You want to start a new diet again. You hear about a new diet that is going viral. Virtually everyone is blogging about it; the 80/10/10 diet. You wonder “What is it? Will this work for me?” Well, here is the scoop on the 80/10/10 diet:
80/10/10 Diet In A Nutshell
It is essentially a raw food vegan diet. This is a plant based diet in which the food is raw i.e. not processed using high heat. The 80/10/10 ratio consists of getting 80% of your calories from carbohydrates, 10% of your calories from proteins, and 10% of your calories from fat.
Okay, How Do I Achieve This 80/10/10 Balance?
- 80% of calories from carbohydrates. These come mainly from fruits and vegetables. To make it simpler to reach this goal, you need to rely mainly on sweet fruits.
- 10% of your calories from fat. These come mainly from a small serving of nuts and seeds eaten every other day.
- 10% of your calories from protein. These are automatically built into the diet.
So, What Are The Benefits?
- The fats are plant based. Most plant based sources of fats, such as nuts and seeds are high in polyunsaturated fats, which are good fats that contribute to heart health.
- The diet is high in fruits and vegetables. Research has shown that diets high in fruits and vegetables can help reduce your risk of being overweight and developing high blood pressure. Such diets have also been shown to reduce blood pressure in those who already have high blood pressure.
- There are no processed foods. Processed foods such as chips and soda are usually high in sodium, fat, sugar and calories. Western diets, which usually have energy-dense processed foods are linked to heart problems.
- It is low in trans fats, which are bad fats. Trans fats are mainly found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and foods containing these oils and in animal fats. Since this diet contains no animal food or processed foods, this diet is naturally low in trans fats.
- This diet does not have variety, which may be good for weight loss. A diet that omits hundreds of foods and several food groups will limit your food options and variety. Without variety, you may not want to eat. This will naturally result in you decreasing your calories, which will lead to you losing weight.
So, What Are The Drawbacks?
- The diet puts a heavy emphasis on sweet fruit. Sweet fruit contains sugar, even though it is “natural” sugar. Research has shown that those on raw food diets have an increased risk of cavities compared to those on a standard diet. In a large study examining the frequency and severity of cavities, those living on a raw food diet had significantly more cavities.
- The diet is very restrictive. Each of the food groups and their subgroups provides a varied amount of nutrients, so the more you omit whole food groups, the greater your risk of missing key nutrients. The 80/10/10 diet omits dairy products and grains. In western countries, dairy products are a major source of calcium. There is an increased risk of fracture in vegans due to the lack of consumption of dairy products. Grains provide key nutrients other than fibre. These nutrients include vitamins, minerals and some protein.
- Fruits and vegetables are low in calories. Also, they contain fiber and water, which makes them filling. As a result, you may find it hard to eat enough fruits and vegetables to meet your daily calorie needs. This can lead to you being underweight. Being underweight can lead to medical problems such as amenorrhea (missed menstrual periods). A study of 297 women consuming long-term raw food diets showed that about 30% of the women under 45 years of age had partial to complete amenorrhea. The authors of the study concluded that a very strict raw food diet not be recommended on a long-term basis.
- Everything is raw. The premise for everything being raw is claim that processed foods have lower nutritional value. Some foods however, for example, tomatoes have increased lycopene content once cooked. Tomatoes seem to offer protection against various kinds of cancer. Among the substances responsible for this effect is lycopene, a relative of beta carotene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that seems to slow the growth of cancer cells. In a study in which tomato samples were heated to 190 degrees Fahrenheit, lycopene content increased by 54 percent at the two minute mark. Lycopene content increased by 171 percent at the 15 minute mark, and 164 percent at the 30 minute mark.
So, What Is The Skinny On This Diet?
This diet has its benefits and risks. If you do decide to go on this diet, make sure you speak with your health care provider who can discuss possible nutrient deficiencies and ways to supplement for this.
Whitney, E and Rady Rolfes, S. Understanding Nutrition 11th edition. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth, 2008.