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 ?

3,259 Comments.

  1. Hi, again, Paul…I understand cereal grains are toxic for us…but what about the cereal “grasses” themselves?

    This is what is in the SuperGreens powder I recently started taking when I am unable to go grocery shopping to get fresh produce.

  2. PS: I forgot to ask…is it ok to leave the skin on when cooking & eating vegetables like carrots, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, etc.?

  3. Just thought of another question.

    What about Lentil Sprouts?

    Or any other of the Sprouts?

    I think I read somewhere that being germinative they’re NOT toxic…is that right?

  4. Hi Paul. I’m getting your book in about a week or so. I’ve been wondering, since it is hard to find tapioca, plantains and taro in Slovenia, could their flours still be used as a substitute? Best, N.

  5. I know you say to avoid oats but are gluten free steel cut oats acceptable or should oats be avoided all together?

    • Hi Michelle,

      These are judgement calls, I think in our book we gave oats a grade of C and rated them the safest grain after rice. You have to decide how stringent you want to be.

      Best, Paul

  6. Hi paul, i have a question regarding supplements, can you guide me when is the best time of the day to supplement. Do you have any strategies?

  7. Thank you Paul, i read your book and it helped me a lot.

  8. Hi Paul,
    I read your fascinating book. Seems reasonable to me,
    whatever that means.
    What about all those doctors: Greger, Fuhrman, Ornish, McDougal Esselstyn, the China Study; They all present scientific papers as proof of: Vegan is best. Whole grains and Beans are the healthiest foods on earth. Animals, Eggs, Milk Products, Saturated fats: The worst foods. I would have liked to have science based comments on that ideology in your book.
    Could you comment here?

  9. Hi Paul,
    Any thoughts on this study linking low gluten diets to higher risk of type 2 diabetes?

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170309120626.htm

    • Hi Jorge, it’s just observational finding an association. It looks to me like the association is between higher gluten and higher fiber intake overall, which is a protective factor for diabetes. That’s no reason to change PHD recommendations as foods like potatoes, fruits and vegetables are high in fiber. Best, Paul

  10. Hi Paul, I tried the diet but did poorly due I think to lack of insoluble fiber (I don’t do well on soluble). Do you know of a safe source of insoluble fibre, even if in supplement form?

    Thank you.

  11. Hi Paul, What about Mercola’s argument against too much fruit, being that you should stick to 15g a day and that Fructose is metabolised by the liver and potentially harmful.
    Just want to know your thoughts on this?

    Cheers
    Matt

    • Hi Matt,

      PHD recommends getting about 15% of carbs from fructose, see the book for why that is optimal, and that translates to about 25 g per day. It’s possible that Mercola got the 15g a day from us as on his lower-carb diet that is about 15% of carbs also.

      Best, Paul

  12. Paul,

    Is Creatine supplementation acceptable with the diet? I used to take it in the morning but have heard that you frown on that. Can I take the supplement at night?

  13. Hi Paul. I have struggled with Candida and Gut Dysbiosis for over 25 years, so any new approach is very welcome! Does your book have any specific guide lines for yeast infections ? I’m aware you suggest 600-800 carb calories for Candida issues ( which seems immense compared with anything I’ve tried before ! ) but can you advise Fat and Protein levels too please ?
    John ( U.K )

    • Hi John,

      My problems went away on PHD, so I think it’s very effective for those issues. I would advice reading our book and following its advice, or read this page (The Diet) and the Recommended Supplements page.

      Best, Paul

  14. hello,

    I just rread through the book today I do think I will be implementing a lots of what in it.

    I have two questions for you
    1) what supplement brands do you recommend?
    2) when it comes to fasting is just a bulletproof coffee in the morning considered breaking the fast?

    • Hi Andrew,

      We don’t recommend specific brands, as we have no way to evaluate brand quality, but you can see some suggestions on our recommended supplements page: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/recommended-supplements/

      A bulletproof coffee does break the fast. It maintains a carbohydrate and protein fast, but adds a lot of calories (the equivalent of a full meal), which takes away many of the benefits of fasting. I generally don’t recommend getting a lot of calories from purified nutrients (starch, sugar, or oil as in bulletproof coffee), but rather from natural whole foods.

      Best, Paul

  15. Hello Paul. I am on the PHD because my cardiologist recommended it, not necessarily for weight loss. I was losing weight prior to starting the diet, although I’m not at all heavy. Now, on the PHD, I am continuing to lose weight and it’s almost too much (I’m down to 140, which is light for my frame).

