The Diet

The Perfect Health Diet

Here’s our Perfect Health Diet food plate:

PHD_Apple_plate cropped

NOTE: This is our new food plate, updated 2015. Foreign translations of the original food plate may be found here.

We recommend:

  • About 3 pounds [1.4 kg] of plant foods per day, including:
    • About 1 pound [0.45 kg] of safe starches, such as white rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and taro;
    • About 1 pound [0.45 kg] of sugary in-ground vegetables (such as beets or carrots), fruits, and berries;
    • Low-calorie vegetables to taste, including fermented vegetables and green leafy vegetables.
  • One-half to one pound [0.25 to 0.5 kg] per day of meat or fish, which should include organ meats, and should be drawn primarily from:
    • ruminants (beef, lamb, goat);
    • birds (especially duck and wild or naturally raised birds);
    • Shellfish and freshwater and marine fish.
  • Low omega-6 fats and oils from animal or tropical plant sources, to taste. Good sources include:
    • butter, sour cream, beef tallow, duck fat;
    • coconut milk or oil
    • palm oil, palm kernel oil, olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut butter, almond butter, cashew butter
  • Acids to taste, especially citric acid (lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice), lactic acid from fermented or pickled vegetables, vinegars, tannic acids from wine, and tomatoes.
  • Broths or stocks made from animal bones and joints.
  • Snacks or desserts from our pleasure foods: fruits and berries, nuts, alcohol, chocolate, cream, and fructose-free sweeteners like dextrose or rice syrup.

By weight, the diet works out to about 3/4 plant foods, 1/4 animal foods. By calories, it works out to about 600 carb calories, primarily from starches; around 300 protein calories; and fats supply a majority (50-60%) of daily calories.

In the shadow of the apple are foods forbidden because of their high toxin content. Notably:

  • Do not eat cereal grains — wheat, barley, oats, corn — or foods made from them — bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, oatmeal. The exception is white rice, which we count among our “safe starches.” Rice noodles, rice crackers, and the like are fine, as are gluten-free foods made from a mix of rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch.
  • Do not eat calorie-rich legumes. Peas and green beans are fine. Soy and peanuts should be absolutely excluded. Beans might be acceptable with suitable preparation, but we recommend avoiding them.
  • Do not eat foods with added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Do not drink anything that contains sugar: healthy drinks are water, tea, and coffee.
  • Polyunsaturated fats should be a small fraction of the diet (~4% of total calories). To achieve this, do not eat seed oils such as soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, or the like.

We highly recommend certain foods for their micronutrients. These include liver, kidney, egg yolks, seaweeds, shellfish, fermented vegetables, and bone broths.

We also recommend augmenting the diet with certain supplements. See our Supplement Recommendations page. These nutrients are deficient in modern diets due to removal of minerals from drinking water by treatment, depletion of minerals from soil by agriculture, or modern lifestyles that deprive us of vitamin D by indoor living.

We recommend tweaking the diet for certain diseases. Neurological disorders often benefit from a diet that is ketogenic; other conditions may benefit from lower carb diets. These variations are discussed in the book:

See the “Buy the Book” page for other purchase options.

Leave a comment ?


  1. I didn’t think I was confused before…aren’t the sugary plants the same as starches in most cases? For instance, if I have a 4 oz serving of meat, then a half of a sweet potatoe with butter, and maybe some broccoli…would you say I need something else on my plate barring fermented veggies?

    • Sweet potatoes are a special case in that they have both starch and sugar, so they are a hybrid. But fruits and beets are all sugar, and potatoes and rice are all starch.

      A half a sweet potato is very little. Two sweet potatoes would be more like it.

      • As I understand it, there is no difference between starch and sugar, as far as your body is concerned.

        • So your body does not handle differently table sugar or white rice?

          • That’s right. Starch is just a bunch of sugars strung together and it breaks down fairly quickly, once in your digestive tract, even in your mouth. I believe it takes a bit longer for some starches to break down and thus be absorbed as sugar but starchy foods (white and brown rice included) are mostly sugar.

            This is something I’m having a hard time getting to grips with, I must admit. However, I eat no refined sugars (except what gets fermented in kefir soda), so the odd bit of rice, sweet potato or sourdough bread doesn’t worry me too much (yet).

        • Starch > Glucose
          Sugar > Glucose & Fructose

          • Good point, Darren. It caused me to check some sources and I’m a little confused by conflicting advice and guidance, on this.

            I’ll have to study this a bit more.

          • You are oversimplifying this, Darrin.

            Starches are complex carbohydrates. Digestible starches are broken down by your our bodies’ digestive enzymes, typically to glucose, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream. This process begins in the mouth. Saliva contains amylase, an enzyme that can break down the amylose in starch – you can test this most easily by munching on a small bit of white bread for a few minutes without swallowing it. After a couple of minutes, the taste turns sweet, as a significant part of the starch is turned into glucose courtesy of the amylase enzyme. Also called dextrose, glucose (or grape sugar) is a simple sugar that also occurs naturally in e.g. fruits and honey.

            There are many other sugars, including simple sugars like fructose (fruit sugar) and galactose, and complex sugars such as lactose (milk sugar) or sucrose (table sugar) etc. On a molecular level, complex sugars are combinations of simple sugars. For example, table sugar is a so-called disaccharide combination of glucose and fructose, i.e. its molecules are made up of glucose and fructose units joined by a chemical bond. Our digestive enzymes can break up this bond, making it possible for our bodies to metabolise both the glucose and the fructose – in completely different ways. Fructose is beneficial in small amounts but can be toxic in larger quantities. Glucose is not technically toxic even in very large amounts, but a constant overload can wreak havoc with your hormonal homeostasis, particularly insulin production and sensitivity.

          • “You are oversimplifying this, Darrin”
            Very true. That was my intention.

          • to clarify i probably should have defined my use of the term sugar in my simplistic comment;
            Starch > Glucose
            Sugar > Glucose & Fructose

            i was using the ‘classic’ definition of sugar, ie. sucrose, 50% glucose, 50% fructose.

        • from pg. 94 of PHD (paraphrasing) Eating Sugar Instead of Starch Is Not Smart- Sugars probably due to fructose toxicity, are more dangerous than starches. Starch based foods do not cause weight gain and metabolic syndrome like sugar based foods.

      • Paul –
        I understand what you mean by saying, “potatoes and rice are all starch;” (i.e. that they do not contain significant amounts of sugar) but some people might misunderstand it to mean they are 100% starch. You know this is not the case but some readers may not be aware of this. So, just to clarify, cooked rice is about 28% starch and boiled potato flesh is less than 20% starch. (For this reason, perhaps it would be best to call them “safe starch sources” rather than “safe starches,”

      • That depends on the size—I often buy sweet potatoes that weigh a pound or more each, so half a sweet potato can actually be a generous serving.

  2. Are you sure just 2 TB of butter a day amount to 60% of your total daily calorie count?

    • Not sure who you are replying to, but fat is present in all foods so one can certainly get 50-60% of calories from fat while consuming just 2 tbsp butter per day.

    • Jorge – The 2 TB of butter that I mentioned is just the added fat. I also get fat from the meat that I eat and the eggs and I have some avocado (about 1/4 of an avocado) each day – avocados have lots of good fat and lots of vitamins and minerals. I need to lose a few pounds, so I restrict the added fat that I eat and limit that to 1TB of butter on each potato and/or 1 TB of olive oil for cooking.

  3. Paul, what is your uptake on mushrooms? I know they are allowed on PHD, but do you find them as nutritious and health-promoting as most health experts?

  4. This conversation is almost addressing something I’m always confused about in regards to PHD. What and how much to eat. Paul says
    “This is why suggest the rule of thumb – equal sizes on your plate of meat, starch, sugary plant, vegetable. That is sure to come very close to PHD proportions.”
    It sounds simple, but in application many questions come up. I wish there was a list of all foods that come into each category, abd how things are measured differently cooked or raw, and all the variants like egg yolk not whole egg.
    A sample meal is 4 oz meat, 1 whole sweet potato, 1 cup cooked sugary veg like carrots, 1 c other random veg like green beans.
    that just sounds like a ton of food 3x a day. Not counting random nuts or other snacks. I have always underate without meaning to, so part of the problem is my thinking. But I want to make sure my sample meal description is correct.

    • Jane – I’m not an expert, but this is what I eat. I hope you find it helpful. When I get up in the morning, I have 2 cups of coffee – just plain – no sugar and no cream.

    • Breakfast – 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks – scrambled in a non-stick pan with no added anything. 1 6-ounce baked potato with 1 TB of butter.

