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. Is hemp oil okay? It seems to have good omega 3.

  2. Awesome!

    One question tho – What’s inherently wrong with peanuts? I would think they’d be fine in moderation with the other nuts…

  3. Hi Paul, you recommend almond butter, what about almond itself (raw or roasted), and walnuts? thanks!

  4. Hi Paul,
    While best to eat sweet potatoes in whole food form, what is your view of Japchae noodles (Korean glass noodles) made of sweet potato?

    And if you eat them occasionally yourselves, is their a brand that you prefer for safety and contents?

    I recently had them at a paleo retreat and was shocked to learn that they were made from sweet potato starch (they look like kelp noodles). They are delicious.


    • I would love to hear his answer to this, since I love these noodles and eat them once a week.

      • I think the article says that gluten free foods made from potato and tapioca starch are okay. Sweet Potato starch is just Tapioca starch from a different root vegetable.

  5. Hi, Paul, read your book and implemented it immediately. I have had hypertension for a few years. shortly after practicing PHD, my BP readings started going down. I was really happy. To make the diet even better I started doing intermittent fasting with the eating window of 6 hours, my BP began to elevate, now it is back to where it was at 150-160/90-100. Read a thread on Dr. Mosley’ site, many people reported the same elevation of BP to various degrees once starting fast. Would you please commend on this? Thank you very much!

  6. I am a 66 year-old female, 5’4″, 115 pounds, pretty sedentary lifestyle because of being limited to chair and floor exercises due to chronic foot problems. Have eaten whole foods for decades, paleo for a few years now. Overall health is good. Here’s the question: I can’t eat anywhere near the amounts of food each day that the PHD suggests! Haven’t kept track exactly, but I’d say I can get in maybe between 25-50% of those amounts. Do you recommend that I just scale back the quantities to my needs, but keep the same proportions with each food group in the apple? Or, for example, should I not go below the .7 lb of meat, fish, and eggs per day, but just scale back the veggies, sweet plants, and safe starches, keeping about equal amounts of each of those 3 categories, as in the PHD plan? Not sure how to proceed! Any advice you can give is welcome. Thanks!

    • Forgot to say that I eat about 2 oz of cooked meat or fish plus 1 or 2 veggies at each of my 3 meals every day. Also, I have one snack a day which is usually a very small amount of nuts or seeds along with one serving of fruit. And good amounts of the healthy fats every day. That’s pretty much my diet. Weight has been stable for years.

      • Sorry to keep adding in spurts! 🙂 At any given meal, I eat about a cup of cooked veggies total. Trying to give you a better idea of the quantities I’m consuming. I generally just drink water or herb tea. I’m not filling up with calorie drinks or anything else like desserts or whatever.

  7. Paul,

    I have read your book and Mark Sissons’ Primal Blueprint. As he wrote a foreword for your book, how do you reconcile the differences between your optimized meal suggestions? Your plate has safe starches, his plate avoids carbs. Here is his keto recommended macro breakdown. 65-75% caloric intake from fat, 15-25% caloric intake from protein, 5-10% caloric intake from carbohydrates.

  8. barbara sandquist

    Just had my first PHD meal, at noon breaking my fast. My blood glucose after one hour was 192 (started at 103). That’s not acceptable for a T2 diabetic. Would rice noodles be better? I had 3/4 c. white rice, cut-up chicken with 1 T. teriyaki sauce, 1 T. vinegar, snap peas and shredded carrots. For other seasonings I used cilantro and green onions.

    • Barbara,
      I can suggest a few things for your consideration.
      I would do a few experiments to see what you learn.
      Use more fat in your meal. Butter, coconut oil, beef fat, even olive oil. If in doubt how much, err on the side of more.
      Use more low calorie vegetables (for fiber). Asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, spinach.
      Use a little more vinegar unless the taste is off putting. It was good that you included some. A little more might be better.
      Think sauces. Fat, plus vinegar, plus soy sauce. Bone broth would be good too, but you don’t have to have it all the time. Mostly try to make something delicious that has a lot of good fat and some acid (vinegar, or citrus juice, or tomato, or wine).
      I think your choice of 3/4 cup of rice is about the right amount to experiment with.
      If you haven’t been eating carbs you may need 3 or 4 days of eating carbs before your body doesn’t overreact.
      If you are worried about high readings doing the initial experiments, eat half as much carb but more often for a few days and see if you don’t go as high over time.
      Egg yolks mixed into hot rice is delicious and a great way to put very healthy fats into rice.
      Mushrooms, broccoli sautéed in coconut oil or butter and served with rice & egg yolks is a favorite of mine.
      Cucumbers, sliced and covered in salt , pepper and rice vinegar are a delicious way to get more vinegar and low calorie fiber into your meal.
      I find that I am more sensitive to carbs in the morning after fasting 16 hours than I am in the following meals.
      You might experiment and see if fewer carbs at breakfast and more carbs later in the day might allow you to get used to eating carbs without getting very high glucose levels.