    So, my question: How does one GAIN weight on this diet?

    Thanks very much,

    Jim

    • Hi Jim,

      How tall are you? The general prescription for gaining weight is more calories. If you are underweight, usually more saturated fat, starch, and possibly protein (if your diet was deficient) will help most; then some resistance exercise.

      Then, I would try supporting immunity with vitamin A, D, C, glycine/taurine/NAC. Optimize per the book and see the recommended supplements page.

      Next, I would look at lab values to see if any clues can be found there. For example, low LDL may indicate a parasitic infection that could be treated with mebendazole.

      Best, Paul

  16. Thanks, Paul. I am 5’6″. My LDL is actually a tad high, rather than low. I suppose increasing the fats, starches and protein is the way to go. I do exercise daily, both at the gym and at home.

    I received your book from Amazon today and am looking forward to reading it (the doc gave me a “cliff notes” version). I read the first portion online. At present, I’m hoping (beyond the science) to discover my food choices and plan to stay with your plan for the long haul … hence the variety I’m hoping to discover.

    Anyway, thanks for writing back so quickly.

    All the best,

    Jim

    • Hi Jim,

      An extra 10 pounds might do you good, but you’re close enough to ideal weight that I wouldn’t pay attention to that as a metric – rather work for better general health and your weight will migrate to its optimum. Once you relieve inflammation, it will be easier to gain muscle and lean mass.

      Best, Paul

  17. Avinash Ramchandani

    Hey Paul

    USA today just reported on a study about coconut oil not being healthy. Do you have a rebuttal?

    Thanks

    Avinash

  18. what are your thoughts on pseudo grains like quinoa?

  19. Hello Paul, the PHD sounds interesting,, I’m looking at buying the book, but I just wanted to know do you cover things like SIBO, Histamine intolerance, Fodmaps and Salicylate intolerance? As at present I have to avoid most starches due to inflammation, fruit, Honey and anything containing fructose.. Anything Coconut I react too..

    thanks for your time.
    MG

    • Hi Mister G,

      PHD works for a lot of things, even if the illness is not discussed in the book — if we had to discuss which nutritional interventions work for each illness, it would get repetitive (similar advice for many conditions) and would expand the length of the book enormously. In general all four of those things tend to clear up readily on PHD. We do have a few therapeutic supplements that can help, mainly the bile/immune supports of glycine/taurine/NAC and vitamin C, also 2 tbsp vinegar and 3 egg yolks per day are important, and intermittent fasting and circadian rhythm entrainment (see Part V of the book).

      Best, Paul

      • Longtime follower, and PHD has helped my family a lot. But I wonder if you have any creative ways to make use of all those uneaten egg whites (?) Discarding them feels wasteful.

        • We discard them. Don’t think of it as waste — you don’t feel ashamed to discard the shells, why the whites? The value is in the yolks.

          If you have pets maybe they’ll like the whites.

          Best, Paul

        • You could try doing ‘oeufs en neige’ or whip them until they reach a snow like consistency. Good to accompany berries, can also be used in many recipes, for example meringues and coconut macaroons. Or just crack 1 whole egg or two and make an omelette or some scrambled eggs or some egg fried rice, adding the whites. I hate to throw away food too!

  20. Paul, what are your thoughts on IF’ing while having adrenal fatigue?

    Thanks!

    • Intermittent fasting is good for adrenal fatigue as long as you don’t undereat. The key is circadian rhythm entrainment.

      Best, Paul

      • Thanks Paul! Could you elaborate more on how IF is good for AF? Do you feel timing early morning sunlight with breakfast is necessary for circadian rythm entrainment? Thank you for your time!

        • Hi Shane,

          My view is that early morning sunshine and activity are important, but eating is not. There is an alternative theory that one should eat a bit early in the morning as well. It could be true but there is not yet convincing data.

          Best, Paul

          • Thanks Paul! Maybe for my n=1 I will try a little of both and see how it goes. Thank you for your time!

  21. Mary Vanderplas

    Paul, I have been dealing with gut infections for over two years after having been on a very low carb diet for over six years before that. I continue to have SIBO even after several rounds of herbal antimicrobial treatment. I follow your plan as best I can but still have trouble eating too many carbs because of the SIBO. I also have very low T3. Do you have any suggestions for curing SIBO as well as helping with low T3? Thank you.

