight, and Your Life One Luscious Bite at a Time. The book, by raw foodist, athlete and chiropractor Dr. Douglas Graham, offers dietary guidelines based on the notion that humans are not omnivores by nature, but rather frugivorous, meaning we should be consuming a primarily fruit-based diet.
Graham explains that a diet naturally based on fruit and tender greens like lettuce would provide about 80 percent of calories from carbs and no more than 10 percent of calories each from protein and fats, which explains his ratio. He contends that raw fruits and leafy greens contain all the nutrients humans require, in the optimal proportions for our body’s needs. Let’s take a closer look at a few pros and cons of the 80/10/10 lifestyle:
It’s a lifestyle, not a diet
80/10/10 is actually a whole lifestyle program which includes a prescription for daily exercise and fresh air along with raw, vibrant foods. It can feel quite freeing as well, since you won’t need to count calories and worry about portion control. That’s because you are far less likely to over-consume calories with a menu based on fresh produce, with both fat and protein limited to 10 percent of your intake.
You will eat 100 percent healthy food
Given that most Americans fail to meet even the minimal government recommendations for fruit and veggie intake, a diet that focuses exclusively on the healthiest foods in nature is very refreshing. Literally everything on the menu is great for you—raw fruit, veggies, avocado and raw nuts and seeds. What’s not allowed? Animal products and anything cooked, refined, processed or adulterated in any way, which makes this way of eating incredibly simple.
It’s bursting with nutrients
This diet guarantees you a massive daily array of vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals and more. While many Americans consume high levels of white sugar, saturated fat, refined flour products and a plethora of unhealthy additives, 80/10/10 offers an immediate reversal of all of that, replaced by a generous daily infusion of nourishing, revitalizing food. Many followers claim to feel better almost immediately, and continue to report benefits such as improved digestion, renewed energy, greater mental clarity and more restful sleep.
You don’t have to cook
When breakfast is a green smoothie, lunch a fruit bowl and dinner a big salad, you’re liberated from pots, pans, hot ovens, stoves and heavy clean up. For many who enjoy the raw foods lifestyle, the ease and simplicity of creating and enjoying fresh, colorful meals and snacks is a continual delight. 80/10/10 is also easy on-the-go, as you can bring fruit, nuts and veggies anywhere, and can always order salad or fruit in restaurants.
You must eat a LOT of fruit
Enjoying fruit as a snack is different than consuming it as a complete meal, which is necessary to accumulate enough daily calories on this plan. Graham recommends mono-meals, which means your entrée is a large quantity of just one type of fruit—up to 20 bananas for lunch, as one example. Other meals might consist of several pounds of pineapple, mango, or grapes, plus a pound of tender greens daily. Graham claims that your system will quickly become accustomed to large quantities of fruit, but too much sugar, even in a natural form, can be problematic for certain people.
The ratio is not right for everyone
Most wellness professionals agree that given our bio-individuality, there is no one-size-fits-all diet ratio for protein, fat and carbs. Yet, according to Graham, we should get 90-97 percent of calories from fruit, 2-6 percent of calories from vegetables and 0-8 percent of calories from nuts and seeds. Compare that with the 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines, which recommend 45-65 percent of calories from carbs, 10-35 percent of calories from protein and 25-35 percent of calories from fat. Whether or not you agree with the government guidelines, they do allow a generous variance based on our respective nutritional needs.
You may need more fat
While many Americans consume too much fat—especially saturated— avoiding it is not ideal either. Dietary fat is an essential nutrient which helps to regulate body temperature, support immune function, balance our hormones, maintain healthy skin and hair, and insulate our internal organs. It’s also crucial for brain health.
According to a study in the Journal of Neurochemistry, a diet rich in healthy fats increases the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain which is critical for learning and memory. We also need fat to absorb vitamins A, D, E and K, all of which perform vital functions in our bodies. Healthy oils from avocado, olives, nuts and seeds are highly beneficial in moderation.
Bottom line? 80/10/10 does have a lot going for it. If you want to try it, you might think of it as a short-term cleanse initially; if you decide to stick with it over time, you can use the general foundation, customizing it to your own needs. Again, there is no one-size-fits-all diet, but you are highly likely to benefit on many levels from some version of a whole food, raw vegan approach.
Take the first step by trying our Vegan Meal Plan: 3 Days of Detoxifying High-Raw Vegan Meals.