    • Lunch – 4 ounces of ground sirloin pan-fried in a non-stick fry pan with a shake of iodised salt. 8 ounces of steamed carrots. 1/4 of an avocado. 6 ounces of fresh blueberries.

      • Susan B, I like your approach and mine is very similar. But I gave away all of my expensive Calphalon nonstick last year due to health concerns. What type of nonstick pans are you using?

        The folks at Williams Sonoma are big on the Scan Pans but I haven’t done the research on their safety.

        Paul, have you or has anyone else looked into this (nonstick in general and Scan Pans specifically)? I pretty much stick to All Clad Stainless Steel and occasionally Le Creuset. I rarely use cast iron due to concerns about iron overload, but my cast iron is practically new so probably not a big deal a few times a year. But for cooking eggs, I could cut down on more fat by using nonstick if it doesn’t pose a health hazard. (And yes, I do realize that many people are not cooking their eggs and eating them straight like Susan B and I do, but rather putting them in soups, sauces, etc.)

        • We use non-stick woks for stovetop cooking – Analon and Calphalon are good. They will leach a bit but burnt food is a much bigger danger in my view.

          • Thanks Paul. Darn, I just gave away all my Calphalon too. I’m still going to research the Scan Pan to see why it’s supposed to be the safest. My understanding is that it’s not coated, but rather a solid material all the way thru.

          • How about Green Pan / Thermalon Rocks? Or is that just another name for the ones you use, Paul?

        • I use non-stick fry pans to cook my scrambled eggs and to pan fry meats in order to use less fat – as you guessed. I have read the concerns about non-stick pans and use my stainless steel fry pans when possible. The non-stick fry pans that I am using at the moment are made by Cuisinart – they are called “Green Gourmet” and they are ceramic coated. They make them in both aluminum and stainless steel versions – both with the ceramic coating I believe. I don’t remember all of the details. I got them at Bed Bath and Beyond, but Amazon also has them. They were reasonably priced for a Cuisinart product.

    • Supper – 4 ounces of boneless/skinless chicken breast (broiled or grilled or sauteed with a little olive oil. 6 ounce sweet potato with 1 TB of butter (OR 1 cup of cooked white rice with 1 TB of butter) Then I have EITHER a salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, mushrooms, etc. OR I have some steamed broccoli or cauliflower or some other vegetable.

    • On a daily basis, I aim for roughly:

      12 ounces of protein (beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, eggs)

      12 ounces of safe starch (potato, sweet potato, white rice)

      12 ounces of “sugary” foods (beets, carrots, fruit)

      12 ounces of other vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes, brussels sprouts, lettuce, cucumbers, tomato, mushrooms, peppers, etc.)

      2 TB of added fat (butter, olive oil, coconut oil)

      plus I eat 1/4 of an avocado each day

      and drink lots of water

      • How many cups is 12oz of starch or veggies? I tend to eyeball them that way. I know 4 oz of meat or chicken is like a deck of cards.
        I agree with Sienna – PHD is way too many calories for me – 63 yr old female 5’2″- my maintainence calorie consumption is 1200 Cal and about 1050 to 1100 net calories (what I eat minus what I burn off with exercise). I know this by having tracked my food intake ((PHD with 8 hr eating window) and exercise on My Fitness Pal for 6 months. And that is on the PHD supplement recommendations too!

        • Donna – I’m 69 yrs old 5’6″ and that’s why I adjusted my quantities to 12 ounces of each category. If truth be told, I probably eat closer to 12 ounces of meat/fish/poultry, 12 ounces of safe starch, 8 – 10 ounces of sugary vegs/fruits and 8 ounces of “other” vegetables. It varies somewhat, but the 12 ounces of meat/fish/poultry and 12 ounces of safe starch I stick to daily. The other 2 categories can range from 8 ounces to 12 ounces per day depending on what vegetables I choose and how hungry I am. I eyeball most things now instead of measuring or weighing, but in the beginning, I weighed everything. I found a nice small digital food scale on Amazon that is perfect for this. It’s the MIRA Digital Food Scale, Slim, Multi-Function for $17.95. It’s flat and lightweight and small and works perfectly. Now, I rarely weigh things because the foods that I eat regularly – like a potato – I know what a 6 ounce potato looks like.

          • Thanks, Susan. I started to track my calories etc.on My Fitness Pal because I couldn’t believe how little I can eat to not gain weight. And it confirmed that it is about 1050-1100 net calories for just maintaining my weight, let alone losing weight!

    • And… I had asked Paul the same question a couple of weeks ago…. as to whether weights are before or after cooking. Paul said that the weights are about the same before and after cooking if you cook with gently methods as recommended. The exception is white rice – that should be weighed after cooking because it absorbs water as it cooks.

    • and… last thing….

      I do not snack. 3 meals a day…. other than that…. drink water. And… I don’t eat nuts or anything else not in the 4 categories of protein, safe starch, sugary vegs/fruits and other vegetables. And absolutely no processed food. Only whole natural food. I don’t eat grains, legumes, vegetable oil, added sugar, dairy or anything that comes in a box or jar or can. 🙂 Real food. Unprocessed food. Only !!!

    • I agree with you, Jane. I have a feeling I’m under eating starches, but certainly don’t feel like I could eat a whole potato in one sitting along with the rest of the food. I feel like the PHD was written for men. I’d love to have some basic guidelines for a pre-diabetic, non-overweight woman. Something like a sample menu with meals for two meal days and for three meal days. And with weighted amounts (like 5 oz baked potato) since that’s the easiest to follow if you have a small scale. The menu in the book just doesn’t work for me.

      • Sienna – I thought the same thing before I got started. But a 6 ounce Russet potato for baking is not that big. I have a small food scale that I used for the first few weeks so that I could visualize what a 6 ounce potato looked like. It is not one of those huge baking potatoes that you usually see in the grocery store. My local Whole Foods sells small Russet potatoes that are just about 6 ounces each. Most of the larger baking potatoes are closer to 12 ounce and.. I agree… I could not eat one of those with the rest of the food in my meal. I weighed everything at first… now I know by looking at it.. how much I have to eat to meet my personal goal of 12 oz of protein, 12 oz of safe starch, 12 oz of “sugary” vegetables/fruits and 12 oz of other vegetables each day.

        For my daily 12 ounces of safe starches, I have one 6 ounce baked potato at one meal and then usually 1 to 1 1/4 cups cooked white rice at another meal… and that’s my 12 ounces of safe starches for the day.

        • Hello Susan,

          It is really helpful to get a sample from another woman. I am just curious, I see you eat butter, but do you do any other kind of dairy such as kefir, yogurt or cheese? I have given up all wheat and legumes and I eat very few nuts. But dairy is definitely still a part of my life. I have kefir for breakfast, I use plain yogurt on my potatoes and I snack on cheese once a day. I have gained a few lbs, so I am cutting back on my cheese:)

          Also, outside of fats you get from meat, you only add 2 TBs a day? Have you noticed a difference in your weight? Energy?


          • Hi Pat – Right now, the only dairy that I eat is butter. I used to eat a lot of yogurt, cottage cheese, and regular cheeses. But they don’t like me anymore for some reason. They seem to give me sinus congestion and make my lifelong eczema on my hands flare up, so I have given up all dairy except for butter which does not give me any problems. And.. yea… outside of fats in the foods that I eat (like meat and avocaco), I only use 2 TB of added fat. I have lots of energy and I am seeing a slow, gradual and healthy bit of weight loss. I have about 20 pounds to lose and I prefer to do that slowly while eating the right amounts and kinds of foods. I have only been doing PHD for about 4 weeks, so the weight loss is a work in progress 😎

        • Susan,

          Four weeks! You seem to have a really good grip on PHD. Paul provides such amazing and in depth information, sometimes I forget and have to go back and reread various parts. I am going to use your sample meal plan and try to get down on some of my dairy, see what results I get.


          • Hi Pat,

            It is easy for me to do because I had been on/again off/again trying to do Paleo/Primal for the past 2 years and never could stick with it. I was craving carbs…mostly sugar.. but also bread and pasta. I just could not stick to Paleo/Primal.

            PHD is the “tweak” that I needed. It has many similarities to Paleo/Primal in that you don’t eat grains or legumes or vegetable oils or processed foods.

            But the “key” that was missing for me in Paleo/Primal that I have found in PHD is the addition of “safe” starches. Having 12 – 16 ounces… daily… of baked potato or baked sweet potato or white rice has made my cravings for sugar (desserts) and wheat (bread and pasta) disappear.

