Dr. Fuhrman Diet Review

Dr. Fuhrman Diet Review

By CANDICE GREY

ConsumersCompare.org

Update: Dec 27, 2022

7.2 Out of 10
Dr. Fuhrman Diet Review
Dr. Fuhrman Diet Review

Overview

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.

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.

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The Three Lessons of Dr. Fuhrman Nutritarian Diet

Lesson 1

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.

Lesson 2

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.

Lesson 3

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.

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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.*

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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.

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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 *

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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.

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Conclusion

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.

7.2 Total Score
Dr. Fuhrman Diet Scorecard

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14 Comments
  1. By following Dr. Fuhrman’s ideas, I have finally been able to break through a weight plateau and continue to lose weight. I love this way of eating and my health has improved dramatically. I no longer take any medicines and my family practice physician is amazed at my good health.

  2. I bought Dr. Fuhrman’s book and I am a diabetic…I do need to eat more veggies and I have to be careful with fruit, my sugars have been good. Today a little higher, but I think I ate too much fruit. I don’t eat a lot of meat, but I do like a steak or beef at least once a week, I try and opt for grass fed. Dr. Fuhrman does have 3 stages of the diet you can choose. Stage one does indicate you can have meats 3 to 4 times a week. I think the reviewer didn’t read his book, or all his books, I think I read the 2nd book, eat for health. so you can add meats, chicken, turkey, just limit them and sweet potato’s , brown rice, just limit. I have been on it 5 days lost a pound, but clothes are much looser. I think its a wonderful plan and you can specify it to your individual tastes. I think everyone who has health issues should read his book. There is a lot of good information. And, anyone can follow some of it if you don’t want to go extreme. As he says start off slowly, eat more salads, every day and see if it fits into your lifestyle, I am Italian and use a lot of Olive oil than I should, I have cut down on it Fat is still fat, even if its a good fat. Like Avocado’s . I would not put this in a fad category like some books that I have read. Dr. Fuhrman is on to something good. And if you feel like deviating a little, as long as its limited, its all good.

  3. I have been A Vegan, 2/3 raw food for five decades. Food preparing does not take long,if alcohol and food factory produced is avoided even allowing for a good food state multivitamin mineral supplement such a way of eating is not expensive. I would suggest following Dr Greger,nutrition.org will give all the advice needed without the cost of Fuhrman membership. The mostly profit orientated USA ‘born again’ diet evangelists sadly put off understandably sceptical people.

  4. Dr. Fuhrman’s diet is not a vegetarian diet, he has done an excellent job of providing different levels of the program for all kinds of people. He stresses that for prevention of disease to minimize your meat intake, and he is RIGHT. ..you must read all of his books. He is a very successful motivator and supporter of a better way of life for all people.

  5. I did follow Dr Fuhrman’s diet; I bought his books, and watched him on utube. I did lose the weight, and I wasn’t hungry once I got off the sugar, fat etc. I was able to keep it off, and gradually added some meat in. I have continued the large salads, and fruits and vegetables. I feel I am much healthier. I saw my blood pressure go down drastically on this diet, as well as my weight.

    Recently with stress and the hoidays, I have gained some weight, but am going back on Dr Furhman’s food plan again.

  6. I did independent research in nutrition, using the head database and bioavailability studies for a few years, wrote an app and created a website with recipes, eat them, lost weight to good levels, saw blood tests get better like ten years before. Then I came across Dr Fuhrmans “Super Immunity” book. He basically described the same diet with Cockrane Institute Studies to back it all up. It is the most scientifically supported diet I’ve yet to come across. What’s this nonsense about not getting nutrients if there’s no animal protein. Plants make all the amino acids we need for all of our protein needs. These amino acids literally come from plants. Vitamin B12, D, choline and sometimes some essential fatty acids are the top things to check if you are eating vegan, nutritarian. Choline is the most overlooked nutrient, and deficiency leads to weight gain, high blood pressure, fatty liver which can progress eventually to liver cancer. But if you pay attention, you can get enough choline.

