Nutritarian Diet Review: Healthy Diet or Scam?

As many of you are probably already aware of, I love everything having to do with nutrition. I love researching it and finding the healthiest alternatives possible to live a life that is free from disease.

I have not always been a healthy eater. I grew up eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) of lots of meat, chicken, potatoes, white bread, desserts, ice cream, milk, etc.

However, I did grow up in California so there was always fresh fruit around. I was never really into fast food so I always considered my diet healthy.

Over the years, I have learned more and more strategies and health tips that I have slowly adopted for a healthier life. It was during nursing school that I finally took on the mission to live the healthiest life possible by eating more nutritious food.

For a while now, I have been going through different ways of eating, trying to figure out what healthy food works best for my body. This has basically led me to feel like I am not doing something right since I cannot relate to vegetarians, vegans, raw foodists, etc. I felt I was in left field all alone.

I desperately wanted a way of eating that was healthy and easy to follow or felt I would just resort back to the Standard American Diet I grew up with.

That is when I came across the nutritarian diet and everything just seemed to click! I have finally found something that matches all the nutritional research out there and is actually doable in real life! We can’t think of this diet as a “diet” such as in weight loss, but we need to start thinking of this as a way to live a healthy life.

It is not something that we do for a few months to lose weight or regain our health; it is something that we do for life so we can function better and improve our overall quality of life.

My first motivating purchase? A Blender :) Click here to read my blog post where I talk more on my favorite tools for setting up a healthy kitchen

What is a Nutritarian Diet?

A nutritarian diet is where you eat more food that is high in nutrients and less food that is lower in nutrients. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, after many years of research, coined the term “nutritarian” when he came up with the equation H=N/C, or health equals nutrients divided by calories in food.

Healthier food options are high in nutrients and low in calories so you get a bigger nutritional punch with every calorie you put into your body. It makes the most out of every calorie you eat.

This diet is more about a complete lifestyle change to eat more nutritious overall. It focuses on eating more vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and beans. When you focus on more nutrient rich foods you decrease the amount of processed and packaged foods, sweets, white flour, fast foods, and animal products.

This diet does not say you must give up these foods, just that you eat more of the nutrient rich foods that allow your body to thrive!

Am I making this up?

Nope! I am definitely not making this diet up. It is little known to the general public but there are a few books on it available.

It is no surprise that our diets are horrible! That is why the Standard American Diet is sometimes referred to as the SAD diet. Following this diet, people have become more likely to develop chronic diseases.

Take a look around you and you will find the majority of people are overweight. Most of Americans die from chronic diseases which rarely contributed to deaths back in 1900. This is not due to people living longer because this is the first time in history that children’s life expectancy will be shorter than their parents. That’s just plain SAD!

These chronic diseases that are plaguing our society were rare back in 1900 and the only thing that has changed is our diet! We are now overfed and undernourished. We need a nutritional guide that will help us eat fewer calories that are more nutrient dense. We need more nutrients and fewer calories!

There are so many vital phytochemicals and antioxidants in plants and even more that have yet to be discovered. What is out there in nutritional research is just the tip of the iceberg. The Standard American Diet is missing so many of these vital nutrients that lead to ultimate health, leaving Americans overweight and plagued with chronic diseases.

Our bodies are not flourishing on our current way of eating. Our bodies have the ability to live on whatever we feed it.

For example, take a look back in history at those people who survived the concentration camps. They usually were fed about 400-600 calories per day of food that had virtually no nutrients, yet many of them were able to survive for many months. Just because you can eat something and survive does not mean it is what your body needs to be healthy and to thrive.

In other words: just because you can eat the Standard American Diet and live and function, does not mean it is truly beneficial for your body. It is very important to get a diet high in nutrients in order for your body to truly be healthy and free of disease.

What are the benefits of this diet?

There are so many benefits to the nutritarian diet it is hard to know where to start.

When your body gets the nutrients it needs to thrive, you will sleep better, have more energy, lose weight, and you will feel better overall. By getting these nutrient dense foods, you may also be able to prevent disease and even reverse chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Also with this diet, you may notice an overall anti-aging effect and your skin complexion improve.

The research has shown that cultures where there is a focus on nutrient rich foods from plant based sources have much lower incidences of chronic disease. A diet high in fat, sodium, sugar, and processed foods such as the Standard American Diet, has shown to exacerbate these chronic diseases.

Numerous research studies have shown how people from other cultures that focus on plant based diets start eating the standard American diet, they start developing the chronic diseases just like Americans. However, when they move back to their plant based diets, their diseases improve or resolve altogether.

What could possibly point more directly to nutrition as being a contributing factor to the development of chronic diseases?

I like to think of it like a light switch. We may have it in our genes to be more prone to a certain disease, but it is up to our eating habits and overall lifestyle habits to either turn that disease on or off.
Furthermore, this diet will give you all the nutrients you need for overall health.

With so many different phytochemicals and antioxidants that we know about, there are many more that scientists have yet to find. This means you can’t get these nutrients in the pill. There are too many to include or know how they work perfectly together as they do in nature. Health comes from a diet rich in plant based foods that are high in nutrients.

What can you eat?

This whole diet or way of eating is based on the ANDI scoring system. For more information about this system, visit

This system was created after many years of research and scientific studies on how to determine the nutrient quality of food. That is how Dr. Fuhrman and his team came up with the H=N/C equation that was discussed at the beginning of this report.