            So it only took tweaking the Paleo/Primal to get to PHD.

            And I have had no trouble sticking to PHD for the past 4 weeks because of the inclusion of the safe starches. That was what I was missing on Paleo/Primal !!!

      • If a whole potato is too much, you know it. Four ounces of meat at a time? Huh-uh. I am with you. Paul has addressed this, as well. He says just follow the proportions if the quantity is too much. Your appetite is an important guide.

        • Susan B. I totally agree with you about the potatoes and rice taking away the cravings for sugar. I have never done the Paleo diet (although I have seen a lot about it on this page). I have always had an uncontrollable craving for sweets, eating potato or rice every day has taken that away almost completely.

    • Jane, do you have the PHD book? A lot of this info is in the book, although I had to read it a few times and I still refer back to it often and reread sections — it is so jam packed with information. Aside from their supplemental foods and vitamins/mineral/other recommendations, I think they suggest that the idea is to keep things proportional in terms of the apple diagram/plate, with plant based foods comprising approx 75% or more of the volume intake. The exact daily amounts of the proportions (i.e., .5, .75 or 1.0 lb) depend upon taste preferences, body size/activity, appetite, whether or not you’re trying to lose, maintain or gain weight, etc. For example, a petite woman who does intermittent fasting and is trying to lose weight may only hit .5+ each. Anyway, that’s what I’ve gleaned from reading the book, comments and info on this website, and posting questions.

      As far as the fat intake, my recollection from the book is that for those of us trying to lose weight, he suggests limiting added fat to 2T daily (vs the 4T daily general guideline) and to possibly trim excess fats from meats. Many foods that we consume on PHD contain healthy fats like animal foods and some seafood, egg yolks, dairy, nuts, avocado, etc. It sounds like that’s why Susan B limits her intake to 2T of butter/olive oil.

      I’m glad that someone asked about whether the eggs are included in the daily protein target. I’ve always wondered about that, and for that matter, the 1/4 lb of weekly liver too, though I’d not seen that addressed directly until now. But I’ve always assumed that both were included.

      Paul, thanks for clarifying the egg white issue too. I eat 3 very fresh 100% pastured and organic eggs daily, but I’m going to start cutting back on the whites. I like the approach that Susan B takes, just consuming 1 white.

      • Susan – Yes, that’s why I limit my added fat to 2TB daily. I’m trying to lose a few pounds.

        I also was eating 3 organic pastured eggs daily, but after reading Paul’s recommendation to eliminate the whites and eat the yolks only, I have gone to the 1 whole egg plus 2 additional yolks idea. I need the 1 white of the egg to make my scrambled eggs an acceptable consistency. 3 yolks doesn’t work well for scrambled eggs 🙂

        • Maybe it’s different for different people but I lost a fair bit of weight, even though it wasn’t really necessary, and I didn’t, and don’t, limit my fat at all (apart from no vegetable oils except olive oil and coconut oil, of course).

          • Uh, Tony, no offense meant here, but I do think it’s a different story for (most) women. IMHO/personal experience, and in opposition to current popular paleo-esque opinion, calories DO matter, and fat is the most calorie dense food category.

          • pg. 394 of PHD on weight loss- 500 carb calories, 300 protein calories, 500 fat calories (from food sources) is the minimum caloric intake for proper nourishment.

          • David – yes, I read that! Yet, I gain weight on anything more than 1200 Calories! As you can imagine, I have to eat a very careful, nutrient dense IF, PHD diet!

          • OK, Susan. I guess it’s more complicated than I thought. But I will say that my wife is eating the same as me and she also lost weight and is keeping it down. We both eat a lot of saturated fat.

          • Actually, I don’t know if this is relevant to anyone here but I was listening to a researcher talking about probiotics and faecal transplants. Concerning the latter, it’s possible to populate parts of the gut with biota from someone (an athlete maybe) who is particularly efficient at digesting food. This can lead to the person receiving the transplant being too efficient at extracting calories from food and so have trouble with weight.

  5. Paul,

    You mean two sweet potatoes at one meal of I skip sugary veggies? I would definitely not be practicing hara hachi bu with that much sweet potato! I love your diet, but also struggle with amounts of food as it’s not that intuitive for me. About 4 oz of protein per meal is all I can stomach…and sometimes I take protein in the form of cottage cheese. I also eat cooked and raw veggies freely. I think it is the amount of fruit/starch/sugary veggies spread out over the day that is confusing. Which I am sure, if others are like me, they might not eat 3 square meals. I start out with kefir in the morning, but need to wait an hour before I have eggs and use fruit as a snack. At this pace my eating window is shorter, and I am not going to stuff myself at dinner to get all my nutrients or I will make myself sick. At the end of the day, I know I have not eaten everything I am suppose to eat, but I know I am much further ahead than the typical American diet.


  6. Yes, I just read that too a few days ago about the whites. I don’t know if I’m AI, but my doctor hasn’t yet ruled it out. At age 56 with definite gut issues, I think it’s prudent for me to at least reduce them. I like my eggs sunny side up, so I’ll probably just cook as is and toss the cooked whites. Thanks for sharing and being so helpful!

  7. Please can you advise me? I’ve been following Paleo for around 9 months now but I became interested in PHD and am currently reading the UK edition of your book which I’m finding most informative. I can’t however find an answer to this question: Are seeds such as Flax,chai,poppy,psyllium and sesame safe for PHD? I have been using a combination of them to make crackers in my dehydrator and I eat them most days instead of bread for my lunch. Prior to that I was making bread from cashew nut butter and coconut flour. Is this acceptable on PHD please?

  8. Is it ok to have protein powder derived from a pea/rice blend? Also a protein powder derived from grass fed beef? Which is best or are both ok? Sometimes after I work out I want to do a protein shake. Also I read a while back that its not good to scramble eggs because it hydrogenates the yolks. Is that still true? Thanks!

  9. Hi,

    A question about quasi-fasting for autophagy. I need something to help me through the morning, in the last few hours of a 16 hr fast. So I’ve been having a small serve of cucumber and a heaped tablespoon of coconut oil. I can’t stomach the oil on its own. Will the cucumber halt autophagy?

    • Renee,

      I hate coconut oil straight, it literally gags me. So I switched to MCT oil. As far as. I know, recommends that as we’ll as it has the same benefits being that it is medium chain fatty acids. There is literally no taste.


      • I agree both about coconut oil and MCT oil. I can drink down the recommended 2T without any trouble. It’s a little greasy on the lips, but a glass of water takes care of that.

      • How about eating the coconut oil with 1 square of 90% dark chocolate?

        • Thanks for the replies. I’d welcome an opinion on whether that small amount of cucumber would halt autophagy. I seem to need that small amount of fibre to ‘carry’ the oil. Paul, could you weigh in?

        • Thanks for the replies. I’d welcome an opinion on whether that small amount of cucumber would halt autophagy. I seem to need that small amount of fibre to ‘carry’ the oil. I don’t imagine the cucumber would have enough substance to interrupt the fast. Paul, could you weigh in?

  10. Paul,

    What brand/s of olive oil do you use or recommend? I’m just wondering because with all news about some brands not fully being olive oil, it’s hard to know which to choose.

    • 100%. Cold pressed. If it is a mix of oils, the bottle will say “olive oil flavored” or something similar.

    • This may not be feasible for you, but I buy mine at my farmers market from local vendors who are micro producers who I know and trust. Then again I’m in California where they’re grown, so I’m lucky that we have many good ones. But I also read an article recently about national brand olive oil brands that are safe/reliable. Pretty sure you could Google and find it quickly.

  11. What about protein powder?

  12. Paul,

    When you suggest eating about 1 pound of safe starch sources such as white rice – is that cooked or uncooked weight? Given that 1lb of uncooked dry rice is an enormous quantity, I assume you mean the former (cooked).

  13. Help!! My head is spinning, can anyone help me figure out what portion sizes I need to be eating. When I first started weight was fall off so fast I couldn’t believe it. Lately I am maintaining the loss of 25 pounds but I am stall at least 20 – 30 pounds over weight. I think it may have a lot to do with the pg. 394 of PHD on weight loss- 500 carb calories, 300 protein calories, 500 fat calories (from food sources) is the minimum caloric intake for proper nourishment. I am sure these numbers are to high for me. I am only 5’1″tall so I sure I don’t need as much as many people. I am trying to figure out the amounts that work for me.
    I also find my head spinning with all the numbers especially because it seams like they are conflicting. In chapter I read 1lb protein, 1 lbs. safe starches and 1 lbs fruits berries, and sugary vegtable. On one chart is has fruits and berries to eat small amounts. In yet another chapter is says to eat 1/2 lb of meat a day. I keep reading and rereading and getting more and more confused. I think I was doing better when I hadn’t read so much and was just going with 1lb each per day. Of course once my body got used to the changes I stopped losing weight but I am still over weight no longer obese but at least 20 – 30 lbs. over weight.