      Good luck,

    • Let me also add that I tolerate steamed and cooled potatoes better than rice. I steam Yukon gold potatoes for about an hour and then refrigerate for use throughout the week (thereby benefitting from increased resistant starch and lower glycemic load). This is very easy and convenient. Chopped potatoes cooked (really just warmed up) in coconut oil is delicious and easy. I’m able to easy tolerate 10 ounces per meal withou my glucose going too high. You might do some experiments with cooked and cooled potatoes. They are more nutrient dense than rice and offer variety.

  9. barbara sandquist

    Thank you so much, Randy. Your suggestions were very helpful. I think you could be right about the potatoes. Yukon Gold are my favorites, but not as filling as rice.

    • You can eat a lot more potato than rice for the same amount of starch. Roughly twice as much by weight according to Chronometer.

      Glad you found it helpful.

      • Also, I should have added that a ten or fifteen minute walk after meals reduces my peak blood glucose very very significantly.

  10. Hey Paul what is your take on Dr William Li’s take on soy (as safe) discussed in his new book and this blog post:

    Very interesting in hearing your take.

  11. Valinda Jensen

    New here I believe this might just be exactly what I desperately need
    I am searching for approved list of safe starches, and having diffowith approved fats is there actual list anywhere?

  12. Hi Paul,

    First, thanks so very much for your work — it’s helped me overcome interstitial cystitis and simultaneous digestive issues. I’ve been on the PHD now for about 18 months and it’s been truly life-changing. I’ve turned my family and friends onto it.

    I would now like to go on the ketogenic version of the diet (I may have some neurological issues) and have a few questions. I’m in Europe and MCT oil is very expensive — is coconut oil just as good? and if so, should I take the same amount as the MCT oil (recommended on p. 158 of your book, 2012 edition)? Secondly, besides taking the MCT/coconut oil and the branched-chain amino acids, I’m wondering what else needs to change to go into ketosis, given that I’m already doing 16 hour fasts, on zero fructose and eat only small amounts of safe carbs. Should I really change the amount or proportion of carbs or protein? I feel I’m at a good level of these for my body size (I don’t want to risk losing weight, like I did on a low-carb diet before finding PHD — I’m at my right weight now — and I don’t want to overdo the animal protein). My general rule is that twice a day my plate should have 1/3 veggies, 1/3 potatoes or rice, and 1/3 meat, eggs or fish, usually with a dollop of cream, plus as much cheese, yoghurt, nuts and seeds as I feel like at other times (and vinegar, bone broth, etc). Does this sound right for keto as well? Or should I change the proportions, or ramp up the cheese and cream? And if my food intake is at the right levels and proportions, do you have more precise recommendations for supplements (than given in the book)? Are the supplements really necessary? I’m a bit wary of keto after my experience on low-carb, but I think it may be helpful.

    Again, thank you so much! And best of luck with your exciting current projects.


  13. PS, going off fructose was a key to my overcoming the interstitial cystitis, and I haven’t really gone back on it.

  14. Recently, in the PHD Facebook group, the dad of a young daughter asked about selecting food for his finicky daughter. He shared the label from a pasta product made with, among other things, potatoes and wheat, and asked if the group thought it was okay, acknowledging that he knew it had wheat in it. Another reader replied, assuring him that the wheat was not a problem and that not everyone has issues with it. I agree that we need to feed our children, and, sometimes, we are faced with having to compromise what we feel is best. I completely get this. But I challenged the notion of recommending wheat consumption in the PHD group, and was overruled.

    I’m curious what your current position is, Paul. Your own little boy has likely given you some challenges at the meal table, so perhaps you have relaxed you approach to cereal grains, as well. I tagged a few admin so that they could comment, and one said that she was eating “all the grains now.” This made me wonder if you have changed your position

    I won’t ever go back to wheat, as I’ve had so many improvements. A recent weird thing was that there is a bread made by the Franz baking company, and they make a gluten-free sorghum flour bread, which made perfect bread to have with my poached eggs. But after consuming that bread several times a week for a couple months I suddenly had sciatica, which was very, very painful. Vitamin B12 helped but I had to take several spays throughout the day to keep the pain away. Finally, I made the connection that it was the bread. Stopped that and after two weeks no more pain in that leg. So very weird.

    • Hi Dale,

      It is hard to make categorical statements about wheat. On the one hand, there are plentiful reasons to distrust grains. On the other hand, “the dose makes the poison.” So eating one-tenth as much may be one-thousandth as dangerous. I don’t think grains should be eaten as staple foods, e.g. cereal at breakfast, bread at lunch, pasta and rolls at dinner. But occasional wheat products, e.g. eating wheat as frequently as spinach or broccoli, I think is unlikely to be harmful except in rare cases.