Basically with this diet, the focus is on eating more vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans and less processed foods and animal products. So, to adopt a healthy diet, you will want to increase these foods in your diet as you decrease food such as fish, eggs, non-fat dairy, meat, white bread, sweets, and processed foods.

This does not mean you have to give these other foods up entirely, it just means they are lower on the nutrient scale so you should eat fewer of them.

Did you know that broccoli has double the amount of protein as beef without all the saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones, etc. that beef has? Plant based foods can give you all the nutrition that you need to thrive.

This diet is all about choosing healthier foods that are high in nutrients over food that is just high in calories with little nutrients to show for it.

Check out my favorite healthy smoothie recipes blog post by clicking here!

What is the ANDI Scoring System?

This scoring system used by this diet was formed after years of research where the nutrient content of different foods was compared. They took the amount of different vitamins and minerals in the food such as calcium, vitamin C, folate, fiber, B vitamins, etc and converted it to the Recommended Daily Intakes (RDI) that are recommended by the government. This allowed them to come up with a numerical score of 0-1,000 that would give them a rating system on the nutrient density of the food.

For more information about this system, visit

Nutritarian Books I recommend:

(These are affiliate links which means if you purchase through this link, you help me keep this blog up and running. Rest assured, I own every single one of these and would not recommend them if I didn’t find them helpful)


What are my thoughts on the Nutritarian Diet?

First of all, I want to play tennis when I am 80. You may think I am crazy, but it is very possible when you follow the right lifestyle habits. There are many older adults who are still very active because they ate a highly nutritious diet and kept active.

Our bodies have a natural desire to keep us healthy and to repair itself. It does not want to get old or have to be stuck in a bed the rest of its days. In order to allow our bodies to keep us agile well into our 80s is to start treating it right. This begins with diet.

This is why I am so impressed with the nutritarian diet. It focuses on delivering to us the highest nutrient content available so our bodies can function the way they were designed to.

This diet is just makes sense: eat what is more nutritious and cut back on what is not as nutritious. It is backed by thousands of research studies and tens of thousands of research scientists who illustrate that plant based diets are the healthiest diets available.

Now, this diet may seem extreme to some people. Even in the medical community, they may look at me like I am crazy. In their view, it is too radical for the average person to follow which is why they come up with their food guides that are not teaching people how to be healthy.

If they did work, don’t you think the overweight percentage and disease percentage of our population would be decreasing, not increasing? And don’t you think that if people were told the total truth about what nutrition can do for their bodies, they would work towards doing what is healthiest?

I would like to believe that everyone wants to be healthy. I have yet to meet anyone who desires to be sick. This is why I think we should be educating the general public on the way to eat healthy. It is time we show the general public what all the nutritional research points to as the healthiest diet and not just what we think they want to hear.

No matter what, any diet that recommends consuming more whole foods and less processed foods is helping people move in the right direction.

After the many thousands of hours of nutritional study I have completed, this diet just makes sense. I kept trying to relate to vegetarians, vegans, or even raw foodists because they focused on more plant-based diets. However, I could never quite grasp their way of eating.

Vegetarians are not necessarily healthier for eating no animal meat. For the most part they are still consuming the processed food the rest of the American population is. Being vegetarian does not make you healthy.

Vegan is a step further away from animal products than vegetarians because it removes all meat, dairy, eggs, etc. from the diet. Vegans can have the same issues that vegetarians have with eating too many processed foods and not enough whole foods.

The raw food diet can be healthy when you get enough variety of the foods. It at least focuses on fresh, whole plant-based foods. However, they have some foods in there that were so foreign to me that I had no clue where to start! The biggest issue with the raw food diet is that a lot of the vitamins are more available for your body to absorb when cooked. For example, the lycopene in tomatoes is more available when cooked as it is in sauces.

So, I never felt compelled to take food to this extreme. I still want some of my comfort foods every now and then.

This is what brings me back to the nutritarian diet which focuses on the healthier foods in both raw and cooked forms and still allows you to have those foods you are used to. It is all about eating more of the healthy foods and less of the unhealthy foods. What diet gets easier than that?

I feel this is one of the healthiest diets out there and one that I can actually adhere to. I am ready to be considered a nutritarian; are you?

The only negatives I can find in this diet is that for some already thin people, there may be too much bulk and not enough calories. For thin people or those who are very active, the only change that is necessary is to increase the amount of nuts and seeds a little in your diet to meet caloric intakes.

One more negative I can think of is that of vitamin B12. This is the only vitamin that vegetarians, vegans, raw foodist, and now nutritarians find challenging to get. This is a vitamin that is made from bacteria. It used to be found in plant sources but now with farmers making their fields void of these bacteria, they are not found in plant sources. This bacterium is still found with meat, so meat eaters get enough vitamin B12. There is simply a supplement you can take to meet these needs.

Overall, I believe this to be one of the healthiest diets out there that you can start working towards and not to mention one of the easiest to transition into. This is much better than the tons of fake food most of us are eating and making our bodies exist on. Go with high nutrient food and let your body thrive!

Why am I sharing this with you?

I am very interested in this diet after it is backed up by all the nutritional research that I have been doing. With this review of the nutritarian diet, I wanted to give you the truth, not just an eating plan I think would be easy to implement or monetarily benefits those who created it.

I believe even if you just start eating more nutrient dense foods in your daily diet, your health will thank you. It is all about taking that one step closer to a healthy life.