    • You may want to estimate what your Total Daily Energy Expenditure is, and then use the macro-nutrient ratios that Paul gives for 1300 calories (close to 40% carb, 40% fat, 20% protein). I’ve read about TDEE in a few other books.

    • Firstly, what exactly do you mean by being 20-30 pounds overweight? Are you saying you need to shed at least 20lbs to hit a BMI of 24.9? Or do you have other goals?

      Secondly, I believe that the 1lb-1lb-1lb rule is the Jaminets’ general guideline for healthy eating, whereas the 500kcal-300kcal-500kcal intake is the absolute MINIMUM you have to ingest, even if you are trying to lose weight. Given that you are 5’1″ tall, it is probably not an unreasonably low caloric intake for you, but you need to actively count/watch calories if you do not want to exceed it. Going by the 1lb-1lb-1lb rule will yield more calories.

      As an example, 1lb of cooked long-grain rice alone yields 590kcal. Cooling the rice probably reduces this a little, as some of the starch turns into retrograde resistant starch, but if you consume it right away, this is what you need to calculate with. Now, suppose your 1lb of sugary fruit/vegetable intake comprises 200g of apples (104kcal) and 250g of carrots (~103kcal if raw, or 135kcal if cooked). So your total calories from carbs is 590+104+103=797kcal. Now, let us say your protein/fat source is 1lb of boneless duck breast with skin, roasted without any added fat. (That sounds quite a lot, btw.)This yields 916kcal, with a roughly equal split of protein/fat calories. Even before adding any nuts/seeds, coconut/MCT oil, eggs, dairy or chocolate, you are looking at more than 1700kcal. If you really wanted to hit that 1300kcal mark, you would probably want to decrease the amount of carbohydrate and protein sources. But this requires careful monitoring of your caloric intake, which I believe is not what PHD is all about. Before taking that route, it would be wise to review your weight loss targets – do you REALLY have to lose 20lbs?

      The other side of the coin is your level of physical activity. It would be best if you could do at least 1 hour of brisk walking every day. Preferably with a few vigorous sprints thrown in (preceded by adequate warm-up and stretching exercises, of course). Swimming, gardening, full-body vibration sessions (flabélos/powerplate) and dumbbell exercises are also good choices. Question is, are you doing enough of them?

      • Tyrker, I say 20 – 30 pounds because that is what weight I feel best and am most able to be as physically active as it requires to be the equestrian I enjoy being. I want to get back to competing in the sports of reining, trail trials, and trail class. In order to do these sports well it helps to have physical endurance. I owe that to myself and my horses. I expect the best out of my horses so I feel like I need to give them my best in return. I don’t have a hard and fast number I want to be I just want to be the best I can be. It may be that I will not need to lose that much or I may need more. I will know I have hit my goal because of the way I feel not the number on a scale. I do tend to weigh more than medical charts have someone at my high weighing when I am at my healthiest weight. I am guessing because I am stronger than most my size. Throwing around bales for hay and 25 -50 pound sacks of feed will do that to a person.

        • Linda, I agree with you about ignoring BMI. I think it depends on frame type, how you carry your weight and muscle mass, and most importantly how you feel. In my case I feel and look my best slightly under BMI, even though I have a large frame, due to my body type. I carry most of my weight from my hips down. On the other hand, my tall husband does not look or feel good at BMI. He is an avid cyclist (long distance, high climbing rides, not sprints) and he also works out at the gym. He carries a lot of muscle weight. He looks and feels best slightly over BMI target range.
          I was just listening to the healthy gut summit and one of the doctors was talking about the exact same problem that you face, i.e., you dropped a bunch of weight but now you’re unable to lose the last 20-30. I wish I could remember what they said the cause was and how they fixed it. But I’m almost certain that it was not related to food. I think it was a nutritional deficiency or an infection of some type – parasite or bacterial or similar. As soon as they fixed that, the remaining weight dropped off.

          • Thanks Susan, I will try to google the healthy gut summit and see if I can find the a audio or video of that.

        • For some reason I think it was the interview with either Jacob Teitelbaum MD or Leo Galland MD, but it may have been one of the others. If you write to Donna Gates (host of the summit) she may be able to tell you who it was.

  14. Hi Paul,

    I have been going backwards and forwards between the book, the body building page, and the weight loss version page. I am 83 Kilos. I do a Body By Science Big 5 workout weekly and moderate physical activity the rest of the week. I want to take advantage of the Big 5’s muscle/strength building benefits and burn a bit of fat off as well. I have recently restarted jumping breakfast and also integrated jumping lunch 2 days a week as well. While I am wanting to lose fat what is the minimum number of calories you suggest on the no breakfast no lunch days – in carb, protein and fat? and the minimum number on the big 5 day (which is equivalent to a 2 hour intense workout even though it only goes for 12 to 15 mins? and the other four days? When I have reached my skin fold goals what would you suggest for the same three different types of days?
    While losing Fat (but wanting to build muscle):
    2 x Fasting until dinner days: Carb Cals:
    Prot Cals:
    Fat Cals:
    Big 5 Workout Day: Carb Cals:
    Prot Cals:
    Fat Cals:
    Other 4 days (IF to lunch time): Carb Cals:
    Prot Cals:
    Fat Cals:
    Once achieved desired skin folds?fat loss:
    2 x Fasting until dinner days: Carb Cals:
    Prot Cals:
    Fat Cals:
    Big 5 Workout Day: Carb Cals:
    Prot Cals:
    Fat Cals:
    Other 4 days (IF to lunch time): Carb Cals:
    Prot Cals:
    Fat Cals:
    Hope you can clarify for me.

    • Reply to myself.
      Quit the days where I jump lunch. Go for 18/6 intermittent fasting daily. Until I lose the fat go for 550to600 call carb calories, 350to400 protein calories, and keep the fat calories as low as manageable. After skin folds are where I want them 600 carb calories, 400 protein calories, flexible fat calories.

  15. How do you calculate how much protein, and thus protein calories,you get from 100 grams of bone broth with the fat removed? Anyone know? I am talking about properly prepared bone broth – 36 hours with vinegar added.

  16. Hi Paul, Do you count bone broth protein in your daily protein/protein calories?

  17. Paul

    I have two questions that I don’t think were covered in your wonderful book.

    1) I know from working in an allergy clinic that gluten causes a myriad of digestive and other auto immune issues. I tested negative and seemingly have no wheat related digestive problems. Are some people adapted and if so does wheat become a safe starch?

    2) Bearing in mind people have grown up eating widely different diets around the world, think the Masai, milk and blood vs polynesians coconut and fish, is it possible that individuals have different demands for meat? Personally feel better with more fish less meat.

    Thanks for all your work,


  18. Paul,

    You have helped me so immensely through the years, I am beyond grateful. Right now, my family is trying to help my husbands 15 year old nephew that has been suffering the last 5 years. His mom has celiac, so his wheat intake is little to zero. He has eczema that goes from severe to ok, geographic tongue, his creatine and protein spike, but now they are back down. He suffers from migraines that usually happen at night. I know there is no way to diagnose him, they are trying PHD, but really are trying to find this boy some kind of relief. I went to pubmed to try to find something, I just cannot seem to put this picture together.he gets adequate sleep and is active. No way he eats liver and probably won’t!

    • Hi Amy,

      Eczema indicates excessive oxidative stress depleting highly unsaturated polyunsaturated fats from cell membranes, so a first step is antioxidants: try supplementing 2 teaspoons glycine, 1 g N-acetylcysteine, vitamin C to 1/10 bowel tolerance daily, zinc 100 mg/week, copper to balance (either beef/lamb liver weekly or copper 2 mg/day); give him iodine daily 225 mcg and vitamin A in liver or supplements, vitamin D sun or supplements for immunity; and work on his gut health with all the PHD steps. Geographic tongue could be nutrient deficiencies or fungal infection. Migraines are inflammation. All of these symptoms are coupled, they likely share a common cause, nutrient deficiencies are suppressing immunity and infections are causing inflammation and lots of oxidative stress from the immune reaction. Work on nourishment and PHD and they should all subside together.

      • That is great information Paul. Thank you so much for your time, I am sure this will help greatly.