      Individuals, such as yourself, may be unusually sensitive and may need to avoid the whole class of grains entirely. Arguing from the other side, many people have used wheat as a staple food for thousands of years, and wheat consumption is not obviously correlated with longevity. So the effects should not be large in most people, as long as the quantity is kept down.

      There is an immunological argument in favor of dietary diversity and exposing children to potentially immunogenic foods so that you can shape the immune system. In recent years, it has become clear that depriving very young children of certain foods may make them more likely to develop allergies to those foods.

      We’ve been blessed, Luke has never been picky about foods. We do PHD at home but he eats some wheat when out of the home, and we have not noticed an issue.

      Best, Paul

  15. Gabby O’Neill

    This is the first time I’ve ever left a comment or asked a question, I am very new to all this. My 11 yr old son has developed profound OCD, so much so he becomes non-verbal and has uncontrollable facial ticks and gestures. He is on 20mg of Prozac which seemed to help at first but stopped working recently, causing my son to exhibit even more devastating symptoms. I am beginning to believe his diet, while not horrible, is a major factor. I am going to read your book, and my question might be answered there but which protocol should we follow?

    • Hi Gabby,

      OCD is typically driven by gut infections and resulting inflammation. It is tough for him to have developed it so young, because he doesn’t have a baseline of normal cognitive function to remember, and so he won’t easily be able to distinguish his disease from his own personality.

      He should adopt PHD. Some keys are: (1) natural whole foods diet – eliminate processed foods made with starch, sugar, oil as the top ingredients; (2) specific foods to include: 3 egg yolks per day, some apple cider vinegar mixed into food, extracellular matrix (shellfish, soups/stews made with bones, joints, tendons); (3) vitamin A and D optimization; (4) zinc, copper, magnesium, iodine, potassium, salt optimization; (5) circadian rhythm entrainment — coordinated sun / blue light exposure, exercise, meal timing, social interactions, stress timing all in the day, at night orange light, rest, no food except bedtime glycine, intimate family only and minimal or no TV / screen time (try music or reading books), no stress at night, consistent bedtime in darkened room; (6) N-acetylcysteine 1 g per day and glycine 3 g per day just before bedtime.

      Best wishes! Paul

  16. Hi there-
    Why is sour cream on the ok list but daily overall is not?
    I am curious as to what Kind of milk is ok in my morning coffee!
    Thanks in advance

    • Sorry- meant to say dairy overall!

    • Hi Rebecca, galactose/lactose in excess can be toxic, therefore we favor fatty or fermented dairy foods (e.g. cheese, butter, cream, sour cream, yogurt) over milk. But in small doses milk is fine, so milk in coffee is OK. One note, milk does bind and inhibit absorption/activity of some beneficial compounds in coffee, so it may be beneficial to drink coffee black.

      Best, Paul

  17. Maybe I missed it but where do you stand with respect to fermented dairy consumption like yogurt or cheese? Is it part of the PHD or is would you recommend to include them?


    • Funny you ask, Paul just answered that in the comment just above;

      “Hi Rebecca, galactose/lactose in excess can be toxic, therefore we favor fatty or fermented dairy foods (e.g. cheese, butter, cream, sour cream, yogurt) over milk. But in small doses milk is fine, so milk in coffee is OK. One note, milk does bind and inhibit absorption/activity of some beneficial compounds in coffee, so it may be beneficial to drink coffee black.

      Best, Paul”

  18. Sam Pierce-Jones

    What about seeds?

  19. Just an update— It’s tough starting out to follow the diet exactly but I’m pretty close. I don’t have the recommended amount of carbs every day. I’ve been doing a carb pig out day on Sunday. I eat until I’m full every meal, never hungry. Good satisfying meals. I’ve lost 17 pounds without even really trying. This morning for breakfast I had two of our own free range eggs (We have about 40 chickens and 15 ducks. Duck eggs are delicious if you’ve never tried them), a little cottage cheese and tomato and a half avocado. I skipped lunch because I wasn’t the slightest bit hungry. For supper I had a big hunk of salmon fried in coconut oil, a big salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar, and a little broccoli with butter. For dessert two squares of dark chocolate with a little almond butter. Are you kidding me?! I’m eating like a king, not counting calories, and losing weight. Thank you Paul and Shou-Ching!

  20. I am suffering from Sibo and constipation I don’t know what to do I am so desperate, should I try this diet? Rifaximin and Flagyl worsened my bloating and constipation. Low Fodmap diet didn’t cure my Sibo. Should I take probiotics? Please please answer me.