You do not have to give up your favorite foods with this diet. Over time on this diet your body will crave more of the healthy foods. It is all about taking small steps each day to eat more of the healthy foods and less of the unhealthy foods. This is one plan that we all can live by.

How do you start a Nutritarian Diet?

The key to setting yourself up for success with the nutritarian diet is to start out with small steps and working yourself up to eating a diet that is very high in nutrients.

  1. Learn more about the nutritarian diet by visiting or By reading up on this diet you will understand the basic way to make sure you are getting the biggest nutritional bang for your buck without skipping any vital nutrients from other food groups. Dr. Fuhrman has some really great books on the market that will help walk you through the ins and outs of eating in this healthy way which may be very foreign to the majority of us.
  2. Make a list of whole, plant based foods that you currently enjoy. There are many more out there than you think there are! Take a look at what you’re currently eating and write down what qualifies as a vegetable, fruit, nut, seed, or bean. Then, write down 10 foods that you wouldn’t mind trying. 
  3. Find some plant-based recipes. Dr. Fuhrman includes some great ones in his books. Otherwise search around the internet and come up with some recipes that include mainly vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, or beans. A lot of vegetarian recipes fit into this diet. You probably already have some great recipes you are currently using for meals at home that could be considered vegetarian or fit with nutritarian diet.
  4. Plan a week’s worth of meals and make a grocery shopping list. You can get a FREE healthy food guide and healthy grocery shopping guide on my blog at
  5. Clean the unhealthy foods out of your refrigerator and pantry.
  6. Stock your refrigerator and pantry with healthy foods.
  7. Stock your kitchen with some tools such as the BlendTec Blender or click here for some of my favorite tools
  8. Take one step in the healthy eating direction at a time! You don’t have to go extreme with this diet all in one day. Take it in small steps.

How do you start eating healthier today?

  • Green Smoothies
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Fresh Juices
  • Fruit and Vegetables for snacks
  • Trail mix for snacks
  • Salads with cooked vegetables and some nuts or beans for lunch
  • Eat more salad or vegetables with your dinner
  • Fruit for dessert
  • Use meat as a topping for your meal, not as your main dish
  • Decrease processed and packaged foods in your diet (including soup mixes)

With all the research that I have done about nutrition, I truly believe this reflects the nutritional research out there. This is why I am sharing this with you-so you can improve your health as well! Are you going to be playing tennis with me at 80 years old? I hope so!

For more information on the nutritarian diet visit these websites:

Books on the Nutritarian Diet by Dr. Fuhrman:
Eat for Health
Eat to Live
Nutritarian Handbook


*This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you buy a product through the link, I will make a small commission which helps keep this website up and running. I only recommend products I use and trust + my opinion is NOT for sale!

Time for Cyster Talk...

Comments from You + Your Fellow Cysters...

  1. PC says

    the link re-directs to, which asks you a bunch of questions, then demands your email and such so you can “get your results”. Not cool.

  2. says

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  3. says

    I found your article as I was researching for criticism of Dr Fuhrman so I could cut to the chase in my analysis. Love it! I very much enjoy your common sense approach to evaluating dietary habits and systems! Just over a year ago I was morbidly obese, suffered from severe sleep apnea and acid reflux, was suffering from heart issues and on and on. I am only 45. How could it get this bad? Then my wife was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in the spring of 2014. By accident or providence, we were introduced to someone who claimed to have defeated late stage cancer using diet. But we were believers, yet. We needed documentation, observation, science! But just in case, we started on a strict juicing protocol while we were making our way through conventional care. The tumor shrunk by over 35% every 30 days on MRI. Doctors didn’t want to address it. Ultimately we defeated cancer without chemo or radiation. My wife is doing well!! She is doing better than well, she is actually amazing! I lost 90 pounds. No more apnea, no more acid reflux. No more heart distress. In fact I recently qualified for the highest health level for a life insurance policy….We tend to lean more towards Raw Food as an approach to eating. I am loving the way Dr F communicates the principles of eating well. I will be following your articles with great interest. We are launching a new website to share what we learned with others. It will be ready in a few days. RawPotential.Kitchen and we are on Facebook at and my wife’s blog on cancer can be seen at
    Thanks for your great site!

  4. Donna Watkins says

    Funny, I found this article by doing a search on “criticism of nutritarian diet” to see if any criticism of it existed. This was the first article on my search results and I haven’t read any of others yet. About a month ago, my husband (pre-diabetic) stumbled across Dr. Fuhrman’s new book, The End of Diabetes, and voiced an interest in following his plan. Knowing I would be the one to implement any changes, I immediately started looking at how the plan worked and was excited about what I was reading. It all made such perfect sense to me. As it is tailored to get out of control diabetes under control, it seems to be a little more strict, but is still very doable. We had been doing green smoothies for breakfast for well over a year and trying, with hit and miss success, to rid our diets of sugar and processed foods, but this plan takes things to a new level. Although we have not yet adhered to the plan 100%, we are seeing great results. My husband has lost over 20 pounds, we have more energy, We have pretty much stopped the snacking between meals and after dinner and have few cravings. One of the biggest surprises was we have cut our grocery bill in half, and that is with eating almost all organically. We have found that eating healthy is less expensive when we cut out all the between meal snacks, meat and junk food! I can’t imagine that I will find any criticism in the other articles from my search either. This really comes across to me as common sense for anyone serious about getting their health on track.