      • Paul,

        One more quick question, if you would. My thyroid doc thought my tsh was low, lowered my meds and I am at a TSH of 1.1, but my body temperature has dropped to 96.5 with the lower dose. I only know this bc I have the flu and bc of my immunodeficiency I have to monitor my temperature. The virus has rapidly moved to my chest and lungs, so they put me on Augmentin and inhalers, but said if my cough or chest pain gets worse I need to go to the ER this weekend. I am eating as PHD as I possibly can, but I am quite nauseous. My fever went to 99.1 but bc my temp is so abnormally low for me, I don’t even know if it is significant. So I decided to take Vitamin C to bowel tolerance, I am at 50,000mg and nothing. My new insurance company has not awarded me my IVIG yet, it is still in review, but right now, I am depending on my own. Should I keep going up on the Vitamin C? At this rate I could easily get to 100,000 mgs? Also, I think I remember reading you thought the range for TSH could go as low as .5?

        Thank you again,

        • Hi Amy, yes, keep up the vitamin C. Also I would support glutathione with glycine and N-acetylcysteine if you can. It’s hard to know what’s going on with TSH and body temperature given the acute infection. You probably have an elevated need for iodine right now so I would supplement that too. If the low temperature with low TSH persists then you’d want to test other hormones.

          • I will do all of those things. Much appreciated, enjoy your weekend. Thanks!

          • Paul,

            Thanks for your recommendations. I was a day late and a dollar short as they say. From my orbital decompression, my eyeball fell into position over my sinus, and the infection is caught inside causing massive pressure with no way out. So my doctor at the Mayo Clinic put me on one month of Prednisone and I am taking 1000mg of Ceftin a day. It is my worst nightmare after working on my gut health for so long! But this was a consequence of a previous surgery.

            So my question has now changed…what the heck can I do to limit the negative effects of these meds? I am continuing Vitamin C and the usual supplements. I am making and eating my own fermented veggies and staying strict PHD. I have tried to keep my carbs up a little to prevent a fungal infection, it did not work. I have an infection after 3 days of antibiotics. Do you think S. Boulardii would be a good option? I appreciate your help.

            On an up note, after adding 200mcg of selenium and 225mcg of iodine, and being on PHD, I have to go way down on my Armour and up my T4 meds since I am converting my T4 o T3 so well now! So thank you! That in itself is pretty life changing for someone who has an ablated thyroid and has not converted in 20 years!!! It is almost too good to be true. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


          • Hi Amy,

            Good to hear that you are converting T4 to T3 well!

            I’m afraid there’s not much to be done to limit the negative effects of the prednisone and antibiotics. Definitely make fermented vegetables and eat them. I would not try S boulardii until you are off antibiotics, you need to have bacteria to keep that in check.

          • Yes, I am hoping with my thyroid meds working better, that things will fall more into place health wise. So I a.m very excited about that. I guess I will just have to work harder after this next round of antibiotics and steroids. It stinks! But thank you!

      • Hi Paul, In search of the perfect diet, over the years I have run the gammit from high starch fat free vegan diets (which made my hair fall out and deep wrinkles on my facial skin) to high protein diets (I’m sure my body was craving it due to low proten diets) to somewhat intuitive meals with a balance of carbs proteins and fats. I have been gluten, dairy and soy free for years due to allergens, so use rice and potato as my starches. My question is about the Perfect health diet food plate (apple). Most recently I am seeing a trend towards the balanced plate with carbs and protein each 1/4 of the plate and non-starchy vegetables the balance. I am having trouble putting your plate into a visual and wonder if the 1/4 1/4 1/2 is in the ballpark, or would the ratios on the plate look more like thirds (as a balanced meal)? Since I am more of a visual person, I don’t do well with percentages. If one is using 4 oz (palm sized) protein per meal, how would the starch amount look. Like a fist, 1/2 or 1 cup etc?? and, how many vegetables would balance that. 1 cup, two? per meal… thanks I hope you can answer my question.

      • Hi Paul,
        As ever thanks for the invaluable advise on this forum.
        I was interested in your supplementation recommendations for the 15 year old with eczema. My daughter 9 on PHD also has various degrees of eczema. By eliminating diary we avoid the worst but she does react to environmental allergens on and off (dustmite, pollen etc).
        My daughter takes all the recommended supplements except NAC which but I’m looking into.
        Although I have seen some pleasing reports some experts recommend monitoring if being used. I think you have an article on its effect on gut lining and I’ve also seen issues with some toxins circulating/flushing too quickly.
        I also asked our nutritionist and she mentioned that at a recent talk by Dr David Quigg of Doctor’s Data Labs, he mentioned that NAC can exacerbate yeast growth if present. I personally cannot find any reference to this. I was wondering whether you have a counterargument for this?
        Also in your opinion are there any cases where caution with NAC should be observed. My child has had chemotherapy as a baby for retinoblastoma.
        Many thanks in advance.

  19. On February 20th, 2015 the following op-ed piece ran in the New York Times regarding the US Government’s new dietary guidelines:

    The first place I read any of this was in “The Perfect Health Diet.” Beyond what is written in this op-ed piece, and in response to the new dietary recommendation to eat less meat in order to protect the environment, how about a study evaluating the cost to the environment of eating too many calories, especially the wrong kind. Could we as a nation produce and consume less food by eating a more appropriate number of calories and a more nutritionally efficient diet instead? There has to be an interesting sustainability/environmental impact study in there somewhere, if it hasn’t already been done!

  20. Hello Paul,

    Hope you are doing well.I have been looking on the internet for options on how to maintain/treat/cure (never give hope) on my recent diagnosis and had come across your website.I have ongoing inflammation in the ileum small intestine and doctors diagnosis as crohns (they considered intestinal TB too/not sure still tbh)
    I have gone gluten/dairy free atm (has help alot but still inflammation shown in blood tests)but going towards wheat free.I know diet will not fully cure me and would be grateful for your opinion on the following

    1) Before embarking on any diet,should I get test for gut ie parasites,SIBO,CDSA,Intestinal permeability,IGA which ones should I invest in first?
    2) What are thoughts on TH1/TH2 imblance. Crohns is said to be TH1 dominant.There is a test that look into any imbalance in the immune pathway.Should I get this done.
    3)Food sensitively.I know there are many elimination diets/tests not sure the best way to find out.
    4)Lastly what are thoughts on l-glutamine,NAG,zinc etc on healing the gut.Are there other supplements that gear toward healing the intestine fully.

    I know resistant starch is key to my gut heath.I am from an Asian background so there are so many rice/potatoes based product!
    I would be grateful for your response.I going to order your book.Thank you for your website.I have bookmarked it.


  21. Paul: I am also an insulin dependent diabetic. How do I justify all the carbs?

    • Hi Bambi,

      That means you have trouble taking carbs into your body, but your body still needs carbs. So try reducing dietary carbs but still eating some, e.g. 20% carb, while increasing protein a bit.

  22. Hi Paul,
    Hope you can help here. I am very food intolerant – salicylate and histamine sensitive etc – so many vegetables are out of the question for me. Unfortunately I show signs of too little carbs: dry eyes and dry mouth and low T3, so I would like to see if carbs is the problem and how to solve it. Luckily I tolerate: plantain, tapioka (some say it can lower T3 ), celery, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, savoy cabbage, choko/chayote, kohlrabi, sunseed sprouts, beansprouts (allowed?), golden delicious apple, edamame beans (organic from frozen) – but not fermented veggies or lactic acid probiotics. I use lard and duck fat for frying. And rotate meat as recommended. I eat eggs too. But is there any way I can get enough starch out of this? And what will it take?

  23. Is there validity to proper food combining? It makes sense to me that the stomach needs to be acidic to digest protein Alkaline to digest fruits and vegetables. Some experts claim that when you eat these foods together the enzymes required for digestion cancel each other out. The result is impaired digestion. What is your opinion on this?

  24. What is your take on high-oleic sunflower seed oil? It’s only 3.6% PUFA… But would seed toxins be a potential issue or not?

  25. Hi! Can you tell me your opinion of glucomannan powder if one has autoimmune issues (Celiac and Hashimotos) It is in a cocoa powder drink designed to help with curbing food cravings. I think its causing diarrhea and maybe not so great…

  26. I wish to start the weight-loss version of PHD (500 calories carb, 500 calories fat, 300 calories protein).
    My question is if I take 30 ml coconut oil per day (140 calories) does it need to be included in my fat allowance or can it be “extra”?