    • What about fruits? And which vegetables should I eat? Should I stick to low Fodmap vegetables? And what about fermented vegetables? I take Resolor and Motil Pro and Iberogast daily and still don’t have bowel movements and have to use glycerin suppository. The gastroenterologist here in Germany prescribed me Mutaflor for at least 6 months. Please help me, thank you so much. I pray one day I will be healthy again

      • Hi, Sarah. I had gut issues for years, including SIBO and leaky gut. I treated the SIBO with various herbal antimicrobials, which worked to some degree. But I still had a lot of stomach distress – gas, bloating, pain. I still had leaky gut. Now, I am finally on the mend. The only thing that has worked to heal my leaky gut is total elimination of plant foods from my diet. For the past going on two months, I’ve been a strict carnivore and feel like a different person. No more gut pain, gas, bloating, etc. I have my life back. At this point, my plan is to with this for at least another month or two and then gradually reintroduce plants into my diet, but at very small quantities. I don’t think I handle fiber well so I will never eat a lot of plant food again. But I also think that plant foods have some good things for human health and so I don’t want to eliminate them completely forever. But I will see how I do when I begin to reintroduce them. I’m sorry for the long epistle. I hope at least some of it helps. I’m not an authority. I just know what has worked for me and what hasn’t. Right now, there is no such thing as a “safe starch” for my gut. I’ve gone down that path and just increased my misery and frustration. I feel your desperation. Hang in there. You might want to check out the Paleolithic Ketogenic diet prescribed by the Paleomedicina clinic in Hungary. They treat a lot of people with leaky gut and other persistent issues. Wishing you all the best, Mary

    • Hi Sarah,

      Our diet is excellent for SIBO and constipation, so yes, you should try it.

      Re your experience with the antimicrobial drugs, they can paradoxically make you feel worse when they are working by killing microbes, fragmenting them and releasing cell wall components that are highly inflammatory. I’m not saying that’s what is happening, but I wouldn’t rule them out. It’s best to get diet and lifestyle in order first so that you have optimized your internal situation, then experiment with them carefully. Drugs can be a positive factor helping to tip the balance of power in your favor, but they are not a cure-all. Probiotics are similar to the drugs, they can help but they can also aggravate inflammation, best to implement diet and lifestyle changes first. L. reuteri is a good probiotic to start with,

      Some key things to do: 1) optimize vitamin A and D. These are important for gut mucosal immunity. 2) Eat extracellular matrix from shellfish and soups/stews made with bones/joints/tendons. This helps heal tissue. 3) Intermittent fasting. Give your gut a daily 16 hour rest. 4) Circadian rhythm entrainment. Daily bright sun starting in the morning, bright light all day, limit lights to orange for 12 hours nightly (or wear blue-blocking glasses), exercise in the morning, avoid stress at night, no food or exercise or blue/white light at night. 5) Apple cider vinegar (2 tbsp per day, mixed with food or water, shouldn’t sting) and 3 egg yolks per day. In general, food acids like lemon juice, vinegar, vitamin C, and malic acid from apples are beneficial.

      For constipation see You need to support bile acid production so dietary fats (favoring saturated fats), glycine (1 heaping teaspoon before bed), taurine (500 mg to 1 g per day), vitamin C are helpful.

      The other steps recommended in the book are also helpful, but these will get you started. Please come back and update us on your progress.

      Best, Paul

  21. I will. Thank you so much, Paul, I am holding your book in my hands and will follow your recommendations and the PHD, I am very optimistic. God bless you and your family, Sarah

  22. nick vanderwal

    I have just finished my second reading of your fine book, and think I have been eating pretty reasonably within the guidelines of the PHD for a full year. The question I have has to do with ice cream which the book states is okay to eat. Why does the sugar content of ice cream not disqualify it as a PHD item? Thank you.

  23. Just curious – how is it that my boyfriend takes a multivitamin daily that includes 400 IU vitamin D and he ends up with a deficiency?
    I also have a similar experience myself; I had a vitamin D deficiency even despite eating foods that were rich in vitamin D – eggs, salmon, and ice cream. My boyfriend also drinks at least one glass of milk a day (which I don’t). We are Caucasian; not sure if that makes any difference. How could this happen?

    • Hi S,

      People need 4000 IU of vitamin D per day, so the multivitamin dose is 10% of the daily requirement. (Most should be obtained from sun, so the RDA is set much lower.) Food, even vitamin D fortified dairy, has small amounts of vitamin D, so it is not an adequate source. You need sunshine or, failing that, supplements. 2500 IU/day is a good supplement dose for those lacking sun exposure, e.g. in winter in the north.