  5. Jack Cohen says

    I read your article with interest. I was drawn to Dr. Fuhrman’s plan for two (2) reasons: I have high cholesterol and adverse reactions to every type of statin medications, and it allows for the consumption of fruit. I started the nutritarian plan on May 4, 2014, and now, as of June 28th, I have lost 26 1/2 pounds, down from 213 pounds to under 187. I have no more food cravings. I don’t wake up in the middle of the night, as I did when I overate animal proteins. My seasonal allergies are under complete control. I have broken a lifelong addiction to cheese and pork products. And, despite a desk job that doesn’t allow for much regular exercise after breakfast, I don’t snack any more. I plan to go down to 165 pounds, and stay there.
    As far as I can see, there is every other diet out there, and then there is the nutritarian system. It is a plan for life.

  6. says

    @Em, you are welcome to comment any time! I am so glad you have found the nutritarian way to eat. It is amazing how much better you will feel and when those around start seeing the difference, they will want in on it to. There will always be those who think you are “nuts” as you put it, but they are the ones that typically are wishing they could feel better! Keep up the great work and keep me updated!

  7. says

    @Em, I gave up on couponing too for that reason! They are typically only for the packaged food. I noticed a big difference in my grocery bills when we stopped buying the animal products and packaged goods.

  8. says

    @Becky Williams, well said! I too classify myself as plant strong. I rarely eat animal products and it is usually just because I am a dinner guest. It is amazing how much better you can feel even when you didn’t think anything was wrong in the beginning! The Engine 2 Diet is one of my favorite places to get recipes that even my husband will eat! Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Becky Williams says

    Hi Amber,

    I read your post with interest. I would just like to comment though that, even though it is possible for vegetarians and vegans to eat unhealthy, that is not a reflection of the diets themselves, but a reflection of the person doing the eating, likely the reason they chose the lifestyle and the individual food choices they are making. I agree with you though, in theory, which is why I rarely refer to myself as a vegan, even though my diet certainly falls within those guidelines. I also eschew the the term because it seems to imply a set of judgements that are not mine. While I am totally against factory farming, GMO’s, and I cringe when I see people chowing down on junk and fast food, still, some of my favorite items of apparel are my leather coats. I am a vegan for purposes of food choice only, and that because of health considerations. While I do believe that everyone could positively see health benefits from a plant based diet, I do not make any judgements about someone else eating meat and dairy (which I love by the way). I would do so myself if I did not believe it to be against my best interest from a health standpoint.

    I instead say I eat “plant strong.” Less than a year ago my husband and I became egg and dairy eating vegetarians (no sugar, no chemicals, no processed foods, no GMO’s, whole food diet, so not the unhealthy vegetarian you referred to) due to my being (mistakenly) diagnosed with MS. After the doctors talked to me about the medication therapy, which can cost almost $50,000 a year, I decided that I could not in good conscience take medication that cost that much if I were not first doing everything possible to help myself. I started looking into what effect, if any, you could have on the progression of MS through diet. All of the literature I could find directed me toward a low saturated fat diet, whole foods, lots of fruits and veggies. But I became obsessed with studying nutrition and started learning about GMO’s, the difficulties with meat digestion and diseases attributed to its consumption. By the time they found out I didn’t have MS we were already feeling so much better as a result of our dietary changes that we decided never to go back. But we wondered if we could do even etter and just recently we stumbled across the research of Dr.’s Esselstyn and Campbell. If you have not seen the Forks Over Knives video, I encourage you to watch it. We did a little bit more research and became convinced to cut the dairy, eggs and oil from our diet as well.

    So that leaves us on a very healthy, completely whole food, micro/macronutrient rich vegan diet. I would guess you could say it is Nutritarian without the less healthy options.

    I applaud you for your goal of good health through nutrition. We live in an age where health care is the primary subject of concern in every family, the primary focus of attention in the political arena, and the topic of conversation around every water cooler (for those of us who actually drink water). That’s because everyone is either already sick, or knows they are going to be at some point in time. I know too many people much younger than me that are struggling with chronic disease and take a virtual pharmacy of pills every day. I am 60 and my husband is 64. Other than thyroid replacement for me (I had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in my 20’s) we are both completely medication free, not even over the counter pain relievers. My husband once struggled with arthritis type pain and took Ibuprofen regularly but since going plant strong he no longer has those pains.

    Check out the Engine 2 diet, which is basically the same as Dr. Esselstyn’s diet (Rip Esselstyn, it’s creator, is his son) but includes a few fattier foods like more nuts, avocados and such. Never stop learning. You are on a very noble quest.

    All the best to you,

  10. Em says

    I was going to add that freezing and healthily preserving seasonal bounty can help save money. Also, because we have truly made a commitment in our household to eat this way, we aren’t wasting money on prepackaged and processed “quick” snacks and junk food. We are also eating out way less. . . only once a week. Last night, my husband wanted to go to a burger joint (that’s really really good), and I found I ate for only $3 with a huge side salad with healthy ingredients and an iced water. Think of all the $$$ you can save by drinking water instead of colas and alcohol! That’s a lot.

    I tried couponing, but because I eat this way, I usually don’t get any kinds of coupons for produce or beans or nuts. I coupon for some household items, clothing, and gifts. Occasionally, I get deals from the Earth Fare or Whole Foods around here, but even then, most of the coupons are for vegetarian “junk food”.

  11. Em says

    Hi, Thanks for doing this review.