  27. I’m wondering why the prohibition on legumes. Beans are a good source of “resistant” (i.e. “slow”)starch. Seems like that would be a good idea if you are trying to keep your blood glucose from spiking. They are low on the Glycemic Index.

  28. hi
    I’m looking for a sugar substitute. Would pure agave syrup work or is that on the avoid list?

    • Avoid that, as it’s high in fructose. We recommend dextrose powder and honey. If you want non-caloric sweeteners, stevia and the sugar alcohols (erythritol, xylitol) are the best, but we don’t recommend non-caloric sweeteners.

      • Why would tapioca syrup not be the perfect sweetener? (No fructose, plus from a safe starch source.) Honey has fructose, and dextrose powder might have residual corn proteins.

        • Yes, tapioca syrup is great too. Natural honey has some compounds which are good for the gut microbiome, and we recommend not 100% glucose but 85% glucose 15% fructose, so if you did a mix of honey and dextrose for sweeteners you’d be close to optimal. You could equally well mix honey with tapioca syrup.

  29. I just ordered the book from Amazon and should receive it in about a week. In the meantime I have a question. I see that you are recommending iodine supplementation. I have Hashimoto’s and have heard conflicting information on whether to supplement with iodine or not for hypothyroidism.

    • Hi TG,

      I do recommend a low dose of iodine in Hashi’s – about 225 mcg/day. This prevents compounding the problem with iodine deficiency, but is not so much to risk a toxicosis.

      If you become hyperthyroid then iodine is counterindicated, but not in Hashi’s.

  30. Please notify me via email of your response to my prior inquiry. Thank you.

  31. Hi Paul, I read this article on the guardian website reporting some recent science linking salt to autoimmune disorder. The scientist is quoted saying something along the lines of “it’s hard to argue against a low salt diet”. What are your thoughts on this recent research given the PHD diet book seems to suggest humans innately self regulate salt intake?

  32. Hey Paul,

    Curious to know your thoughts on the potential overproduction of lactic acid at the cellular level and if fermented foods can actually produce an increased burden (if the cell is in a compromised state)?

  33. Can you comment in general about intermittent fasting for women. I’ve tried it several times now, and it’s just really difficult. I’ve even tried broth in lieu of breakfast, with tomatoes and spinach as you’ve suggested.
    I do have some prevailing issues: prone to headaches (used to get migraines regularly, but now less frequent and intense post-menopause), possible hypothyroid (TSH 4.5), low WBC, cholesterol may be low (LDL:HDL = 1:1, total = 188). I’ve begun working with a great functional med practitioner to find the root causes, which is a long process. Meanwhile, I’ve tried IF for health improvement, but it makes me manic about food and caused me to add unwanted weight while trying it. I’m 56 yrs, 5’5″ and 117, and consider my ideal weight to be 110-114). There’s much talk on the health summits and elsewhere about IF lately, and I’ve heard many functional med folks say it isn’t always the best for women, especially if hypothyroid. I seem to remember your book mentioning something along these lines too.
    I feel like a failure! I want to optimize my health status and achieve the faster bad-bug die-off effect of IF, but it stresses me out. I’ve religiously followed PHD for 1 year and love it. I eat very robust, well-balanced PHD meals and eat all of your recommended supp foods, so I don’t think my issue is not eating enough protein, carb or electrolytes the prior day. The only minerals that I don’t take in pill form are iodine and potassium, but I eat kelp granules and 1 lb of fish weekly and daily eat lots of potassium rich foods (tomatoes, potatoes, banana raspberry, etc).
    Can you shed any light or provide additional guidance?
    Many thanks!

  34. Paul,

    Hope you are well. And thank you for your suggestions last time, I am feeling much better. My question actually has to do with my 75 year old father, who was just told his LDL is 171 and happens to have one copy of the ApoE4 gene. He has never taken a pill in his life, no major illnesses and he is resistant therefore to take cholesterol medication. He would like to change his diet, but knowing he has the the ApoE4 gene would actually mean he is both carbohydrate sensitive AND require a lower fat diet. He is NOT PHD, but after his results, he is interested. I am curious what adjustments he could make to the carb/protein/fat ratio and nutrients that could also help. He will be retested in 4 weeks, at that point, I told him if his LDL is not down that he should go on the mess even though he does not want to.

    I would appreciate your input,


    • Hi Amy,

      Personally I wouldn’t adjust diet dramatically for ApoE4, or for an LDL of 171. Some keys: (1) antioxidants – zinc, copper, vitamin C – optimize these; consider supplementing N-acetylcysteine as well; (2) liver, egg yolks, sunshine; (3) circadian rhythm entrainment; (4) supplement iodine 225 mcg/day and treat any hypothyroidism; (5) bones/joints/tendons/extracellular matrix in soups and stews; (6) green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, herbs and spices; (7) intermittent fasting.

      Best, Paul

  35. Hi, Paul,

    I am new to your site, having just purchased your book and about half way through. I’ve been on your website and have been following the diet while reading. I have a question about brown rice syrup. I bought some and am using it in my coffee in the morning and it’s very good. However, I read an article that said it has a very high glycemic index therefore causing insulin spikes. Can you clarify for me? I only have about a teaspoon every morning.

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      Yes, 100% glucose sweeteners are more insulinogenic, but we think they are still better for you than table sugar. However, maybe the best is a mix that ends up 85% glucose 15% fructose or so, e.g. mix in some honey. Also, we’ve gone away from rice syrup due to arsenic issues and the bran, so we favor tapioca syrup instead, or dextrose powder in honey.

      Best, Paul

  36. Thanks for your response, Paul! I’ve read about the arsenic also. I will stick with honey and tapioca syrup. Also, have you heard of Yacon soup?

  37. Oops! I meant Yacon syrup. 😀

  38. Hello Paul,
    A functional medicine practitioner suggested this test called Simplied Genetics. Do you have any thoughts on this test? Does it really matter for the food compositions? Thank you.

  39. I am getting confused between the paleo and the vegan movement. Dr. Greger is leading the vegan propaganda on the internet. I receive many of his e-mails which says that eating one egg is equivalent to smoking 5 cigarettes! For thousands of years man has been getting nutrition from both plant and animal sources and I don’t necessarily believe that eating lentils are bad for you because of the phytic acid content. I come from India and judging from my observation people there don’t get heart disease, asthma, and childhood diabetes as much as Americans. Our staple diet is wheat, rice, lentils, and beans. People in India only get diabetes in old age. There is a lot of pollution but no asthma in kids. People there eat whole wheat and get their protein from veggie sources. Also eggs, and meat occasionally. I don’t see any fat Indians because they cook at home. So going extreme vegan or paleo is not natural. Check out the science and wisdom of traditional diets on youtube

    • Since when is PHD extreme Paleo?

      • It is not extreme paleo but the book does say that legumes are the cause of recent diabetes epidemic in India. I don’t believe it. The book has a lot of nutritional info but then vegans say that phytic acid boosts immunity and prevents cancer. Judging from observation, I personally think that red-meat causes colon cancer in Americans. And if wheat causes obesity and ‘wheat-belly’, then why all the Indians are not fat in India? Authors and researchers are just cherrypicking studies. There are even studies which show that eating whole wheat increases lifespan because of the fiber content.

        • I really like the PHD plan and think Paul has done an amazing job in explaining it, but the problem with any nutritional plan is that it is never going to be 100% perfect for everyone. The body is too complex. Take legumes as you have said… good/bad? phytic acid… good/bad? … nut-eaters… good/bad? this whole area is a minefield and I think you could spend your whole life looking at it alone. I took out legumes and then added some back and either way unless you get a eureka moment when you consume or don’t consume you can never really know. It’s probably just me but the more I know then less I feel I truly understand…

          • Yes, Lorenzo you are right. The whole field is very confusing indeed. I like Paul’s book. The car culture in America + working on computers + coming home and watching TV is giving people a lot of health problems and is the cause of metabolic syndrome. The processed and fast food industry is killing people. In India, they still put whole wheat in a grinder and make wheat-flour without taking out the skin and fiber. And people make round tortilla like ‘rotis’ from whole wheat flour at home. They don’t experience fatigue or low energy and are quite healthy. Women there have been able to avoid breast cancer by eating legumes (lentils) as their primary protein source.

        • How can you single out red meat as the cause of colon cancer by “observation?” There are many factors here in America that contribute to cancer in all forms, and obesity, too—nothing tends to have a single cause. It may be a combination of grain-fed and hormone-added red meat with other factors that cause colon cancer, or the combination of high amounts of processed wheat with other factors that lead to “wheat belly.”
          Whole wheat may “increase lifespan” when substituted for refined wheat, but I don’t think you’ll find any studies showing that outcome compared to a wheat-free diet.