      Best, Paul

  24. Hi, Paul,

    I posted a question back on March 18 and am asking again, really hoping you’ll be able to reply. The bottom line is that I can’t eat anywhere near the quantities of food each day that the PHD calls for. I’m 67 y.o, female, 115 lbs, weight stable for decades, sedentary lifestyle b/c of chronic foot issues, overall health is very good. Should I scale quantities of all the food categories (meat/fish/eggs; starchy veggies; sugary plants) back equally, so that I keep the same proportions as in the PHD? Or should I do something different? Please help on this if you can! (There is more info on what and how much I eat in the March 18 post). Thank you!

    • Hi Xenia,

      Just eat to appetite, in PHD proportions. PHD doesn’t prescribe a specific amount of calories, that differs for every person, and declines as they age. The amounts are described in terms of a 2000-calorie reference diet, which is generally too much for women (even young women), and too little for men.

      As an older person, you’ll need relatively more protein and vegetables and relatively less starch and fat than a younger person. But in general, PHD proportions are still close to optimum. If you adjust slightly to your taste, you’ll do well.

      Best, Paul

  25. Hi Paul,

    I just finished a strong treatment of antibiotics for a bacterial infection in my throat/ears/sinuses and I’m now wondering how to rebuild my system. I was diagnosed with Candida, IBS and gut disbiosis a few months ago and I’m worried that this has made it even worse.

    In have a long list of health problems and I know that my gut problems are at the basis of them.

    Any probiotics hurt my stomach, and many other supplements as well. I’m very sensitive. What/how can I eat specifically to regain my health and rebalance my gut flora? I would love to be able to eat mostly vegetarian with legumes and some fish, is that possible?

    I would be so thankful for your help!

    • Hi Ilsa,

      If you have a fungal infection of hte gut, then antibiotics will have made it worse.

      I would start by eating (1) extracellular matrix from shellfish and soups/stews made with bones/joints/tendons, this will help healing, bile production, and immunity; (2) vitamin A and D optimization per the book; (3) circadian rhythm entrainment per the book; (4) intermittent fasting (8 hour daily feeding window in the daytime, 16 hour fasting period with no calories); (5) 3+ eggs per day, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar per day (distributed over the day and mixed with food or beverages); (6) supplement N-acetylcysteine and glycine, taking glycine at dessert/last food.

      For diet, the most important thing is a natural whole foods diet. Avoid processed foods in which starch, sugar, or oil are ingredients.

      Best, Paul

  26. I will follow your advice. Thank you so much!

  27. Has N-acetylcysteine anything to do with acetylsalicylic acid (I’m allergic to that)?

  28. Ah,good!Thank you. I’ll try it. 🙂

  29. 2 pounds of veggies and starches a day?
    No way this is optimal.

    The starting point of diet should be what we evolved on, and then tweaking using all modern data.

    We now have solid evidence on what neandrathals and early homo sapiens actually ate, based on new isotope analysis methods.

    Google search this. Lots of great data out there now. The debate is settled at this point.

    We evolved to eat roughly a 90%+ diet of fresh meat. No longer debatable. Our isotope signatures for meat eating are even HIGHER than carnivores and neandrathals (which were higher than carnivores).

    As someone that is literally made ill by numerous plant foods, and who has solved his decade long battle with chronic fatigue syndrome, im well aware that plants in our diets should be much much lower than a pound+ a day.

    Im on many low carb and carnivore groups, carefully watching the anecdotal evidence pile high, and its astonishing how many people heal and get better as they drop more and more plant food from their diet.

    Im stronger, fitter, healthier in my 50’s than my 20’s now, and have the blood tests to prove it, a prestine colonoscopy, and a perfect zero score on my CAC heart scan. My heart disease risk could not go a any lower according to every modern CVD risk calculator.

    The big change was going high fat, moderate protein, low carb, and removing the majority of vegetables from my diet. I eat a little bit of fruit.

    This is in line with our evolution.
    Your diet is far far too high in vegetables which will make many people ill. It is not compatible with our evolution.

    • With all due respect, since you’re the one making the claims, you should be providing the evidence. I’m more than willing to keep an open mind.

    • Just because you thrive on a carnivore diet, doesn’t mean that it’s the optimal diet for everyone. I followed this logic even though I felt like garbage for more than 2 years and have ruined my health because of it. People told me it was an adaptation issue so I stuck with it long enough that I have done seemingly irreversible damage to my health that so far nobody can specifically identify what it is or how I can go back to where I was pre-carnivore.

      As far as the evidence being “no longer debatable” is absolutely not true. You are just subscribing to a fallacy that supports a diet that works for YOU personally, and because the diet also works for many others, you believe that it is not debatable.

      If you look at the isotope analysis you refer to, you’ll find that these tests only identify foods with significant amounts of protein that were being eaten. This means that humans could have been eating large amounts of foods with small amounts of protein (many many plant foods) and they would not show up in these tests.