    I gradually, almost imperceptibly, became a nutritarian in the last month. While I had a pretty healthy upbringing (we rarely ate out, and mostly to vegetable/homecooking restaurants, were offered veggies everyday, led active lives, etc.), as I became a teen and my body started changing, I developed body image issues and, consequently, food addictions and a tendency to abuse my body with too much undernourished exercise. Later on in college after my body had enough and I ended up exhausted and contracting mono, I gave up my extremism. I couldn’t keep up the battle to keep myself thin by overexercising and hardly eating anything of nutritional value. I gave up the battle in 1993, and I was content in doing so. My weight ballooned by 30 lbs. in a matter of months. True, I didn’t like the way I looked after those few months, but I accepted I had pretty much hurt my body – and it was better to let my body rest from the abuse. I needed to show myself some kindness. After a few months of getting lots of sleep, nourishing my body with what I considered healthy meals (lots of vegetables and fruits, I did include meat at every dinner), my body suddenly decided to start dropping weight. I wasn’t even exercising at this point, and I lost all the weight I’d gained plus more in about 3 months. And I felt healthier and more energetic, ready to live again.

    Then I got married and had five children (including twins, 13 weeks on strict bedrest, 7 of that in a hospital). I had this 10 to 20 lbs. I just couldn’t lose. I admit, I was eating lots of sugar and white flour. I had been on the gestational diabetes diet twice, and I was place on a high protein therapy diet for my twin pregnancy. On and off during the 8 year period I was having babies, I did get exercise in streaks. But you can imagine, being pregnant (and very sick) that number of times in 8 years was rough on my body. I was under a lot of stress. I could hardly function because I didn’t get good sleep for years. My hair started falling out, and I’m talking about quarter-sized bald spots. . . I had to get steroid shots for that. My iron levels were low. My anxiety was rising. I had no time to myself. I wasn’t horribly overweight (at most 20 lbs.), but I was miserable.

    I had read a book in 2003 called The Truth About Beauty by Kat James that had helped me change some of my habits. I gradually changed the way our family ate. . . whole foods, local foods, foods with more nutritional value, dumped my colas, didn’t buy boxed cereal anymore, made homemade as much as possible. Then I found Nourishing Traditions about 2007 and deepened my knowledge of nutrition a little more, but trust me, I ate plenty of full fat cheeses and dairy products, plenty of beef (although I went for organic as often as possible). I thought I was eating healthy, but I grew frustrated that I didn’t seem to lose those extra pounds and I still felt energy-less most days. I also was unable to sleep through the night.

    I’d wake between 1 and 3 am and couldn’t fall back asleep for 3 more hours. This would render me useless the next day. I felt so much stress and anxiety. This went on for years. And yes, I still enjoyed desserts. And yes, I still had food addictions and cravings. The thought of food still controlled me, and eating something delicious (and fatty, sugar-y) seemed to be the only pleasure in life. (Not that I didn’t love my kids. But being a parent is stressful.)

    So in 2011, I decided to start getting more sleep and saying “no” to the busy-ness of life. I was going to allow myself the luxury of slowing down. I was going to allow myself to enjoy life more. Sleep helped me a ton.

    In 2012, I decided to make a commitment to exercise. I thought my diet was healthy since I was following much of the wisdom of Nourishing Traditions, but I still had that 20 extra lbs. I thought exercise was what I needed. So I began one of those Couch-2-5K programs. I succeeded in the program, but truth be told, I was still 20lbs. overweight after 6months of running regularly (at least 4 to 5 days a week). My other physical problem was my lack of core strength and weak back due to 13 weeks of strict bedrest. . . a trainer at the Y had told me I was over 30% body fat. Even she couldn’t believe it. I am 5’9″ and at that time weighed 155 lbs. She said I needed to build muscle, so I decided to continue running, add weights and go back to my gestational diabetes diet. It worked enough that I was able to lose 10 lbs. (had hoped more because I was putting in so much effort) in a year. In a year. My gestational diabetes-style diet left me craving food and I would still be hungry and have “food noise” in my head all the time.

    I couldn’t keep that style of eating up without going nuts. So I went back to eating whatever I wanted. I drifted back up about 8 lbs., but I kept running and exercising. So at least two good habits stuck: I was getting at least 8 hours of sleep and exercising almost daily. I’ve kept up those habits for almost two years now. But the food and my weight. . . And my blood sugar issues – my family said it was a family trait, it was genetic, and we all would get shaky and grumpy if we had to go without food when our brain said it was time. Our blood sugar issues were nuts, and I couldn’t get rid of this issue (although the Gestational Diabetes Diet helped me feel better).

    I was about to give up completely, but I was still having a hard time accepting that I had to be this soft person who couldn’t fit into her clothes so neatly anymore. I hated getting dressed in anything, and I felt lumpy and unattractive. I felt like I was trapped in the wrong body that wasn’t meant for me. It did make me feel badly about myself. I read the Schwarzbein Principle written in 1998 or about that time. (I think Suzanne Somers is into that. I didn’t realize it until recently.) And it was basically a diabetic diet. Much of it made sense. And then I remembered my husband telling me three years ago that I ought to check out Dr. Fuhrman’s books and information because I was always reading up on nutrition and health.

