Dr. Fuhrman Diet Review
By CANDICE GREY
Update: Dec 27, 2022
The Dr. Fuhrman Nutritarian Diet was founded in 2003, and aims to educate people on how to lose weight with books and DVD’s. He promotes healthy eating through a plant-based diet. Dr.
Joel Fuhrman seeks to educate people on his philosophy, and provides services to those who could not otherwise afford him in real sessions. He strives to educate people on eating plant- based, nutrient-dense foods to reverse heart disease and other life threatening illnesses Americans face today.
Dr. Fuhrman in Eat to Live book promises the Nutritarian diet will help you lose weight, feel better, and live longer by pointing out the flaws in what we think we know about nutrition and using science and case studies to show how different foods affect us for better or worse.
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This costly program does not set itself apart from the other diet programs out there, and his plant-based diet approach already has me running for cover. Oh, did I forget to mention once you purchase, there are no money back guarantees?
Their customer service line was relatively easy to get a hold of, and they answered my questions with no hesitation or trying to upwell which was nice. Their number is: 800-474-9355, and their email is on their contact page here. The company also scored high with the Better Business Bureau, see it here.back to menu ↑
The Three Lessons of Dr. Fuhrman Nutritarian Diet
You can’t stay as fit as you want to be if you keep eating foods that don’t have enough nutrients.
We can all get foods that we know are healthy. But doesn’t that burger sound much better than a salad? Too often, though, we make the wrong choice in these situations. And each one hurts our health in its own way, which adds up over time.
You might not like all of the bad things that happen when you eat food you know is bad for you, but it’s hard to say no. The average American gets 62% of their calories from processed carbs and oils.
How come these foods are so bad for you?
If your stomach is the size of the average person’s, you can hold about one liter of food in it. About 3,000 calories would be in your stomach if it was full of high-calorie foods like meat and cheese.
When you think that a liter of fruits and vegetables only has 200 to 500 calories, it’s easy to see why so many people are overweight and have health problems. But what about the energy that tasty burger gives us?
Well, it might give you energy, but it won’t give you any vitamins or minerals. Your health won’t be where you want it to be if you do that.
Keep this in mind. Calories, or energy, are given to us by fat, protein, and carbs. Nutrients, on the other hand, are the vitamins and minerals that make sure our bodies get the energy they need to work right.
People who are healthy eat foods with a lot of nutrients for each calorie.
A diet that is mostly made up of animal products is dangerous and can be very bad for your health. The best advice says that a diet based on plants is the healthiest and most nutritious way to eat. This is because plants are the best source of all of these vitamins and minerals.
Compare how many calories are in 100 grams of broccoli and 100 grams of steak. It has 2.2 mg of iron, 46 mg of magnesium, and 118 mg of calcium. On the other hand, there are 2 mg of calcium, 6 mg of magnesium, and 0.8 mg of iron in the steak.
When we talk about foods that are high in nutrients, it all comes down to this equation: Health = Nutrients/Calories. This is also known as “nutrient density.” A food is better for you if it has a higher number on this scale.
The best things are fruits, beans, legumes, and green vegetables. They range from 50 to 100 in terms of how many nutrients they have. On the other hand, refined sweets get a score of 0, while whole grains only get a score of 20.
People often say bad things about plant-based diets, but they can give you everything you need to live and more. For example, 51% of the protein in spinach. On the other hand, a cheeseburger only has up to 20% protein.
If you eat more natural foods, you can live longer, keep your body from getting sick, and lose weight.
You should also think about a plant-based diet for a lot of other reasons. When you eat unhealthy foods, your body can’t tell when it’s hungry. Some companies that make processed foods know this, and they use it against you to get you to eat more of their foods.
On the other hand, this is much better controlled by a better, more nutritious range of foods. A plant-based diet helped one man lose 333 pounds!
There is also evidence that some of the foods we’ve been talking about can lower the chance of getting cancer or even cure it.
So what should you eat instead of that cheeseburger, which hopefully no longer sounds so good?
Eat to Live is the name of both the book and the diet that the author suggests. It says that you should focus on eating as many green vegetables, beans, legumes, and fruits as you want, because your body will tell you when to eat more or less.