      If the carnivore diet works well for you and others, then great. But don’t spread your nutritional propaganda on a site where people are desperately seeking salvation from chronic health problems because you might cause someone harm. The carnivore diet works very well for some people but is disastrous to others if continued for too long.

      Optimal nutrition will be debatable for a long time to come, so don’t fool yourself based on what is currently working for you.

  30. Just bought the book. How about pre-diabetic condition such as high blood sugar. Can I act on this book from that perspective.

  31. Hi everyone! I’m a 42 years old male and for some time now, I’m trying to understand, scientifically speaking, how things work when it comes to nutrition and what is the healthiest diet for me and my family. I’ve heard so many opinions and I know so many angry vegans and plant based diet people that I was almost convinced. Lately I’ve seen the movie The Game Changers and I’ve seen some pretty convincing stuff.
    Surfing the net I found Ben Greenfield and this is how I found the PHD book which I almost finished. I love the book. Obviously Paul and Shou-Ching….you guys did an amazing job and it’s so nice to see scientifically explained ideas. Basically, I started to eat more PHD oriented meals and my wife and my kids follow. We are healthy but we are scared about all the cancer around us including 2 of our parents.
    Anyway, to make the long story shorter, I still have in mind a few things that remained uncleared from the plant based diet movie The Game Changers. I would highly appreciate it if you could help me understand all of it.
    Well, to name a few of the things, in the movie they say that soy contains fito-estrogens which are the opposite to estrogens so they have the opposite effect; meaning soy is actually good and act by blocking the estrogens from attaching to human cells. Another one would be that animal protein comes with inflammatory molecules and vegetable protein comes with anti oxidants. Or that eating animal product would lead to add cholesterol plaque on our arteries. Or that eating only vegetable protein reduces heart disease by 50%. Also, the cholesterol drops on plant based diet people to 110.
    There are also some amazingly shredded athletes that are using plant based diets.
    DO you have any comments, would you be kind enough to make me understand all that?
    Respect! And thank you for the book you wrote!


    • Hi Paul – I also recently watched The Game Changers, and am curious your view. I’m particularly interested in your view regarding the claim that animal protein causes inflammation while plant protein does not? Thank you!

  32. Why not to eat peanuts?

  33. Hi Paul, I need some advice for a meal plan for my dad that has been diagnosed with B Cells Lymphoma that has been spread.
    He is 75 and refuses to go through chemotherapy but he would like to follow a healthy diet! He is very positive that a diet will help him a lot. He is trying to go without meats, milk, sugar and grains( following an other diet that somebody recommended for 4 months). Could you please help us choose what is best for him, some advice and why do you thing is not ok to go without meet! Thank you so much!

    • Hi Emilia,

      I’m afraid I don’t know what diet might be most helpful against lymphoma as an isolated intervention. The cancer needs the same nutrients as the rest of your body (it is a human cell type), so it is not obvious how to adjust the diet. I can guarantee that circadian rhythm entrainment and intermittent fasting will be helpful. I believe pharmaceutical treatments for lymphoma often work. IF he undertakes chemotherapy, PHD would be a good pairing as it would mitigate toxicity to normal cells. Many cancer patients have reported tolerating chemotherapy very well on PHD.

      Best, Paul

  34. Thank you so much for your answer!

  35. Please could someone advise as to why “peanuts should be absolutely excluded”? Many thanks

  36. Hi Emilia, my dad had lymphoma. Forgot what stage he had, but they give him a 50/50 chance. He survived, and 25 yrs later today, he’s still cancer free. His doctors consider him to be cured as of this moment. They’re no longer calling it remission, and no longer doing follow-ups with him. One thing I know is that when he did have the cancer, and had his apetite, my Italian grandmother fed him as well as she could, meats, lots of vegetables, fruits, starches. I would say PHD diet is a good place to start, because nourishment is key. There were often times he could not eat, he was on I.V for a while at one point, he got very thin, from 180 lbs to 115 lbs, in those cases my grandmother had no choice to give him ENSURE, she popped that can open as often as possible, and faster than you could say “Boo”, forced him even if it couldn’t go down. Lastly, my dad remembers having 2 major cravings while having lymphoma. Which til this day I still find intriguing. He said he was always craving orange juice and celery, nonstop. Even if no food could go down, the celery or the orange juice did not bother him. So perhaps, vitamin C and something in celeries may be healing to the body, and very crucial in that kind of state. One last ingredient which I believe made a huge difference, prayer. We all prayed like never before. 😀 Just saying.

    Take courage, and never lose faith.
    God bless.

  37. Hello, i don’t know what to think anymore about omega 6, no they are studies showing benefits if taken instead of Saturated fat, check this article for exemple:

    what is your position?

  38. how about chickpeas/hummus, ok to eat in moderation? What about brown rice syrup?