    So a few years late, I finally ordered Disease-Proof Your Kids and Eat to Live. I had already increased the amount of vegetables I ate because of The Schwarzbein Principle and having some understanding from a diabetic diet. I already owned a Vitamix so I could make smoothies, green and otherwise. I already tried to choose whole foods and shopped the perimeter of the market. I loved buying produce at the farmers market. I absolutely love salads and would eat one every meal. I already made my own homemade dressings. I love to grow my own vegetables and garden. I took a decent multivitamin. I chose water over any other beverage. But I was still eating a lot of animal products, still sugar whenever I wanted, eating out often, and of course, loving on cheese (even if it didn’t love on me). And I was eating plenty of butter, coconut oil and olive oil – thanks to ideas from Nourishing Traditions.

    I don’t think I officially adopted nutritarianism. It just seemed to happen. One day, I decided, “Today, I’m eating like this, and let’s see what happens.” I had one day I think might’ve been a detox: I had a horrible headache all day long, went to bed with that headache. But within a few days, I slept wonderfully during the night. I had ZERO cravings. My blood sugar/energy level issues disappeared. I felt alive and energetic. I haven’t had stomach issues (except when I ventured to eat bbq at my parents’ house recently). I have tried to stay away from the scale because of my previous body image issues, but I know for a fact that I have easily lost 6 lbs. since January 1st. Because I feel so much better, I almost could care less about my weight loss.

    I recommend this lifestyle to anybody and everybody willing to try it. Unfortunately, some of the people around me think I’m nuts. Thankfully my husband and children don’t. They are eating healthier too.

    Thanks for letting me post this LONG comment here.

  12. Susan says

    Hi Amber,
    I found your blog after becoming a nutritarian a couple of weeks ago. My husband has MS and was recently diagnosed with Type II diabetes and this was the catalyst for trying Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian way of eating. In only 2 weeks, we are both noticing HUGE benefits! My husband is 62 and needed to lose 20 pounds and has lost 10 already. I’m 49 and don’t need to lose weight, but have been addicted to too much sugar, salt, caffeine and exercise. In just this short time, I no longer crave any of them, though I do miss my morning coffee ritual. I also exercise in moderation now since I don’t want to become too thin. All I can tell you is that my husband and I both feel amazing! We have newfound energy and his peripheral neuropathy that would deprive him of sleep every single night is completely gone!!! No lie!! I don’t even get the 3 p.m. afternoon slump while at work anymore! We have changed our retirement plan because our outlook no longer sees disease and disability! Our vision include a big garden and a very simple life. I’m even thinking that my guy might be able to take walks with me again. I thank God and Dr. Fuhrman for this plan and new life! Thanks also for all of your encouragement to the rest of us nutritarians! (Word of advice to those considering this lifestyle: Don’t jump in cold turkey like we did! I was literally nauseous for a few days from all the withdrawal!)

  13. says

    @Lisa, get right back up on that wagon :) It is never all or nothing and so take each day eating as well as you can. I started at the point where I never ate salad in the beginning and just focused on adding at least some leafy greens. If you are finding that is keeping you from getting back up on the wagon, focus on the other aspects of the healthy eating plan such as cutting out processed foods and eating more fruits for your desserts. Start there and that might help you stick to it better this time around. Let me know how that goes! :)

  14. says

    @Lisa, I have not heard specifically with yeast overgrowth, but the nutritarian diet has helped many others with digestive issues. I would check out and for more information on the specifics.

  15. Lisa says

    Hi Amber,
    Great review of the book, thank you. Due to the fact that I have Celiac disease, I chose to eat “clean” years ago and eliminated all dairy, gluten, eggs, and most animal protein. But after years of painful and continued digestive issues, my dr decided to do some more testing and found I had sever yeast overgrowth in my intestine. I have read the specific carbohydrate diet is best to help heal the intestine in this situation. I would love to know if you have heard of Dr Fuhrman’s plan helping others like me. Thanks a bunch.

  16. Lisa says

    Excellent review! I was on the “diet” for about 4 months last year and felt better than I ever have! I have disordered eating issues, so ended up “falling off the wagon” and have been wanting to get back on since then…my biggest problem were the number of salads. I am not a huge salad fan and the amount of greens needed via salads was daunting to me…any suggestions?

  17. says

    @Lisa, I love fruit too! I have a few questions for you: How is the rest of your diet as far as the amount of grains, nuts/seeds, dairy, processed foods? How is your total caloric intake? Are you getting any exercise in?

  18. Lisa says

    My kids, husband and I are adopting this way of eating with great success! My kids love their green smoothies, they’re eating more fruit and veggies in one day than they used to in a week! We always made sure out kids had a deriving of fruit at breakfast and dinner (they eat lunches at school) and always found that we struggled to get them to eat enough of these foods. Not we add berries to oatmeal, veggies to smoothies, beans to salads…kids love all of it, hubby too. I feel fantastic on this plan – much better mentally and physically than higher protein/super low carb diets.

    My burning question: I typically don’t lose wright with fruit in my diet and usually only see the scale budge if I eat high protein/low glycemic or low carb (no fruit)! I feel terrible eating this way. I love eating nutritarian, but have 30 pounds to lose and am not confident I can lose eating this way. Any thoughts? I’m trying to keep smoothies veggie heavy and fruit minimal, but could really use some advice.

  19. april says

    I don’t understand the 95 rating; but that’s ok, it’s your article. For me, it rates 100 – there is no better eating plan on earth at the moment.

  20. says

    I have read nothing but Positive comments on the Nutritarian Diet. And I love that its not actually a “Diet”, its a way of living. I plan on doing this full force. Thank you for all the info, I am reading to go!

