Recently the publisher of Dr. Douglass Graham’s book, The 80/10/10 Diet (80% Carbohydrate / 10% Protein / 10% Fat) sent me a copy with the request to review it. For years I had heard rumblings of the plan and the wild popularity of 80/10/10 forums, but hadn’t had the chance to properly research it and learn the details of the plan.
I found the book very interesting. It is Dr. Graham’s contention that it is not natural for humans to eat meat.
Put a child in a room with a lamb and a banana. Note which one he plays with and which one he eats.
I am sure that many of you have been presented with the biological evidence that humans were not designed to eat meat (our teeth are not sharp enough, our digestive tract is too long, our tongues are not rough, etc.), so Dr. Graham’s inclusion of that information within the book was not news to me, however much of the 3 pages of Humans vs. Carnivore evidence was evidence I had not yet heard.
Dr. Graham’s analogy below makes sense intuitively:
“We do not salivate at the idea of crushing the life out of a rabbit with our bare hands and teeth, and the thought of eating one in a freshly killed state is repulsive. We certainly do not enjoy chewing on bones, gristle, entrails, chunks of raw fat and flesh, and the hair and vermin that inevitably accompany them. We cannot imagine slurping hot blood, getting it all over our faces, hands, and bodies. These behaviors are alien to our natural disposition…”
Dr. Graham believes that humans were designed to eat food in its natural state, food that naturally appeals to humans. When we smell a ripe mango or peach at the peak of freshness, our mouths water…the same does not hold true for the carcass of a freshly killed animal.
“How does one determine the correct food for any given creature?…The answer is relatively simple…[O]ffer the creature different types of food in their whole natural state. That which it was designed for, it would eat. It would likely ignore all the other items, not even considering them as food.”
This leads us to wonder just what humans would eat if they were to find it in nature. According to the example above, it would be food that requires very little (if any) preparation. Our bodies also require simple sugars to function optimally. With all of that in mind, Dr. Graham makes the case that humans were designed to subsist primarily on fruit.
According to Dr. Graham we were not designed to eat grass, weeds, leaves, stalks, and stems because we do not secrete the proper enzymes needed to digest these foods. We do however possess what it takes to digest tender leafs and greens.
Then comes the subject of starches; grains (grass seeds), roots and tubers, and legumes. Reading Dr. Graham’s book, Grain Damage, has been (and still is) on my “To Do List,” so it was fortunate for me that Dr. Graham touches on his dislike of grains within The 80/10/10 Diet.
Harkening back to his assertion that we were designed to eat foods in their natural state, Dr. Graham contends that grains “grow in a form that we can neither chew nor digest.”
Starchy roots and tubers grow below ground. Most humans do not salivate at the thought of dirt like animals that grub for tubers do. Many roots and tubers can certainly be eaten raw and I am a fan of raw jicama, carrots, yams, and beets (the naturally sweet roots and tubers), I have a much harder time wanting to eat raw potatoes, parsnips, turnips, and rutabagas.
When discussing legumes Dr. Graham states that “legumes in their mature state are indigestible and/or toxic to most mammals.” I was not aware that mature legumes were “toxic” and need to research his assertion further. I do however know from experience that if I do not soak legumes prior to cooking them I experience painful bloating and gas. Even after soaking legumes it is common to experience gas on some level…which makes me wonder if his theory is true.
In the book Dr. Graham continues on and discusses his views on other food sources such as fermented foods and dairy along with nuts, seeds, and other high fat plants.
I want to quickly mention that within the book Dr. Graham goes into detail about the fact that most raw foodists in his opinion rely on fat heavily in their diet. I share his opinion that most raw food diets are HEAVY in natural plant fats and that aspect of their diet is not healthy and will in fact result in an increase in one’s body fat percentage which is generally undesirable…most people want to reduce their body fat, not increase it.
Ultimately it is Dr. Grahams opinion that humans are what he calls Frugivores and our optimal diet would consist primarily of fruit with the addition of tender leaves and greens which “[P]rovide minerals and other nutrients essential essential for optimum nutrition and health.”
Since reading The 80/10/10 Diet I have attempted to avoid grains and have been really happy with the results. After eliminating grains for 2 weeks I had some rice with dinner and experienced painful bloating within 20-30 minutes. I was shocked by how quickly my body reacted to eating brown rice.
Since I tend to see my body as an experiment of sorts and I am always trying to find the ultimate formula for it to run as efficiently as possible, I am interested in trying the 80/10/10 Diet. My hesitation in doing so is that this diet is so different than that of my immediate family. I enjoy “sharing” meals with them and fear that eating the 80/10/10 way would diverge from their meals so drastically.
While Dr. Graham suggests that people give the 80/10/10 diet a 1 year trial, I plan on starting by giving it a shorter trial when my children go to visit their Auntie. I am interested in seeing the results. If I like the results then I am confident I can follow the plan for breakfast and lunch (which I have been doing for the most part since reading the book) with some modifications to my dinner meal.
I will most definitely report back with the results. I have read many accounts of the diet’s followers improving their athletic performance and recovery and I can’t wait to see if I share their experience athletically. Dr. Graham is a specimen of athletic ability and he is not a kid anymore (he will be 60 in March 2013)!!!
Along the same lines this diet is purported to help lower body fat percentage while maintaining lean muscle mass. Since eating the 80/10/10 diet for breakfast and lunch my personal body fat percentage has dropped 2%. I will of course track my body fat percentage when I do the 80/10/10 Diet one week trial.
In theory Dr. Graham’s book makes sense to me. I am excited to put the plan into practice…even if it is for only one week. While Dr. Graham is a believer in raw foods, with my thyroid issues, any cruciferous vegetables that I eat will be cooked.
Here is the quick break-down of the diet –
- 90-97% sweet and non-sweet fruits
- 2-6% tender, leafy greens and celery
- 0-8% from everything else (other vegetables like cabbage, and broccoli, plus fatty fruits, nuts, and seeds)
Have any of you attempted eating this way? If it is a consideration for you, I recommend reading the book because it goes into great detail about the plan, provides sample meals, recipes, and other necessary resources.
Click HERE to read Dr. Graham’s interview with Chic Vegan.