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Differences Between the 80-10-10 Diet and Other High-Fruit Approaches

One question that always interests me when I meet someone following a high-fruit diet is what is their specific approach. Many people follow a high-fruit diet while not exactly following the 80-10-10 Diet exactly as Dr. Graham describes it in his book.

In a recent visit to Panama, I asked Loren Lockman, director of the Tanglewood Wellness Center what’s different between his approach and the 80-10-10 Diet. Watch the video and after I’ll tell you where I personally differ as well.

What’s the Difference Between Frederic’s Approach and the 80-10-10 Program

First, I must say that I have learned a great deal with Doug. His writings have of course been extremely useful, but more importantly attending his live events and learning from him in person has given me many breakthroughs over the year in my overall health, diet and fitness programs. He’s certainly been one of my main mentors, and also a great inspiration. If you can afford his live events, I certainly recommend them highly.

I agree with the major points exposed in the 80-10-10 Diet. Here’s some of the minor items where I differ:

1) B12 Supplement and Vitamin D — I do make vitamin B12 and vitamin D important nutritional considerations for raw-foodists. Based on all the research that currently exists, I do not think it is wise to simply “wait to see if you get a deficiency and then supplement if you need it”. A B12 supplement is an excellent insurance policy for every raw vegan. As for vitamin D, deficiencies are possible (especially if you live most of the year in in Northern clime), so the best thing to do is to get yourself tested if you have any doubts, and if necessary include a supplement in your program, during those months.

2)  Steamed Vegetables— Between a low-fat cooked food meal and a high-fat raw food meal, which one is best? Most raw-foodists will say raw is always best. Dr. Graham will say that it’s like asking if you want to shoot yourself in the foot, or the hand. So both are equally detrimental.

I say that based on all the nutritional research that is available, we know for a fact that a meal of steamed potato and broccoli will be INFINITELY healthier than a high-fat raw food meal with lots of  nuts and oil, and I’ve been saying the same since 2002.

Some people have criticized me for not being 100% raw, all the time, and even promoting steamed vegetables as a healthy alternative to high-fat raw meals has turned off quite a few raw-foodists. I’ll keep saying the same:  If eating a few steamed vegetables helps you stay healthy and raw and avoid high-fat raw meals, it’s a better compromise.

3) 10% Fat — Dr. Graham says that the ideal diet should not contain more than 10% fat by percentage of total calories. He believes that there are predictable health declines that occur in many areas of health when a person goes above that amount.

Going through the research available on the subject in various medical and nutritional studies, I find that the evidence generally supports this theory. However, the exact percentage is debatable. Even Dr. Graham himself, in person — is rather flexible when it comes to the percentage. He says “some people are happy with 15%, but above 20%, optimal health cannot be maintained” (I paraphrase).

So here’s it’s not so much that I differ with what he says. I found in my personal experience that I generally shoot for 10% fat, but often achieve 15%. If you’d average out everything I eat over one year, you’d probably find that my average fat intake hovers around 12 to 15%. I’m slightly above the ideal maximums, but I find that it works and of course I’m always trying to improve myself.

4) Calories. As opposed to Loren, I do think that calories ARE important and consuming enough fruit is one of the keys to success on the raw food diet. I recommend eating according to your needs, and of course those needs are different for everybody. A top athlete will need to eat more than a sedentary person.

That’s what Dr. Graham says as well, and I’m sure that Loren Lockman would also agree with those conclusions.

Dr. Graham feels that it would be best to increase your activity levels so that you’d need more calories, therefore eat more fruits and vegetables, and in the end get more nutrients than a sedentary person.

However, I can’t deny the mountain of evidence that shows that calorie-restricted diets and/or periodic fasting dramatically increase longevity in animals. A high-calorie, high-fruit low-fat raw diet combined with a high-intensity lifestyle is ideal for peak performance, but in terms of longevity, if it’s maintained throughout life it might not lead to increased lifespan.

Fortunately, our lives are relatively long (compared to laboratory animals), so there’s always time to make adjustments down the road. As we get older, lowering the total caloric intake becomes more and more important.

The last point is actually not in disagreement with Dr. Graham’s philosophy, but simply a different way to look at it.

So as you can see most of these are minor points, where my point of view slightly differs. What do you think? How do you apply the principles of the low-fat raw food diet into your life?

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.