    • Hi Mary,

      Some keys for SIBO and for hypothyroidism are: intermittent fasting (but without reduction of food intake), circadian rhythm entrainment, vitamin A and D optimization (liver and sunshine; or supplements), lots of vitamin C, supplement glycine (5 g/day), taurine (1 g/day), and N-acetylcysteine (1 g/day), 3 egg yolks and 2 tbsp vinegar per day. Supplement iodine 225 mcg/day.

      Best, Paul

      • Mary Vanderplas

        Thank you, Paul. Some of these things I am doing already. I will try the others, too. I’ve had trouble with egg yolks in the past – feeling nauseated, achy, sleepy – but it’s been a while since I’ve eaten them, so I’ll try again and see. One more question: Do you think it would be good to do any antimicrobial herbs again for the SIBO? Or would you suggest that I just stick with working on improving digestion and immunity? Thank you.

        • Hi Mary,

          With the egg yolks, be sure to discard the whites; mix the yolks with food so they are diluted; and microwave long enough to cook the yolks. I wouldn’t go overboard with the antimicrobial herbs, but do use herbs in abundance to flavor your food, they are healthful. More important for SIBO is to get dietary extracellular matrix (from shellfish or soups/stews made from animal connective tissue) to improve gut barrier integrity, salt and iodine for stomach acid, to acidify the diet with vitamin C, vinegar, and bile acids (for which you need egg yolks, vitamin C, glycine, and taurine), support gut motility with the acetylcholine precursors vinegar and egg yolks, and to support mucosal immunity with vitamins A and D to support antimicrobial peptide production. Intermittent fasting starves the bacteria for 16 hours per day, giving your immune system a leg up, and promotes gut motility. Circadian rhythm entrainment does so as well, supporting night time immunity and gut motility to clear germs from the small intestine. Minimize alcohol.

          Best, Paul

          • Mary Vanderplas

            Paul, Thank you so much. Mary

          • Mary Vanderplas

            Paul, For the past two days I have tried eating just one egg yolk cooked the way you recommended but have not done very well – stomach upset, extreme sleepiness, joint stiffness. Do you have any suggestions? Do you think I should keep trying with the egg yolks? Or is there an alternative I could try? Thank you.

  22. Hi Paul,
    I recently was diagnosed with HPA axis dysregulation. My functional medicine dr wants me to take my supplements at breakfast and lunch. I don’t do breakfast and I’m fine until around noon. How should I take my first dose without breaking the 16 hr IF?

    Thanks in advance!

  23. bought the book and have tried it for a week. it is weird to eat so much rice and potato. I also don’t use calorie counter can you not use ounces or cup sizes instead? I also would be really happy if you had a suggested menu for a week or 2 that kind of trains you on amounts and what should be ate. I am single and the cooking is a pain. also only lost half a pound in a week which is not good. I am 40 lbs overweight.

  24. Hi Paul,

    I see how often you emphasize three egg “yolks” daily. Are the whites of the eggs off the diet? I usually scramble three eggs in the morning. Am I doing it wrong? Should I just be separating out the yolks?

    Thanks,

    Jim

  25. Paul,
    What would you do for insulin resistance? I don’t have diabetes but my insulin is very out of wack. Last test showed insulin shot to 50 before coming down and I have been perfectly PHD for a long time?? After I eat carb my eyes feel funny and sometimes I feel very hung over and very bad an hour after

  26. Hi Paul,

    First of all, thank you so much for your wonderful work. I haven’t looked through all of it; I only just now came across your site in a search on Candida and fasting/ketosis. But it seems like you are doing some great and important work.

    Unfortunately, I have not readily been able to find a definitive answer to my question of whether or not fasting has a detrimental effect on someone combating Candida overgrowth. And does it matter which stage of the healing process one is in while undergoing a fast? And when I say “fast”, I’m referring to a complete fast in a 24-hour period – no foods or liquids at all. The only thing I did take, however, was one probiotic pill (not high-dose billions but, rather, millions).

    I also only just now read that coconut oil actually raises one’s level of ketones. I have recently increased my coconut-oil intake dramatically – have found a wonderful recipe for coconut-oil chocolates, and even more recently I’ve been adding a tablespoon to my date-husk coffee. But have I been inadvertently feeding the candida and therefore killing some while keeping others alive? So confusing.. And then there’s something I just read about the ketones not being in the gut, but I didn’t totally understand that concept, whether it affects candida overgrowth or not.