  21. Dawn says

    I have to agree. Farmers markets and eating what is in season keeps the cost down. I also invested in a pressure canner so I can preserve my soups longer and not have to rely on the freezer. Also I have a few trees and a small garden to assist with my food source. I love tomatoes from my garden.

  22. says

    @lynn, I used his prenatal vitamins throughout my pregnancy and am still taking them while I am breastfeeding. I recommend doing your own research and talking to your healthcare professional if you have any questions about them.

  23. lynn says


    I am pregnant, found out at my second trimester. I eat very healthy and exercise and was looking for opinions on his, dr. f’s gentle prenatal vitamins?
    I normally don’t care for a supplement and in the Netherlands where I live now it is pretty frowned upon as most US vitamins are beyond the normal doses. I have had anemic tendencies in the past no matter how I eat so I am looking for some thoughts.


  24. John says

    Really enjoyed your blog! I am just starting out on my nutritarian journey but like you recognise that this should be approached as a lifestyle change and not a diet. The only thing I would disagree with you on is when you say “…broccoli has double the amount of protein as beef”. It`s incorrect is that. Other than that it`s a great piece of writing! If it means my children and I living healthier lives for longer then i`m all for it!

  25. Mary Lou Johnson says

    I was so happy to read your report and the results..I’m a retired R.N. with multiple health problems and have been on the SAD diet for years to no avail. By chance I was watching PBS and saw Dr. F’s first broadcast. I thought he was bonkers. But I kept watching. The more I watched the more he started to make sense. I sent for his DVD and watched them over and over. What could it hurt? I had tried every diet out there. So I jumped in and began to eat the nutritarian way. With the blessing of my PMD I dropped my ADA diet and started the micronutriant’ plant based protein diet. I love it. After 20 years of uncontrolled DM, my sugar levels came in normal range after only 4 days. All my labs are normal or on their way to normal and my weight is coming off. My doc was pleased but I think he thought I would fail. Now hewants to do all kinds of tests to find out if something is wrong inside because of my weight loss. I feel the best I have in years. Thank you for proving that this food plan is healthy and healing. Anyone out there thinking about it should give it a try. You will be surprized at how good you will feel. You can eat your self back to wellness.

  26. says

    @Vickie C., I have found that if you stick to buying whole foods and steer clear of the processed vegetarian substitutes, your grocery bill will be less than buying all the meats and processed foods. I buy beans, rice, etc in bulk which makes them super cheap. Fresh fruits and veggies from the farmers market and buying in season will help with those costs. Frozen veggies without the sauces etc. can be $1 each which is a great way to save. Hope those help!

  27. Vickie C. says

    I bought Dr Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live and loved it. I’m looking for to getting his other books. I grew up eating mashed potatoes, fried chicken, steak, mac and cheese, canned soups and corn. Fresh veggies were not a thing in our house growing up unless it was a tomato. So it is a transition for sure. I love beans and nuts so that’s a plus to start. Learning to cook soups with fresh veggies is gonna be interesting. My only hang up is that in our we are on a very tight budget and it seems that eating healthier is so much more expensive. I clip coupons and my book is filled with coupns for pre packaged and processed, oil filled posions. You do not see coupons for healthy things. Things that claim to be healthy only. I”ve buying frozen things some, but even some of those have sauces that contain things that are not healthy. Does anyone have any ideas on how to shop healthy for less or to save?

  28. says

    @virginia nelson, it is definitely a process! Don’t feel you have to make all the changes overnight. It has taken me about 4 years now to get where I am. I find that I still learn new things! Every change you make gets you one step closer to the ultimate healthy eating plan :) Thanks for the comment! Keep me updated on how it goes!

  29. virginia nelson says

    Great article, only been on this way of eating for 3 days, not sure yet how to put to put my foods together yet but Im slowly learning! Thanks for the article, I have Dr. Fuhrman’s book, Eat to Live.

  30. says

    @Sequoyah, awesome comment! I started this plan for the same reason you are doing it. It is amazing to me how much my taste buds have changed. I no longer crave the ice cream or sweets like I used to. When I do eat them, they don’t really satisfy. Fruit is where it is at! I love it! The processed stuff just doesn’t compare anymore! Thanks for the comment!

  31. Sequoyah says

    A light switched on for me. EXACTLY what happened. I saw Dr Fuhrman on PBS and from that moment on I was addicted. One of the most amazing things for me was that I began this life style not believing that I would love to eat fruit more than I did. I just didn’t like many fruits. Now I love them. The taste buds DO adapt and change and LEARN to enjoy the flavors we were meant to love. I am not eating this diet to lose weight. I am doing it so I never have to suffer from ill health. Great write up, Amber. I found you when searching Nutritarian Diet. I want to scream out to the world, Take Control of Your life!!

  32. Mike says

    There is a lot of sense to this diet. But you stated that animal food creates PCBs and dioxins… can you explain that or cite the literature or study you read that from? Thanks!

  33. says

    @Robert, I am glad you found the information helpful. It is amazing how people try to fit into a certain label and really it is all about focusing on the basics of what has more nutrients per calorie as opposed to getting caught up in protein/carbs/fat. Thanks for the comment!

  34. says

    I found your blog by googling for “nutritarian”. I am impressed by the length and depth of your writing. This is almost a small book that you composed about this diet.
    I also read a lot about different diets and tried to identify with vegans and raw foodists but never quite fit in. Just like you, I simply clicked when I found the Eat to Live “diet”. I think we should rather call it Eat to Live “live style” because it is not a temporary restricted diet.
    I just wrote a small post on my blog about the diet and how I got there. I also linked to your post because I liked it so much. :-)
    Keep up the good writing!

