I often get questions about the amount of fat we should eat daily. Many people who have read my books are trying to eat less fat. However, the question of *exactly* how much fat is healthy is often debated.
Someone asked me recently what are some differences between my approach and the 80/10/10 Diet, by Dr. Doug Graham.
In case you don’t know, the 80/10/10 Diet is composed of at least 80% carbohydrates, and a maximum of 10% of fat and protein by calories. That’s where the name comes from.
Although I’ve been aware of the dangers of high-fat raw food diets since 2002 when I wrote my book “The Raw Secrets,” it was not until 2005 that I truly gave the 80/10/10 approach a try.
Dr. Graham’s information is truly top-notch in the raw food world, and more people thrive on an 80/10/10 diet, or something along those lines, than any other form of 100% raw diet.
Ever since 2005, I have learned a lot about the 80/10/10 Diet and met a lot of people who have followed it. I also worked with Dr. Graham on a number of projects, the main one being the Perfect Health Program, that is still considered today by many low-fat raw-foodists as one of the most complete courses on the topic.
However, because I do not follow a strict 80/10/10 Diet as taught by Dr. Graham, many people have been asking me what I think of it and what I would do differently.
Everybody who experiments with the raw food diet eventually either gives up or finds their own approach that works for them. In my experience, a low-fat raw food diet with a LOT of fruit and a LOT of greens works for the greatest number of people.
However, through my own research and experience, I’ve come to slightly different conclusions.
My teachings are still very close to the 80/10/10 diet in many key areas, such as:
– The importance of the low fat diet
– Eat enough fruit, and don’t be afraid to do it
– Eat lots of greens
– Fitness is just as important as nutrition for overall health.
Here are the few areas where I’m different.
1- No obsession about 100% raw. I recommend a diet based on fruits and vegetables, but I’m not as strict about the 100% raw part as I used to be in the past. In fact, I say that low-fat cooked items such as yams or vegetables are healthier than large amounts of raw fats found in most gourmet raw recipes (although the 80/10/10 Diet probably agrees with that too).
2- Fat. I allow more than 10% fat, over the course of a month. Although I have done the “less than 10%” thing for a while, I prefer to stay in the 12-18% range, with 15% being a good target for most people.
Many 80/10/10ers have such a fear of fat that they’ll avoid all nuts and seeds. Thus they end up eating only fruit, or only fruit and little greens. However, there are important nutrients in nuts and seeds, such as essential fatty acids and minerals, that are hard to get from just fruits and vegetables. Therefore, if your fat is coming from healthy sources, especially certain high-omega 3 seeds such as hemp, chia or flax then it’s okay to go above 10%.
I find that it’s actually easier to follow the diet that way, while keeping the overall fat content fairly low compared to most people. But, if you need to cleanse or heal, or have extra weight to release, then by all means go for a while without overt fats.
3- Supplements. I am no supplement whore. In fact, I’m one of the few raw food promoters to never have launched a line of supplements. That’s because I find that 99% of what’s on the market is useless in comparison to fresh foods.
But, certain supplements can be intelligently used, and it would be hard to argue that they don’t have their place.
For example, as I explained in my new book Raw Food Controversies, and even in my first book Raw Secrets, most raw foodists should take a B12 supplement to avoid any possible deficiencies that can offer lead to disastrous results. Vitamin D can also be an issue, and intelligent use of a supplement is often advisable when you live in a northern climate year round.
4- Condiments. Although in theory I agree with the idea that a condiment-free diet is best, most people, myself included, find such a diet too boring and ascetic.
In practice, I have found that using some fresh herbs, spices, and even some raw hot peppers can make food much more enjoyable. Try to avoid or limit salt though, and keep in mind the best condiments are raw herbs like dill and basil.
I also don’t mind using some “non-raw” condiments sometimes, such as salsa in a jar, as I find it to be a more suitable way to add zing to a salad rather than using a fatty dressing.
The most important thing is to eat a lot of greens and vegetables. If you find it easy to eat them plain, then by all means go for it. But if you’re like me and find your salads and raw soups more palatable and enjoyable with a bit of spice, then don’t feel guilty for not being “perfect.” It’s far better to eat salads and soups more frequently with a little seasoning than rarely and stay 100% natural hygiene.
To be honest I have noticed that a lot of people who are so strict about staying 80/10/10 don’t eat the right balance of nutrients. Many even get rid of all sources of fat in the diet, including nuts and seeds, even though Dr. Graham never advised to do that. They like to call this the 90/5/5 plan (less than 5% fat and protein) or the “no fat raw food diet”.
Even though nuts and seeds should be limited, let’s not forget that they contain important nutrients that cannot easily be found in fruits and vegetables.
It’s also noteworthy to consider that the 80/10/10 Diet is rather new, and almost no one in the history of mankind has actually eaten that way for more than a couple of decades.
Therefore, it’s quite obvious that not *all* answers have been found and that although I think that 80/10/10 has so much to offer, there’s still room for improvements (such as food quality and variety) and individualization.
A lot of people trying to follow a low fat diet have trouble eating enough greens. They know what’s recommended, but fall short and simply don’t get all the nutrients their body needs.
And just eating mono meals of lettuce or celery in massive quantities is not something most people are willing to do.
One way to get all your greens in a truly enjoyable way is to try out Roger Haeske’s “Savory Veggie Stews”. Check it out at:
I’ve raved about Roger’s program since it came out a year or two ago, as I found it’s the best way to beat dinner-time cravings for cooked foods. Roger’s “Stews” are also super-delicious, and I dare to say my top favorite raw food meal besides fruit.
Roger uses some healthy condiments to keep things interesting, but stays clear off salt and garlic. And you know what? You won’t even miss the salt as these Savory Stews are truly delicious on their own. So it’s a great way to eliminate or reduce salt intake.
If you find it hard to stay raw and low fat, and crave something more than salads for dinner, give Roger’s program a serious try at: http://www.veggiestews.com
As for the discussion about the differences between my approach and Doug’s 80/10/10, I will just say that even though my message is essentially about low fat raw vegan foods, I have found over the years that some people take it to an extreme and omit all fatty foods from their diet completely (like avocados, nuts, etc.).
They may feel great in the short term, but they risk serious problems in the long term, some of which I have witnessed with my own eyes in people trying out this more extreme approach.
I have talked extensively about this in my new book Raw Food Controversies.
If you’d like to discover how to avoid dangerous deficiencies while getting the most from the raw food approach, make sure to get your copy at:
That’s it for today. I just got back to Vancouver after a quick trip to the East Coast to see my family and move a bunch of stuff to my new place. After traveling for almost a year, I’m ready to sit down and not go anywhere for a while!
I hope today’s article answered some questions you may have had.