  7. I was very disappointed in his 10 in 20 “detoxification” book. I would gain weight if I ate this meal plan. When detoxing you are not to mix fruit with other foods, let alone eat any white flour substances such as pita and tortillas. This is not true detoxification. This is a plant-based diet with average recipes that you can find anywhere. Lose 10 in 20 is a marketing pitch.

  8. Reply
    Dr Louis Nordeen May 7, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    If you are think this is a diet, then you have missed the point entirely. This is a life style change, and is designed to prolong your life using scientific factual evidence of plant dominant, not just plant based, lifestyle, that is not to be changed once you start it. It costs over a book cost however your food cost that set, you can by other supplements or other additive things, I do, but don’t subscriber prescribed anything specifically so as not a dietary sign up for, but information from an excellent position on how to overcome chronic problems such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and to finally live a lifestyle where we don’t even have to have these problems, had work for long periods of time and utilized and the clots and and the healthy doing it without having to see doctors or be on medication. That’s about it is. I prescribed this for my patients and I do this also. The idea that is a diet to try and then maybe grade on his ridiculous, it takes many years to master-but you know really care anyway because you doing this for your life, you are in a long-haul-that is the idea. Does that make sense now-YOU, not Dr. Fuhrman, have to do it, he just gives you the ideas and evidence, and inspiration-by the way, he does this all day every day and walks the walk. This is very unusual for my fellow doctors-most are awful at real health-go figure…..this is by far the best way to go, and when you work at it-you get better and better and see the light, and do NOT need medications! So great!!!!! I am 4 years in now, as a Physician, this lifestyle is miles ahead of the curve. NOT A DIET, BUT A: Drumroll please-permanent lifestyle change…..Good Luck, and God Bless!

  9. I watched a pbs program of Dr. Furhman and his diet. I thought to myself just eat more vegatables and some fruit.
    I went on his program for one year and lost 60 lbs. That was 7 years ago and I have kept all of that weight off.
    I was not perfect. I ate two meals a week of foods I wanted, ham, eggs, toast for breakfast or a burger fries if I was craving.
    What I can tell you is everything he describes in his books was true for me.
    This is the ONLY plan I ever went on where I kept the weight off.
    Give it a chance to change your taste nuds and your life.

  10. This article gives baseless arguments about the program causing “nutrient-deficiencies.” It seems there’s a biased issue against being vegetarian. The whole article gives no scientific evidence to the shameless arguments put forth… leaving the client with nutrient deficiencies? Are animal products known for nutrient-density? Can it possibly be that cooked animal proteins be of higher biological quality than plant proteins? The author of this article is obviously upset about something.

  11. I went on this diet and lost 70 pounds. I have kept it off for two years and have not followed it perfectly. My A1C is in the target range and i feel a lot better. It’s hard to follow if you aren’t dedicated but if you can be serious it works just like he says.

  12. Have enjoyed his diet for several years, not to lose weight, but to eat healthy. Weight loss is an added benefit. I wish everyone would eat this way and obesity would disappear and health costs would be drastically reduced.

  13. Obviously someone did not read the entire book. Dr. Fuhrman addressed the protein in vegetables that most of us are not aware of. The research of over 20 years by multiple scientists, worldwide, agrees, less protein, more fruits and vegetables for everyone who wants a longer healthspan AND lifespan. It’s not a conspiracy theory. When people don’t hear what they want, they keep looking, as he states. If you want to be healthy, educate yourself, and then make a knowledgeable choice for yourself and family. The book is over 10 years old, so there are further developments. I will check them out. You would be wise to read his book that addresses not just food but lifestyle and everything else pertaining to a healthy body. It is not a “diet” in the old sense of the word. It addresses the harmful effects of foods introduced over the past 50 years and the sedentary lifestyle that leads to disease and early death. Don’t despair. There is much you have control over!

  14. I don’t think anyone who has read “The End of Dieting” would ever follow any other approach unless they are self-destructive. Dr. Fuhrman’s approach is the only healthful way to lose weight quickly, without cravings, without walking around feeling hungry and without gaining all the weight back and more, as research consistently shows takes place with every weight loss diet. This is not a weight-loss diet. It’s a delicious lifetime eating plan for superior health and freedom from excess body fat.

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