Most of you will already know about the 80/10/10 diet by Dr. Douglas Graham (high-carb, high-fruit and low-fat raw vegan diet), but have you come across the 90/5/5 diet before
Ok, so let’s firstly set out the basics for those of you who may not know about the 80/10/10 low fat raw vegan diet, which very simply put means a diet that has a minimum of 80% of total daily calories coming from carbohydrates, maximum of 10% coming from fat and a maximum of 10% coming from protein and which is all raw and plant based (there are also cooked versions of the 80/10/10 diet, however we will not be looking at these in this article).
Now this ratio is a guideline and you can be a bit above or below these on a daily basis, but the overall understanding is that over a longer period of time (a month to a year and beyond) you will be eating somewhere within this ‘zone’ of macro nutrients (min 80% carbs/max 10% fats/max 10% protein).
If I was to check my average ratio over the course of the year, it would be approximately 5-6% protein, 6-7% fat and the rest carbohydrates (87% or less).
This may look closer to 90/5/5 than it is 80/10/10, but the truth is that if I were following a low fat raw vegan diet where I did not eat any overtly fatty foods like avocadoes, nuts and seeds, then my own ratio would be more in line with 90/5/5 for sure.
So whilst the 80/10/10 diet includes overt fats like nuts, seeds, olives and fatty fruits like avocadoes and durians, the 90/5/5 diet is based upon just fruits and veggies, without any overt fats.
There can be a number of reasons why people will want to have this (90/5/5) dietary ratio, which can include
• Cleansing their bodies and excluding all overt fats to facilitate a speedier detox and healing
• Improvement in athletic performance for some people
• Achieve speedier weight loss in some cases
• Balancing blood sugar issue
The question that most of you will be asking yourself now of course is: which ratio is best
Well, it is not actually as black and white as that.
Whilst some people do really well on the 90/5/5 diet with no overt fats, others experience cravings for fats and actually do need more fat in their diet. There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating healthy plant-based fats on a low-fat raw vegan diet, just for as long as you eat fats in modest amounts and the bulk of your calories comes from fruit (carbohydrates).
Whilst nuts and seeds can be optional for some people (due to personal and health preferences, i.e. allergies or intolerances), many people will benefit from having healthy amounts of fatty foods like avocados or even durians in their diet.
One factor that is important to understand in the eating of a diet that is more 90/5/5 (which actually still is withing the overall 80/10/10 guidelines), is how many overall calories the person consumes on a consistent basis and whether they actually manage to have sufficient levels of fatty acids in their diet without eating any overt fats.
If you are a super active person who expends a lot of energy regularly and so consumes plenty of calories on a daily basis, it may be possible for you to meet your fatty acid intake requirement on a no-overt-fat, raw vegan diet.
However, what if the above description does not fit you? For example, say you are a petite lady, who has little in the way of muscle and is sedentary. You have little energy expenditure and will not eat as much raw fruits and vegetable on a daily basis (and hence have less nutrient intake).
The issue that can arise with this scenario is that with a lower intake of daily calories the corresponding lower intake of fatty acids may mean your body is not receiving enough omegas 3’s & 6’s to meet its needs.
Even though you are eating enough calories to fuel your body physically through the day, your lack of calories in terms of fats can simply be too low and so a fatty acid deficiency may result.
So for less active folks, modest amounts of overt fats (both omega 3 & 6 in a healthy ratio) will certainly benefit them, just like they can benefit active people.
We know people who are athletic and eat 90/5/5 and do well on it, while we also know athletes that prefer to add some overt fats to their diet and feel much better for doing so and still remain well within the 80/10/10 ratio (or somewhere very close).
The take away message from this article should be that fats are essential for bodily health so adding healthful amounts of overt fats to your diet if so desired is perfectly fine, and that being phobic of fats like some people can be is not a healthy way forward.
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