  39. Should honey and maple syrup be avoided? What about stevia? Thanks!

    • They needn’t be totally avoided, but in general it’s good practice to minimize the micronutrient-less calorie sources like sugar, starch, oil/fat, and similars. Honey has significant nutrition so it is something of an exception to that rule; maple syrup is also better than e.g. corn syrup but not as good as honey. Stevia is calorie-less but does impact gut bacteria. In general we favor eating natural whole foods and avoiding sweeteners. Using them is reasonable for a transitional period, but over time your tastes will change and you won’t need them any more.

      Best, Paul

    • If interested, Sarah Ballantyne wrote about the benefits of honey. I found it surprising:

  40. it is cooked or uncooked the weight??

  41. It would be great if I could get some input if my diet is ok. I would say it follows the PHD guidelines, but I don’t know if I’m missing something.

    I mostly eat plants; potatoes, sweet potatoes, other root veggies, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, leafy greens, mushrooms and so on… and more fatty things like avocados and olives… a few times a week I eat basmati rice.

    I eat 4 eggs / day (mostly just the yolk, but sometimes the whole egg).

    I eat various nuts (almonds, pistachios…)

    As for dairy I eat ghee (sometimes butter), full-fat yogurt, cheese (mostly cottage cheese, feta, gruyère, parmesan), sometimes fresh milk.

    I eat fish/seafood at 4 meals / week (mostly salmon, or sardines).

    Twice a month or so I eat organic beef (I don’t really enjoy it, would it be ok to not eat meat, or would I miss out on some important nutrients then?)

    Sweet things include; fresh fruit like apples, bananas, oranges, some honey and dried figs, 85% dark chocolate, lots of berries.

    I drink mineral water (with ACV and berries) and peppermint tea, sometimes hot cacao.

    At the moment I’m taking some supplements, but would like not to (are some not necessary?) – Vit D3, K2, C, Colostrum, Omega 3, Digestive enzymes, Probiotics and Collagen Peptides.

    I think that’s, sort of it… 🙂

    I would be so thankful for a reply!


  42. Garrett Bose

    Hi! Have you ever experimented with brown rice vs white rice to see if you feel any difference? If so, how was it?

    • I have eaten brown rice occasionally, but I prefer basmati… I don’t know if I feel any difference, and I don’t know how ‘bad’ it is to eat brown rice….

  43. Hi Paul,
    I have Celiac disease and on this site I read that circulating auto-antibodies to Collagen’s I, III, V, & VI have been found in those with Celiac Disease. Does this mean that consuming bone broth and collagen peptides could cause an adverse gluten like reaction in people like myself with Celiac disease?
    Thank you in advance!

  44. I have a concern with my heart health. I have been doing the PHDiet for a year and I have developed a chest pain last month after I replaced butter, eggs, and cream with tallow and coconut oil due to an itchy reaction. Is it possible too much tallow and coconut oil may be not good for me? Maybe my heart disease was caused by another factor. I have been exercising daily.

    • Hi Garrett,

      Yes, too much fat is not good for you. You don’t want to eat an excess of calories and want to have enough micronutrition to accompany the fat. In general, pure fats and oils are better replaced by whole foods like eggs. Are you eating in accord with our food plate? It calls for about 2 tbsp of fat or oil per day as a flavoring or cooking oil.

      Best, Paul

      • Alright, I am reducing my fat intake to two tablespoons of fat a day. I thought unlimited SaFA and MUFA are healthy as stated in the book, on page 133, “SaFA and MUFA are nontoxic; they are beneficial, for that matter, even when eaten in very large amounts.” Also I am going to increase my potassium intake. Hopefully this will help. Thanks for the advice.

  45. I would love for you to share your past years’ personal experience and discovery from refining your diet to your best health, like how you figure certain food works or not. Your book is great in defining through science. If you can share your personal stories, it would be awesome!

  46. Hi Paul,

    I followed keto and then carnivore diet for a combined 3+ years because I was convinced that the history, combined with so many great testimonials, of the carnivore diet spoke for themselves. However, the keto diet made me feel terrible and gave me very strange reactions. Then 2+ years of carnivore diet, although initially making me feel better, made me even worse in the long run.

    These diets caused a development of extreme and weird anxiety that returning to a normal diet for several months has not resolved. I also have some very strange symptoms that doctors can’t explain that I know for a fact are somehow tied to the diets I did.

    So I purchased your book and have been applying your diet closely and I have seen some small improvements, but not the improvements I need to see. I need my life back.

    Your book mentions that you had “neurological symptoms” that resolved after you tied them to a bacterial infection. It also mentions that your very low carb diet caused a systemic fungal infection that I’m assuming you fixed. How did you know you had a bacterial infection and how did you fix you systemic fungal infection?