    Any input you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much 🙂

  27. Dear Paul,

    I’ve read your book and am really impressed by it. I’m in a rough spot with my health right now and could use some guidance as what to do.

    I’ve recently discovered that I’m histamine intolerant; the reaction to any histamine rich/liberating food is severe headaches, rashes/itching, swollen face/puffy eyes, increased joint pain, sinus issues, inflammation, trouble sleeping, anxiety, hair loss… and so on. Some of these symptoms has been with me for quite some time and gets worse when ingesting histamine, some are only related to the histamine (like the puffiness/rashes etc).

    My questions are:

    What can I do to get better? What steps should I take?
    Do you recommend a low histamine diet, temporarily – and then a histamine balanced diet after a certain point?
    What do you think of supplementing with Daosin?

    I could really use some help! It would be very much appreciated!

    With kindness,
    Simone

  28. What is a carb calorie?

  29. Hello Dr. Jaminet,

    My Mother was diagnosed with Prediabetes in late 2015, and has been yo-yo dieting ever since. She is 52, 5’8”, 188 lbs, and 27% body fat.

    How should she alter the food intake recommendations to lower her blood sugar levels? Any specific foods to emphasize/eliminate? A specific ratio of carbs-fats-proteins?

    Your help would be greatly appreciated.

    Best regards,

    Andy

  30. Well most diets these days are using the same concept. Avoid this, eat that because its healthy.

    How is possible to be the “Perfect Diet” when allows honey as healthy, the moment it isn’t?

    Straight talk about high-fructose corn syrup: what it is and what it ain’t

    Honey isn’t as healthy as we think

    Or when this “Perfect” diet promotes coffee and vegetable oils (palm oil?), two of the worst recommendations.

    How Coffee is Making You Fat

    6 Reasons Why Vegetable Oils Can be Harmful

    Palm oil: bad news for forests, and your liver

    Thanks, but no, thanks.

    • Hi Krken,

      You should read the book. For a start, you need the concept that nutrients are beneficial up to a point, then cease to beneficial in higher quantities, and can eventually become toxic in very high doses. This doesn’t argue against eating moderate amounts.

      Honey is an excellent example of a food which is fine in small doses.

      The coffee critique does not have a single observation demonstrating that the observed effects are harmful. The presence of fungal mycotoxins in coffee has been refuted in a number of studies.

      The critique of vegetable oils that you cite is based entirely on criticism of omega-6 and trans-fats, all of which critiques can be found in our book, and which are why we limit these fats to at most 3% of calories. But not all vegetable oils are high in omega-6 or trans-fats. Palm oil is one that isn’t. Others such as avocado oil or olive oil or many nut butters are moderate in omega-6 content and can be eaten in moderation.

      The palm oil critique was based on an overfeeding study, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=24550191, in which participants ate 3 muffins with 750 calories “on top of the normal diet.” Of course body fat increases during overfeeding. Saturated fats are known to exacerbate the negative effects of energy-excess diets, but that is part of a normal physiological process by which they help prevent over-eating and maintain a normal-energy diet and a normal weight. Overall, the effects of eating saturated fat in moderation (and as a high percentage of total fat intake) are highly beneficial to health. Please note that your critique of palm oil is in contradiction to your critique of vegetable oils.

      Best, Paul

  31. Palm oil is a fruit oil.

    I recommend reading the book. It lays out the foundation of the diet in a clear manner. All of your questions will be answered.

    Best
    Peter

  32. Hey Paul,

    The PHD book is a truly amazing body of work.

    Do you have any insight on prostatitis? I’ve found that this plagues many men and it’s medical ambiguity lies within the shadows of diet.

    This infection could be bacterial or fungal.

    Some have recommended low carbs, low sugar. Any added insight?

    Thank you so much!

  33. Hi, I note in your writings some distrust of plant protein. I am an ethical wholefood-eating vegan who is switching to a higher protein, lower starch, more fat (nuts/avocados) diet with added seaweed based loosely on Aviva Romm’s work.
    With the PHD is it possible to switch the meat, eggs and dairy to plant alternatives and see benefits?
    Obviously don’t want a debate on my choice to be vegan because I simply won’t change that. But interested in your thoughts on getting best diet as a vegan.

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