Try romaine lettuce, broccoli, Swiss chard, cabbage, kale, or collard greens as your green vegetable. Beans and legumes, like peas, are also great because they can help you lose weight and keep you from getting sick.
Lastly, fruits are an important part of a healthy diet. This is because they satisfy our natural sweet tooth and give us the nutrients we need to stay healthy and grow.back to menu ↑
Sample Meal on the Dr. Fuhrman Diet
- Breakfast: Two cups of oatmeal with one tablespoon ground flax seed, one banana, and one ounce of raisins, 1/2-cup of almond milk, soy milk, or skim milk.
- Lunch: A green salad with balsamic vinegar and one teaspoon olive oil, one cup of chickpeas, or vegetable soup and fresh fruit.
- Dinner: Stir-fried vegetables with tofu or steamed veggies with mushrooms and onions. (Yikes. This dinner is simply veggies. No wonder they want you to eat two pounds worth a day!)
When calling into the support line, a representative greeted me after about two minutes of staying on hold. To my surprise, a money back guarantee does not exist at all with Dr. Fuhrman’s Diet.
There are different levels of membership involved after purchasing the books and DVD’s, which will tack on additional costs every month. The Silver: $3.95 a month, which provides you recipes, health trackers and daily emails. The Gold: $5.95 a month, which provides you the above along with access to the form. It goes on from there with add-ons and embellishments. The cost for the book and DVD itself is $57.91.*back to menu ↑
The Science Behind Dr. Fuhrman Diet
Fuhrman’s claim that his diet plan works in the clinic is the most convincing thing he says about it. He writes that thousands of patients are living proof of this success, and out of hundreds of people who came to him with heart disease before starting his program, only one had to have surgery again and no one died of a heart attack.
There is almost certainly a lot of truth to this claim. Fuhrman’s diet doesn’t include any refined foods at all, not even vegetable oils. Instead, it focuses on foods that are high in important nutrients, like vitamin C and other water-soluble vitamins found in plant foods.
Since Fuhrman doesn’t let his patients add fats or oils, their bodies will make the fats they need from carbohydrates and other building blocks. The main fatty acid the body makes this way is called palmitate, and it is a saturated fatty acid.
The oil-rich whole foods he lets us eat are full of antioxidants that protect the small amount of polyunsaturated fat in them from damage caused by free radicals. The saturated fats that his patients’ bodies make are very stable and, because of this, also protect them.
Lipoproteins move through the blood and carry cholesterol, fat-soluble vitamins, and many other substances. Lipoproteins are not living cells, so they can’t make glutathione and the enzymes that are the cell’s main antioxidant defense system.
If oxidative damage to the lipoproteins in the blood can speed up heart disease, we can expect Fuhrman’s diet to offer a lot of protection.
Patients who are smart enough to spend their 10% of calories on very nutrient-dense animal foods like shellfish and liver, or who just listen to their bodies enough to cheat on the diet when they feel they need to, may be able to enjoy the benefits of this approach for a long time.
Still, there is likely to be a lot of selection bias in Fuhrman’s clinical experience. People who feel bad when they don’t eat animal products or who get eczema or hives when they eat too many fruits and vegetables aren’t likely to go to his office and agree to a plan that only has the foods that make them feel bad.
People who need nutrients from animals the most or can’t handle the foreign chemicals found in plants would have the least success with Fuhrman’s plan. These are also the people who are least likely to try it in the first place.
It will be interesting to see if Fuhrman can show that his diet works in a random sample of the population through a clinical trial. In 1995, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., a doctor who shared his views, published the results of a five-year study that used a low-fat vegetarian diet and the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs to bring cholesterol down to 150 mg/dL.
Twenty-two percent of those who started the intervention dropped out of the study within the first two years. Thirty-five percent of those who finished it did not agree to a follow-up analysis of their cardiovascular health. Only eleven of the twenty-two patients who started the trial were still in the final analysis.
In five of these eleven cases, the blocked blood vessels got better, one stayed the same, and four got worse. There was no control group because Esselstyn thought it was unethical to let the people he was taking care of eat a normal diet.