  35. says

    @StephenMarkTurner, Thank you for your wonderful comment! You shared a wealth of great information and I really appreciate it! My biggest goal for this review was to help people take the next steps to be healthy by thinking food in regards to the amount of nutrients rather than just healthy vs unhealthy. Thank you again for your comment and I look forward to reading more from you!

  36. StephenMarkTurner says

    Hi Amber, I’m Steve. I found your site today. Very nice. I thought I would comment, not because of any expertise, but more because I have read DrF’s materials for over a decade, so I have some familiarity.

    The book Eat To Live was designed as a kind of crash diet, albeit as healthy as possible. If you don’t have significant weight to lose, or if you wish to lose it more slowly (as I would), you could look at ‘Eat For Health’ a more recent book. It is two small volumes, and more of a phased in eating plan.

    Different from most diet info, there is a lot of really interesting information about ‘toxic hunger’, which is essentially withdrawal. Lightheadedness or mild stomach pain a couple of hours after eating SAD, which then goes away after eating more SAD. But this stops the withdrawal (like having a smoke or toke or coke or…). Bottom line, you will suffer a bit when you start this eating plan (or lapse and restart like me).

    I agree with another poster about animal products to an extent. Fuhrman essentially says to eat very little animal food, but to take the nutrients that these foods provide as supplements (B12, D, DHA/EPA, Zinc). That is not consistent with the approach for plants, where eating the actual plant is recommended, rather than taking other B vits, C, folate and so on. I’m not saying he is wrong, I’m saying that is a strong assertion.

    All in all though, highly recommended.
    Regards, Steve

  37. says

    @James Trice, I am impressed James :) I finally peaked your interest with healthy eating! The main book that talks about health issues in our society, this diet and the health benefits of the diet, etc would be “Eat to Live” by Dr. Fuhrman and if you are just looking for an overview of the whole nutritarian diet itself, there is a small book out by eat right america with Dr. Fuhrman called “Nutritarian Handbook”. Both of these books can be found at Borders or Barnes and Noble, or by clicking on the link above in the post under the books by Dr. Fuhrman. Hope that helps!

  38. James Trice says

    I enjoyed this post very much and have read it twice. In the comments above you talk about reading “the book.” Which one is it? And which one book should I read? I don’t have time to read them all, (you listed several), nor am I as focused on nutrition as you are, so I would probably get bored reading several. (I depend on your weekly posts to keep me up to date in this area) Please. Can you give me the name of a single book that sums up the whole concept? Thanks.

  39. says

    @Healthy Andy, well animal products have saturated fats and cholesterol (plant foods don’t have chol) and they don’t have any antioxidants, phytochemicals, or the vast number of vitamins and minerals you get with plant foods. Plus, there is no fiber so it gets all stuck up in the colon and when you cook it, it creates PCBs and dioxins which cause cancer. They really don’t have that much good stuff in them hate to break it to you. Thousands of research studies show how a plant based diet protects your body against heart disease, cancer, obesity, and premature death where animal products have been numerously shown to lead to heart disease and cancer rates. Thanks for the comment Andy! It has been a while and I am glad to hear from you again! I guess animal products win over all the processed junk! :)

  40. says

    Ha! The standard American diet IS pretty SAD, isn’t it?

    I like this idea of H= N/C. It’s an elegant way of expressing the concept to make it nicely accessible to the layperson.

    I will disagree on one point, though, and say that I think animal products get a bad rep. I believe they provide loads of nutrition, from carnitine and EFAs and all kinds of good stuff… as long as the animals are grass fed and pasture raised. It’s this junky grain fed, antibiotic stuffed, living in a cage nonsense that makes animal products unhealthy… almost like pre-processing them!

    Oh and @Beth, I totally agree… once I started eating predominantly healthy foods, I found I didn’t want the junk anywhere near as much. In fact, a lot of it now seems pretty gross (especially soda… that stuff is like trying to drink maple syrup! Bleeeech!)

  41. says

    @Vickie, Hey Vickie! Thanks for the comment! I feel as though the lightbulb went on when I read about this diet. It was all the great things I have researched about nutrition in one place!

  42. says

    @Beth Wiles, Thank you Beth for your very nice comment! The lightbulb in my head went off when I found out about this diet. It was like everything that I believe about the importance of a plant based diet. I encourage you to read the book if you ever get the chance! The key to helping people get healthy is to actually teach them what a healthy diet looks like not just what the big food industry wants you to say. Thanks again for the comment!

  43. says

    Hi Amber!

    I was curious about this new ‘diet’ when I saw your post, so had to read! Since I, like you, have tried so many on my own over the years, and since you and I are following somewhat the same path in educating others about making healthy lifestyle changes.

    This all makes absolute sense – much like I’ve been teaching people for years myself and practicing myself.

    The importance is in adding more whole, organic, fresh (and local whenever possible!) vegetables and fruits (keep the fruits to a minimum!), particularly greens and green smoothies!

    What is interesting, is that I have personally discovered that with eating more fresh, organic vegetables and fruits that I naturally want more of them and less of the unhealthy foods.

    You offer great tips for those who are wanting to take small steps in the right direction – this way it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

    Thank you for the review of this ‘diet’ book – which seems to be a simple and great way for people to make some great healthy lifestyle changes.

    ~ Beth


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