          • I personally think Paul has done an amazing job at giving us a look into what it takes to regain and remain in good health. No one is going to be right 100% of the time, but when Paul learns of something that goes against what he teaches, he is willing to change it. I believe that the overall picture is a whole foods based diet that is rich in vegetables, fats, and good protein is what most can thrive on. Internment fasting is helping me out in many areas, and I have Paul to thank for that as well. Thank you Paul for everything that you do for the one’s that want to be healthy.

  40. Hi PHD,
    I have been listening to many podcasts about or related to the ketogenic diet and the clear assertion
    I have heard, an read, about the issue of ketogenic diet and mitochondria is that that diet favors mitochondria health and Does Not Produce ROS
    but carbo metabolism based diet does cause the mitochondria to produce ROS which are in turn harmful for the mitochondria. Mention of this fact was what sparked my quest for more information about the ketogenic diet.
    In your interview with Wendy Myers which I just listened to, you claimed that the ketogenic diet
    causes the mitochondria to produce ROS, free radicals, as if in contrast to carbohydrates as fuel source. The opposite.
    It is not clear to me what people mean when they say Paleo diet; my understanding -influenced by Nora G.- is that the human body evolved as a ketogenic metabolizing entity with ability to metabolize carbs being utilized in occasional
    famines where animal fats foods were unavailable.
    And that the primacy of carbos for energy metabolism is only a recent, last 10,000 years, phenomenon to which the body has not yet adapted
    and is not efficient like ketogenic metabolism
    and is responsible for the host of chronic and other diseases that have emerged to plague humanity.
    I myself have not yet tried transforming to a ketogenic diet but look forward to the prospect
    once I am clear on just what I will replace my
    grain and sugar addiction diet with.
    Can you direct me to the sources of information that influenced you to believe that the ketogenic diet is conducive to mitochondrial production of ROS.

  41. Through years of personal study, Dr. Wahls identified 31 microntutrients that the mitochondria need to function. She then learned what foods provide those nutrients and came up with her “9 Cups Daily” protocol:
    3 cups (about one heaping plateful) of leafy green vegetables, such as kale, collards, chard, spinach or lettuce, which provide vitamins A, B, C and K.
    3 cups of sulfur-rich vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, garlic, mushrooms and asparagus, because they support the removal of toxins from the body.
    3 cups of colorful vegetables and fruits (ideally three different colors each day), because they’re full of antioxidants. They have to be colored all the way through, so apples and bananas don’t count as colored, but berries, peaches, citrus, beets and carrots do.

  42. Through years of personal study, Dr. Wahls identified 31 microntutrients that the mitochondria need to function. She then learned what foods provide those nutrients and came up with her “9 Cups Daily” protocol:
    3 cups (about one heaping plateful) of leafy green vegetables, such as kale, collards, chard, spinach or lettuce, which provide vitamins A, B, C and K.
    3 cups of sulfur-rich vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, garlic, mushrooms and asparagus, because they support the removal of toxins from the body.
    3 cups of colorful vegetables and fruits (ideally three different colors each day), because they’re full of antioxidants. They have to be colored all the way through, so apples and bananas don’t count as colored, but berries, peaches, citrus, beets and carrots do..

  43. For two years until recently I have been doing well on a very low carb diet. I experience improved mental clarity and calm and have eliminated allergies and asthma. I have strong emotional responses after eating more than a couple bites of carbs. Fasting is my favorite mental state. Biggest problem has been my dependence on minerals to prevent serious leg cramps. In my diet I have eliminated sugar, grains and your safe starches as well as most fruits other than berries. I eat a lot of eggs cheese grassfed beef, cabbage and butter with veggies and bone broth but not a lot of greens. My 12 year old is following my diet as well. A month ago on my birthday my happy kids fed me lots of sugar and I got slammed with a huge yeast infection. I just finished a 3 day dose of oral antifungal medication after topical treatments failed. I have itching peeling palms and cracks in the corners of my mouth. I have dry eyes and constipation. Symptoms are abating but I would like your advice. Should I modify my diet to include potatoes and sweet potatoes? Additionally I just started coconut oil, probiotics and fish oil. How would you recommend that I improve my diet to eliminate yeast but deal with carb sensitivity with too many carbs.

    • There’s a big difference between “too many carbs” and “lots of sugar.” I would suggest gradually introducing a variety of lower-glycemic carbs into your diet, including sweet potatoes, cooked/cooled white potatoes and white rice, semi-ripe bananas, onions, etc. No big servings of any of them until you’ve built up and know you tolerate them well. Fermented foods and/or probiotics can also be a big help.

  44. Hi Paul,

    many Buddhists following the Precepts don’t eat after noon.

    I am curious, from your prospective, would such eating pattern be a healthy one?



    • My understanding is that fasting in the evening allows your digestive processes to complete before bedtime, improving sleep quality and detoxification during sleep, and making it easy to wake up early. Paul recommends eating your biggest meal in the middle of the day to best align with your natural circadian rhythms. I personally try to make lunch my biggest/densest meal and finish it by 1pm ST/2pm DST, and try to keep dinner early and easier to digest. I don’t see a problem with skipping dinner as long as it works for you.

  45. Antioxidants: Arm Yourself With Food
    We’ve all heard of free radicals, yet, many of us are not quite sure what they are or why they’re so scary. Free radicals are unstable molecules, produced by normal bodily functions, which can cause damage to cells.
    But what if we had a sheet of armor to protect ourselves from them? As it turns out, we do, and it’s found in deeply hued fruits and vegetables. When we eat these foods, we benefit from a natural defense system that includes anthocyanins, flavonoids, lutein, lycopene, catechins, selenium, coenzyme Q10, and vitamins C and E.
    How does one take advantage of this “army”? First, make it a goal to have at least five colors represented in your diet every day. Including a variety of colorful fruits and veggies will increase the number of antioxidants you consume, resulting in a more fit and fantastic you at the end of the rainbow. Second, prepare them in a way that gives you the most bang for your nutritional buck.
    Go for Greens
    Green foods contain vitamin C, vitamin E, quercetin (a flavanoid), and sulforaphane. Just one cup or a fist-size portion of green foods per day provides plenty of antioxidants.
    Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, spinach, escarole, and parsley contain isothiocynates (ITCs), which are important for detoxification.
    Spinach contains a very high level of antioxidant activity and just one cup provides all of your vitamin A and K for the day, as well as folate. Spinach is powerful in preventing cancer, especially prostate cancer. Combining vitamin C with your spinach enhances iron absorption, so throw in some additional color by adding mandarin oranges to your spinach salad. Green tea is noted for its high amount of catechins, antioxidants that may aid in cancer prevention.
    Say Yes to Yellow and Orange
    Fruits and veggies that are bright yellow and orange contain vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy organs and prevents bacteria from growing. Vitamin A helps prevent cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even depression.
    Bananas contain beta-carotene and vitamins A, C and E, lutein, and selenium. The riper the banana, the higher the antioxidants – so don’t throw them out when they start to turn brown. Carrots are also an excellent source of vitamin A, and butternut squash is loaded with antioxidants. Get at least two servings of yellow or orange fruits and vegetables in every day!
    Purple Powerhouses
    Foods with purple skins contain anthocyanins, which protect cells from damage and heal already damaged cells. These foods promote eye health and help to prevent cancer, diabetes and stroke. They help to relax blood vessels which has heart benefits, and can lower LDL. Include purple fruits and veggies four to five times per week.
    Plums or prunes, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and black currants are all good sources of anthocyanins – the darker the pigment, the higher the amount of antioxidants.
    Red wine is also a good source of anthocyanins. Cabernet has the highest level of antioxidants. Wine contains resveratrol, which can prevent heart disease by increasing levels of good cholesterol and protecting against arterial damage. Always drink any type of alcohol in moderation. For women, one 4-ounce glass of red wine per day is plenty.
    Race to the Reds
    Cherries and strawberries are packed with anthocyanins, flavonoids that may help in reducing blood pressure and LDL cholesterol). Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that may help protect cells from damage.
    Cooking by Color
    With red foods, such as tomatoes, heat is important for optimal lycopene absorption because it breaks down the cell wall to unleash potency.
    Overcooking kills nutrients in green foods, such as broccoli. If you do cook it, lightly sauté or steam. Never microwave broccoli because the intense heat drains all of the nutrients. The same goes for boiling; you’ll notice your water turns green. The color is where all the nutrients are. Chop florets in half or quarters to get the healthful enzymes to emerge. Artichokes are one of the only foods that stand up to the cooking process and maintain nutrients if cooked.
    It’s best to cook carrots whole; cutting them allows more nutrients to escape. When making sweet potatoes, bake, broil and/or steam. Further, the nutrients are contained when the potato is cooked in its own skin, so resist the urge to peel!
    Complete your color wheel with wild salmon for added benefits from antioxidants. Baking, broiling, poaching and steaming are the best methods to cook salmon. Frying salmon or any fish will sap the nutrients. Grilling salmon on an outdoor grill can add cancer-causing heterocyclic amines, or HCAs. If you crave grilled salmon, adding rosemary before grilling may actually combat HCA production.
    What’s My Favorite Color?
    Green! I love all the leafy greens like kale and spinach and cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. They have huge cancer-preventing properties and are the most powerful for longevity.

