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The 80 10 10 Diet by Dr. Douglas Graham is a raw food version of a low-fat plant based diet, similar to that popularized by Dr. John McDougall.
Graham, who is a lifetime athlete, has been eating a raw food diet for almost thirty years and raves about the health benefits from eating according to his method.
He has acted as dietary advisor to world-class athletes and celebrities including Martina Navratilova and Demi Moore.
Those new to raw foods may struggle with this diet as raw food takes a bit of getting used to.
80 10 10 Diet Basics
Graham proposes that the ideal ratio of macronutrients to support health is:
- 80% carbohydrates
- 10% protein
- 10% fat
Other low-fat vegan diets rely on cooked starches such as rice, bread, and potatoes as the main source of calories.
Dr. Douglas Graham
Starches and grains are low in nutrients and because they taste bland we usually add sugar, salt, and fats which compromise their potential health value.
Graham overcomes this problem by basing his program entirely on raw foods with fruit forming the foundation of the diet. He states that fruit is the ideal food for humans and supports his claims with convincing arguments and scientific research.
Dieters are encouraged to eat mono meals of fruit where a single fruit is eaten in large quantities.
For example, breakfast might consist of 4 pounds of watermelon. Graham explains that it is necessary to eat fruit in such amounts in order to obtain adequate calories, which is necessary to thrive on this diet.
Graham also advises dieters to consume approximately a pound of leafy greens each day such as lettuce, spinach, and celery. Foods high in fat such as avocado and nuts are generally limited to a small serving every second day or so.
Although the diet is the foundation of the program Graham emphasizes the importance of addressing other lifestyle factors, which include exercise, sunlight, adequate sleep, and emotional balance.
Fruit, vegetables, avocado, raw nuts and seeds, young coconut.
Sample 1 Day Meal Plan
3 lbs cantaloupe
1 lb bananas
1 lb mangoes
1 lb apricots
Orange Pepper Tomato Soup
(8 oz romaine lettuce
8 oz tomatoes
8 oz orange or yellow pepper
Heirloom Avocado Salad
(8 oz romaine lettuce
8 oz cucumber
12 oz tomatoes
6 oz avocado
¼ cup cilantro)
An important aspect of the program is regular daily exercise. Graham advises dieters to aim to do some aerobic exercise every day and to engage in strength training three times a week.
Graham states that if you are not exercising on a regular basis then you are not following the program.
Costs and Expenses
The 80 10 10 Diet retails at $29.95.
There will be an increase in the cost of groceries due to the need for a large amount of fresh produce.
- Many athletes have reported improved performance on this diet.
- Good for dieters who like eating fruit.
- Low-fat diets are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- Higher in nutrients than low-fat vegan diets that include cooked foods.
- Encourages the intake of fruit and vegetables.
- Encourages a physically active lifestyle.
- Provides suggestions to gradually transition into the full diet plan.
- Beneficial as a short-term cleansing diet.
- Food preparation is easy.
- Highly restrictive. Difficult to eat out and in social situations.
- Requires a complete overhaul of eating habits.
- Many dieters will not enjoy eating this way.
- Some dieters may have difficulty maintaining the recommended exercise guidelines.
- Dieters will undergo withdrawal and detoxification symptoms in the initial stages especially if they are regular users of caffeine and alcohol.
- Risk of nutritional deficiency especially if intake of leafy green vegetables is not adequate.
- May be too low in protein, essential fatty acids, and minerals including zinc and selenium.
- May require the use of vitamin B12 supplements.
Too Extreme for Most
The 80 10 10 diet is an extreme approach to dieting that will not appeal to everyone. It is probably most suitable for individuals who are highly committed, such as professional athletes, or dieters who have a specific goal that they hope to achieve by following this plan.
Graham improves on many of the nutritional inadequacies of other low-fat vegan diets and the intake of vitamins and minerals is much higher due to the inclusion of an abundant amount of fruit and leafy green vegetables.
However, many people have reported problems following a raw vegan diet and it may be difficult to support optimal health without guidance or supervision from a qualified health professional who has experience with this approach to dieting.
By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
- Koebnick, C., Garcia, A. L., Dagnelie, P. C., Strassner, C., Lindemans, J., Katz, N., ... Hoffmann, I. (2005). Long-term consumption of a raw food diet is associated with favorable serum LDL cholesterol and triglycerides but also with elevated plasma homocysteine and low serum HDL cholesterol in humans. The Journal of nutrition, 135(10), 2372-2378. link
- Garcia, A. L., Koebnick, C., Dagnelie, P. C., Strassner, C., Elmadfa, I., Katz, N., ... (2008). Long-term strict raw food diet is associated with favourable plasma β-carotene and low plasma lycopene concentrations in Germans. British journal of nutrition, 99(06), 1293-1300. link
- Kohman, E. F., Eddy, W. H., White, M. E., Sanborn, N. H. (1937). Comparative Experiments with Canned, Home Cooked, and Raw Food Diets. The Journal of Nutrition, 14(1), 9-19. link
Last Reviewed: January 21, 2018