    I go to doctors and they look at me like a deer in headlights, yet you are diagnosing and solving bacterial and fungal infections that I think I might have…especially the fungal infection. Do you offer consultations? I need help to recover from these diets I did and multiple doctors have looked at me like they have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s very discouraging to know how little doctors know.

    • Hi Adam,

      I don’t offer consultations. The keys to overcoming these infections are to support immunity by (1) vitamin A and vitamin D optimization, (2) zinc/copper/vitamin C optimization along with glutathione support (I favor taurine in the morning and glycine in the evening), (3) PHD, (4) circadian rhythm entrainment, (5) intermittent fasting with a focus on eating in the morning or mid-day after exercise.

      Best, Paul

      • I’m curious. You haven’t taken or recently stopped taking any benzodiazepines have you? You would not believe the range of symptoms they can cause. I know from personal experience. I took Xanax at the lowest dose for six months or so and then quit cold turkey because of the side effects. The withdrawal lasted four years! I was bedridden for over two years. Horrible, horrible drugs.

        • Don,

          I have/am taking a very low dose of Clonazepam which is a longer/slower acting less pronounced version of Xanax. But I only started taking it after the severe anxiety/panic started after my years of VLC/carnivore dieting, so I don’t think this is the cause of it.

          However, you make a good point and maybe I should jump off the benzodiazepine ship before it sinks. It’s just very hard when every waking minute of your life is a panicky nightmare that no doctors can even correctly diagnose and only want to give you SSRIs etc. that don’t work and actually make it worse.

      • Thanks Paul, I apologize for the late response. I kind of assumed you wouldn’t reply but I greatly appreciate that you did.

        I have already been doing PHD for several months so I’ll have to focus on the other factors you mentioned.

        I have been getting recurring yeast infections for almost 15 years now so I’m positive I have a fungal infection that might be quite severe. I’ll spare you and your readers the details, but the symptoms are extensive and this may or may not have anything to do with my weird reactions to the VLC diets I did.

        I took Diflucan every day for a week which my doctor was sure would get rid of my recurring yeast infections, and all it did was reduce the symptoms for about a week. Then it came raging back and was even worse than it was prior to the treatment. It seemed like all the Diflucan did was make it angry.

        Am I able to overcome an infection of this magnitude, assuming I’m correct (and potentially others I don’t know about) by simply following your instructions in your previous comment? Or would I need to take your suggestions in conjunction with some type of anti-fungal treatment?

        For the record, I think it’s a disgrace that a non-MD like yourself is helping people like me with problems that MDs don’t even know where to begin with. I wish my doctor had your knowledge…or even half of it.

        • Check out Erik Bakker, ND’s YouTube videos and website. He does online consultations.

        • Hi Adam, I have also experienced many issues since going keto/carnivore for years. I’ve been off the diet for 3 years but I still feel awful. Can you provide an update? Has anything you’ve tried helped?

      • Paul,

        Is there any way to test for and diagnose fungal and bacterial infections? Or do I just need to work on creating an environment that gets rid of any and all infections I might have without worrying about which ones specifically I might have?

        • Check out Erik Bakker’s website and YouTube videos. I’m still in the learning process and have already had tremendous success by taking herbal antifungals, eating better, avoiding alcohol and sugar.

  47. Hi, I wonder if you and your wife has read this:

    I would really like to hear your comments about these “new” findings. I mean, it sort of contradicts a lot of the epidemiological studies that show an increased lifespan when consuming these foods. I’m not sure how to interpret these results in any practical manner.

    Best regards,


  48. I used the safe starch per-unit weights on to determine my daily allotments in cups measure for one pound of food as per the PHD food plate and the PHD book carbs chapter:

    white rice, 2.8 cups, 575 calories
    mashed potato, 1.8 cups, 482 calories
    sweet potato, 1.7 cups, 345 calories

    I like the diet and feel better with the starches compared to my previous lower carb approach.

  49. I’ve got a question about sun exposure. Apologies if this isn’t the right place to ask it.

    What would you recommend for cold, winter months or for someone who doesn’t always have access to a place to work outdoors? Would a tanning lamp have the same effect chemically as sunlight, because tanning is the result of UV-A light? Could Vitamin D supplements plus a small tanning lamp be sufficient as a replacement? Of course with working outdoors whenever possible. Thank you.

  50. What is wrong with sunflower seed butter? Also, is it ok to not eat organ meat but eat turkey and salmon instead?

    • Hi Eric,

      Sunflower seed butter is high in omega-6 fats. Turkey and salmon are fine but they do not substitute for organ meats, which are nutrient rich in a way muscle is not.

      Best, Paul

      • My fiancé is severely allergic to all nuts. We eat sunflower seed butter as a substitute. Can you recommend any substitutes for nuts or nut-based things?

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