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Mad as Hell: Questions on the Low-Fat Raw Food Diet Answered

Last week I posted an article about why I’m “mad” at the raw-food movement, here.

This article has generated more interest than any other article I have published before. Over 148 comments have been sent to my blog, and a large number of e-mails as well.

These are not short little comments, but involved, interesting, compelling stories. So today I want to address some of the questions I’ve received after publishing the article.

First of all, I want to thank everybody who contributed their two cents. It’s incredibly valuable to share your experience, thoughts and concerns with others.

I also think that some people made some assumption in the article that simply weren’t there.Here are some answers:

Low-fat means “no-fat”

Some people seem to think that a “low-fat” diet means a “no-fat” diet. I got a lot of comments from people who told me I was not making the difference between good fats and bad fats.

The point of the article was that an extremely high-fat diet is unhealthy. The average raw-foodist eats 60% of his calories from fat, which is 20% higher than the Standard American Diet.

Just reduce that percentage to 20% and you’ll already be on your way to health.Does it have to be 10% or less? That’s what Dr. Graham recommends after 25+ years of experience.

A study of the three-longest lived cultures in the world showed than they eat on average 15% of their calories from fat. My recommendations: reduce the fat progressively, increase the fruits and vegetables. 10% or less is ideal.

But that still means you can enjoy delicious avocados, nuts, seeds, and even a tablespoon of olive oil on your salad once in a while won’t hurt you.It’s the overall picture that matters.

Fruitarian is fruit only

There seems to be some confusion as to what is a “high-fruit diet”.First, what is a fruit? Nutritionally speaking, we are talking about sweet fruits such as bananas, oranges, peaches, melons, mangoes, etc.

Even though avocados, tomatoes and squash are also fruit, botanically speaking, we won’t classify them as such, because nutritionally speaking they are vegetables.

Fatty foods and nuts form their own category.

Greens also can be seen as a separate category.

All of the fresh fruits AND vegetables can and should be included in the raw diet. An abundance of greens and vegetables should be consumed.

But because vegetables are low in calories, if you eat 100% raw then the bulk of your calories will come from fruit.

But that doesn’t mean you’re ONLY eating fruit.

One Size Fits All

Some people have been accusing me of a “one-size fits all” philosophy. That I’m right, while everybody else is wrong.They’re saying that “there’s no single answer that can benefit everybody. Something that cures person A can kill person B.”

I strongly disagree with that statement, and the way it’s often being used.One thing that I really hate is people who can’t take a stand on certain issues, either because they haven’t done the research, or can’t come up with a conclusion.

The most “useful” piece of advice you’ll often get is “just do what works for you”, which is open to a LOT of interpretation.I believe that there are basic PRINCIPLES that work for everybody, but with exceptions.Some things are true… or they aren’t. And yes, some things are somewhat in-between.

For example, as a general rule, we can say that fruit and vegetables are the healthiest, most appropriate foods human beings can eat.

Are there exceptions? Of course. Some people are allergic to strawberries. Some people have no teeth and can’t chew vegetables.In those cases, compromises can be made. The diet can be adapted.It’s not this fixed, rigid thing that everybody must follow or else…

I am very open-minded.In fact, I’m far from what you could call a “militant raw-foodist” by any definition. Just meet me in person and you will see.

But I will also take a stance on certain issues.I hate wishy-washy writings and advice such as “just do what works for you”, which ultimately doesn’t help you in any way.

I believe certain things are TRUE, and I will let you know which ones and why.

That doesn’t mean that you have to agree with me.

It’s more than food

Some people said: “it’s more than food. There’s also the importance of exercise, peace of mind, etc. Some raw-foodists eat a perfect diet, and still are not healthy.”

I couldn’t agree more.Yes, it’s more than food.But food is also important, and it was the focus of the article.

25 bananas a day

The idea of eating 25 bananas in a day seems to strike some people as particularly unhealthy.So let’s settle the controversy: You DON’T have to eat 25 bananas in a day.

If you’re going to eat all raw, you just have to eat ENOUGH calories to meet your needs.If you need 2000 calories a day, like most people, then 25 bananas is going to be too much.

If you need 5000 calories because you’re a training athlete, then 25 bananas is just going to cover 50% of your needs.You don’t have to eat JUST bananas. This is just one example. You can eat a combination of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc.So let’s not freak out about the 25/bananas a day thing.

Certain Guru Looks Good, or Bad

I got some emails about how someone decided to NOT follow the raw diet because they thought Dr. Graham looked bad.

While others told me they decided to follow it because he looked good.Someone else decided NOT to follow the high-fat diet because they thought that Wolfe looked bad, while Roger looked better.In the end, people have different perceptions about who looks GOOD and who looks BAD, based on their own criteria.

You shouldn’t make it the decisive factor.I prefer to look at a NUMBER of people following the same diet, especially if they’ve been doing it for several years.There are more important factors than just looks.Try to evaluate health as a whole instead.

It’s all about Balance

Some people told me: it’s all about balance. If you eat mostly clean 95% of the time, then it wouldn’t be bad to eat cacao once in a while. It’s the overall picture that matters.I definitely agree. Did I say otherwise?I’m just against the ideas that are promoted as panacea, such as eating cacao EVERY DAY, which is definitely unhealthy.

ResourcesIf you’ve been participating in this discussion, or just curious about it, and what to take it to the next level, then here are some resources you can use to learn more about the low-fat diet.Where should you start? What’s the best way to learn?

Raw Vegan Mentor Club

Every month, I send a complete, information-packed, advertisement-free newsletters to the 200+ members of the Raw Vegan mentor club. This features clear, step-by-step information on how to make the raw food diet work in the REAL world.Every month, you also receive a complete menu planners, even with shopping lists and recipes included, all based on seasonal ingredients.You also get audio tips, interviews, and more.

SPECIAL for “MAD AS HELL” ARTICLE: If you sign up in the next 72 hours, I will also give you my eBook “Raw Secrets” for free. Just contact us after placing your order at and we’ll send you the download link for “The Raw Secrets” — FREE.

PLEASE NOTE: You need to sign up for the “Raw Vegan Mentor Club” FIRST: Click here to sign up.

Lightning Speed Fitness

I talked about my friend Roger Haeske, who at 41 looks like he’s 25. He sells an excellent, youth-rejuvenating fitness program. Click here for more information.

The Raw Health Starter Kit

This is our most complete package on how to get started on the raw food diet. Best value anywhere for an awesome package of information. Check it out here.

The Perfect Health Program

Want to learn more about Dr. Graham’s philosophy in more details? Check out the “Perfect Health Program” — our most advanced and useful package. It features 12 hour-long masterclasses where I interview Dr. Graham on the most important questions YOU want to get answers for.Check it out here.

I also highly recommend the book “The 80-10-10 Diet” available on Amazon.

If you just want the recipes? Check out my book “Instant Raw Sensations” (also included as part of the Raw Health Starter Kit).

Want more “hands-on” stuff, where you’ll actually get to put this information into practice? Then join us for the next Green for Life Program, starting in March.

Want to avoid dental problems forever? Check out:

If you have comments or questions on the “Mad as Hell” discussion, please send them in below.

Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.