Many people would benefit from cutting out polyunsaturated oils and eating more antioxidants from whole plant foods. However, many people need vitamins B6 and B12, zinc, taurine, fat-soluble vitamins, and other nutrients that are found in animal foods in much larger amounts or in much more easily digestible forms.
Naturally, these different needs will lead to the different results that Esselstyn saw in his uncontrolled trial. For example, some people may have dropped out of the study because they were sick.
The solution is to drop the ideological opposition to animal products and recognize that both animal and plant products can be important parts of a healthy diet when they are in their natural state, produced in natural conditions, grown in well-cared-for soil, and prepared and eaten in the same way that our ancestors did for thousands of years.
Some people may do well on a diet that is mostly plant-based as long as they carefully use certain nutrient-dense animal products. However, this won’t work for most people.
Restricting polyunsaturated oils and giving the body the vitamins and minerals it needs to make its own antioxidant defenses would probably give us many of the benefits that Fuhrman sees in his practice and still let us enjoy the rich nutrition in traditional animal products.back to menu ↑
Do Dieters Lose Weight On Dr. Fuhrman’s Diet?
The founder is a doctor himself, but does that automatically make this a credible diet program? I think not. The strongest claim that Dr. Fuhrman’s program sits on the fact that he has had clinical success in his practice.
Nowhere on the website does it offer a valid explanation behind the science of the program before you buy it.* The program does not call the eating habits “vegetarian,” rather a nutrient-dense diet with a strong bias toward being completely plant based.
By eliminating meats, starches, and oils from your diet, you will lose weight. How you will feel at the end of the day is the million-dollar question. This is not a sustainable diet for long-term health, unless you are ready to change your eating habits for the rest of your life to become a vegetarian.
There is nothing wrong with being a vegetarian, but it is not for everyone! He advises everyone to eat two pounds of leafy vegetables a day, and reduce animal products to only 10 percent of your caloric intake for the day. I already know my body would go into major nutritional deficits with this plan. There are many mixed reviews, see below:
“So many of the same phrases were used repeatedly that I felt like I was reading and essay that required a set number of words. I will just eat more fruits and vegetables and forget this book.” Mildred*
“I am a Family Physician with a serious interest in helping prevent illness with nutrition and life style, just like Dr. Fuhrman. However, despite the fact that much of the diet he suggests is healthy I cannot recommend this book. I believe he overstates the research and misleads patients in dangerous ways.” H. Domke*
“I think Dr Fuhrman is wrong on so many levels. He contradicts almost every other healthy adviceIout today. I have no real confidence in him. I followed his first phase and my blood sugar levels went up.” A. Johnston *back to menu ↑
Is The Dr. Fuhrman Diet Easy To Follow?
The toughest change about this program is going to be switching over to a vegetarian diet. This program implements a life change, and it does not stop after a few weeks. It truly depends on the mindset of the person doing the diet, because there are folks who would have a hard time going completely vegetarian and vice versa.
Because it is a natural program that involves real foods, the side effects are going to vary from person to person. He is not offering a dangerous supplement of any sort, nor does he recommend them in his books, so that’s at least good news.
There are a number of problems one could face when switching to a plant-based diet, such as malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, low energy, and irritability. For this reason, the book may be harder to follow and more unrealistic to stay with long term than other diet programs.back to menu ↑
Dr. Fuhrman Diet social media accounts had daily activity from their followers, and the company itself put out meaningful content. There were an adequate number of shares involved, which was helpful in terms of support for those following the diet. The book can be purchased on Amazon, aside from the Dr. Fuhrman website, which was refreshing to see.
To wrap it up, Dr. Fuhrman Diet is not sustainable for the long term. With a plant-based diet, it will leave some severely malnourished of proper vitamins and minerals that proteins provide.* It may work for some, but not all.
The sustainability of this diet is in question as well, as many people are not going to be able to live on rabbit food their whole lives. I personally lived with a vegetarian, and the amount of time it takes to prepare food was outrageous.
Get ready to spend hours prepping food and still not feel full at the end of it. I would not take the time personally and financially to try Dr. Fuhrman’s program. To put a cherry on top, you take all of the risk purchasing this product, because they have a NO MONEY BACK GUARANTEE! Yikes.