    • Joy, this is great. I forwarded it to people not quite sold on eating well. I can’t wait for the cookbook, because it’s hard for many to visualize cooking like this.

      • The Wahls protocol is also easy to follow.
        “Through years of personal study, Dr. Wahls identified 31 microntutrients that the mitochondria need to function. She then learned what foods provide those nutrients and came up with her “9 Cups Daily” protocol:
        3 cups (about one heaping plateful) of leafy green vegetables, such as kale, collards, chard, spinach or lettuce, which provide vitamins A, B, C and K.
        3 cups of sulfur-rich vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, garlic, mushrooms and asparagus, because they support the removal of toxins from the body.
        3 cups of colorful vegetables and fruits (ideally three different colors each day), because they’re full of antioxidants. They have to be colored all the way through, so apples and bananas don’t count as colored, but berries, peaches, citrus, beets and carrots do..”

        • How can anyone eat all that?

          • exactly my thoughts!!!

          • I think it is pretty easy to do. I do a smoothie in the am with 3 cups of greens,! cup of berries !/2 cup of pumpkin ,! frozen over ripe banana and some kind of vanilla flavored protein powder with coconut milk,almond butter, gelatin,macha etc. Very yummy. Lunch is 3 cups of cabbage ,sweet peppers,grape tomatoes,garlic,red onion,mushrooms,2 -3 hard boiled eggs,!/2 avocado mixed with ! Tablespoon of homemade olive oil mayo and juice of fresh lemon for the dressing.Sometimes I add a little feta cheese. Dinner is a protein tomatoes,carrots,beets,broccoli sweet potato or some other variation of veggies.

  46. Eat 1/3 of that. Some is better than nothing!.

    • Oh, I do! I follow PHD totally, by that I mean, I don’t eat any of the forbidden stuff. My problem is I can’t eat as much as is suggested and I’m too lazy to make broth (yes, I have made it and know how easy it is), so I rely on the Kitchen Basics beef and chicken broth.

      I have salmon, liver, steak, lamb, eggs … almost as often as Paul suggests. 🙄


  47. I started reading the book this weekend and now I am hooked!! I always enjoyed eating well and the book is being an eye opener in some aspects! I still have some questions though…is it ok to eat brown rice?? I got so used to this type that I prefer it over the white one…also…the omega 3/ EFA fats are still a mystery to me…I always thought it was good for us and even was taking supplements in order to meet what I thought was ideal…I know omega 6 is no good and I dont eat any of those but I never thought omega 3 shouldn’t be eat freely…I will keep my salmon intake by once a week but I must say this was a surprise…what are your thoughts on chia seeds? Also.. half cup f whole organic milk daily is ok? I love drinking coffee in the morning and almond milk is to thin for me…thanks!

    • I already found out (reading old posts) that brown rice has some toxic in I got this one! Now I need to know about the milk/cheeses and efa fatty acids

      • Luiza, I believe Paul has stated that no grown-up needs milk, but he does have a glass with some cinnamon and honey for a dessert sometimes. I know he has stated that a little bit of dairy can be healthful, and some of his meals contains cheese. Personally I use a good bit of cheese on most days, and I think It is a good source of protein. I follow PHD to a T, but when it comes to cheese, I take more of a Ray Peat outlook. I believe that cheese is more safe than milk, I could be wrong, but I know in milk, you have to deal with the galactoce and cheese does not contain that.

        • Thank you Kevin! I dont intend to drink gallons of milk!! I usually premare my morning coffee with 80% of the cup with almond milk and just add a little bit of milk to add some “body” to the almond milk! I cant give up cheeses either : )

          • I love my milk and cheese too. I was only drinking raw fermented milk and cheese for a few years but just discovered I have a milk butyrophilin sensitivity. No problems with lactose or casein which are more common though. Such a shame as since giving dairy up I feel my teeth have deteriorated and I have noticed some new decay! Not sure what to do. Trying to heal my gut so i can add these foods back in soon! I am now thinking perhaps I need to supplement calcium as well as my usual magnesium & Vit K2.

          • to Claire (no reply button for Claire’s post):

            Tooth decay can be reversed; please try a search for “remineralizing teeth.” And do you know about oil-pulling? It really helps so much. Going without milk is not bad for your teeth!

            I’m making toothpaste with bentonite clay and mineral salt plus a powdered calcium. Search for similar recipes & info.

          • @st I never saw any benefit from oil pulling after trying it for a long time.

          • Thanks st.
            Yes it’s about time I start re researching remineralizing teeth. I did read cure tooth decay and do many of the things I remember but since giving up raw dairy my teeth have deteriorated over a short time. I have a tooth powder I use made from bentonite and diatomaceous earth. What do you mean by mineral salt. would himalayan or grey natural salts do?

          • Yes, those are both good. Any unrefined salt contains the minerals. Another thing I’ve read about is the oral probiotic lozenges. I’ve not tried it because these other things are effective for me.

          • st, what are the oral probiotic lozenges. Can you recommend some? I spent some time ago looking into oral probiotics. I do feel my mouth gets acidic quickly and I wondered if that is partly to do with mouth bacteria. As eating clean hasn’t made a huge effect on that issue.

          • Is there a way I can actually test to see if I am defiecient in necessary minerals? I heard serum tests are not accurate though. Anyone know of better tests?

          • Claire, I got a lot from reading this article at Mercola about a “biological”dentistry pioneer named Rainey:

            The oral lozenge he mentions is Evora, and the other thing he said was important is to brush at night with baking soda only.

          • PS when you read that Mercola article, take time to read the comments! Lots more info from the various people’s input. Some rebuttals, some new ideas. For example: if baking soda is too harsh for you as it is for some people, one of the commenters (who is also a dentist, i think) said xylitol is as effective at alkalinizing the mouth.

          • To get probiotics into your mouth you don’t need Evora or any other lozenge; just suck on your favorite probiotic capsule.

          • Not if you want the strains that mouths need.

          • Since I started sucking on SBO’s (soil based orgaisms) from Swansons (ten bucks for 90 capsules)five years ago, I have reversed all of my reversible oral problems and stopped all of the others in their tracks. Before that I had horrible problems with plaque build-up, gum disease, toothaches, tooth decay, etc.

            Now I brush only when I feel a need to, about three times per week with just water. I floss a couple of times per day (mainly to remove fiber that gets stuck between my teeth when I eat raw vegetables).

            I got the idea from Dr. Susan Lark (or Larkin) in a newsletter that my wife used to get from her. She said that any probiotic supplement would work.

          • very cool. i admit i am squeamish trying to imagine what that would feel/taste like.

  48. Part of my issue is that for the first time in my life I notice build up on my teeth that develops over night (plaque/tartar or similar). I never needed dentist teeeth cleaning before but now I worry i may. All since I give up dairy (that includes high vitamin butter oil as apparently it has milk butyrophilin in it, to which I am sensitive)

  49. One of the best talks on Depression and how to cure it. Search Depression is a disease of civilization: Stephen Ilardi at TEDxEmory on YOUTUBE

  50. Paul,

    Or anyone else who knows the answer to this….my ferritin level is 11 (11 – 230). I looked through PHD book, I did not find a minimum. I do understand that low ferritin levels have positive effects on immunity, my doctor thinks I should supplement. I do eat meat and fish everyday, so I am unsure why it is so low.

    Thank you,

    • Hi Amy,

      Take an overview of the various kinds of anemia revealed by iron status tests: You have iron deficiency anemia. Eat more liver; take iron supplements and vitamin C; and get yourself evaluated for internal bleeding, e.g. blood lost in stool or excessive menstrual bleeding.

      P.S. – Aim for ferritin of 50-100.

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