Orthorexia prevention and treatment

Traditional Western-style diets put people at risk of orthorexia nervosa

So, you are working on improving your diet, spending lots of time planning your meals, making sure you only use healthy ingredients. You’re reading a lot about the latest health news, like how certain ingredients can prevent cancer and heart disease. Surely, this effort you are putting in to improve your health must yield good results! What could possibly go wrong?

You may think that nothing can go wrong. You are doing what many other people are doing, their testimonials on social media are clear: It works like a miracle! Surely, if what they are doing were bad for their health, they would have have noticed?

We tend to underestimate the robustness of the human body

Most people tend to think that their bodies are fragile systems. They believe that soon after starting a wrong diet they’ll notice bad results, and that good results imply that the diet is good. But the human body is actually an extremely adaptable, robust system as I’ve explained here. If you eat an unhealthy diet, then your body will compensate for most problems. While eating an unhealthy diet will negatively affect your long term health, this may not make you feel worse on the short term.

This robustness of your body provides for a lot of potential to drift away in the wrong direction. If you later get some complaints, then by that time you may be so convinced that your diet is right, that you’ll end up blaming the complaints on not being strict enough with your new diet.

If you become more strict with your diet,then your complaints may become less, not because the underlying cause is eliminated, but simply due to eating less or eating different foods. This creates the illusion that your diet has cured the problem. But in reality you are now eating an even unhealthier diet and spending a lot more time obsessing over every last detail of your diet.

Many people find themselves in this situation. When this gets to a point where it affects your social life and your health to the point that it affects your general well being, then this is called orthorexia nervosa.

Wrongful assumption of fragility of the human body keeps people trapped on the wrong diet

While the robustness of our bodies can allow one to drift away in the wrong direction, it’s the wrongful assumption of fragility that keeps people there. Pretty much all diets, including even the ones that I advocate for on this blog of the whole food, plant-based type, are often advertised for by misleading fragility arguments.

One of the most pervasive myths about diet is the need to count calories to prevent becoming obese. I’ve explained here why this is nonsense. But, of course, drastically reducing calorie intake will lead to weight loss and this keeps people believing in this myth. The real cause of weight problems is a poor diet. On a poor diet, eating enough calories to not feel hungry, causes us to become too heavy. It’s then the idea that the human body is a poorly designed system prone to weight gain that keeps people to stick to very unhealthy low calorie diets.

Another example is the extremely unhealthy keto diet. People who stick to this diet limit carb intake on the grounds that insulin inhibits fat metabolism. This simplistic reasoning totally ignores that this mechanism is just one tiny part of the entire metabolic system which in its entirety is an extremely robust system.

Healthy diets are not immune from this problem

Unfortunately, diets of the whole food, plant-based type that I’ve also advocated for on this blog, are often promoted based on the same sort of flawed fragility arguments. A well known argument is that fat damages arteries and we therefore need to reduce fat content. This argument is false, recent research has pointed out that dietary fat, even saturated fat, isn’t damaging to the arteries. Nevertheless there are other good reasons to reduce the amount of fat in the diet, as I’ve explained here.

Eating the right sort of diet based on the wrong fragility-type of argument is less of a problem compared to doing the wrong diet. Nevertheless, it will still cause people to focus on the wrong details, so their diets while broadly healthy, will be suboptimal. There will then even be a significant risk of people drifting away into an unhealthy direction.

Eating the right diet based on robustness of the human body prevents orthorexia

On this blog, I’ve approached diet from point of view that the human body is an extremely robust physical system. This differs from the conventional point of view that we need to micromanage the diet, as if the human body is a very fragile system prone to breakdown.

The optimal diet for us, is the diet that our bodies have evolved to eat, which is a whole food, mainly plant-based diet. This evolution happened a long time ago, well before we had any knowledge about calories, carbs, fats, proteins vitamins and minerals. The brains we’ve evolved were used to figure out how best to survive and find food, not to obsess about small details of our diet.

Eating this optimal diet will make us less likely to fall into the orthorexia trap. This is because a whole food, mainly plant-based diet has a very low energy density due to the absence of refined oils and fats. We must therefore eat large volumes of food just to get enough calories. We then almost automatically get more than enough of the essential nutrients.

As I’ve explained here, it does require many months to get gradually adapted to such a diet. But once adapted, the way you’ll be preparing your food and eat involving much larger amounts of food, will make you psychologically much more resistant against obsessing over small details of your diet. You’ll also notice that your body weight does not depend on calorie intake anymore.

No need to worry about occasionally eating unhealthy foods

There is no problem with eating unhealthy foods once in a while during festivities or birthday parties. Nor is there any need to eat less during dinner if you have eaten at fast food in the afternoon. You don’t need to watch your calorie intake, which actually makes your lifestyle healthier as you’ll keep on eating your normal healthy meals regardless of any occasional snacking on junk foods during the day.

You won’t obsess over having eaten junk foods, because you know that the damage done by junk food is not due to the sugars and fats in it. Junk food does damage on the long term for the same reason why the traditional Western-type diets are unhealthy. The fats and sugars are empty calories, the lack of fiber and certain minerals like magnesium and potassium are responsible for adverse health effects.

As I explained here, the body is in fact constantly repairing itself. It is constantly working to build itself, it has to constantly reverse damage done by the environment, including the (healthy) foods it eats. It therefore doesn’t make any sense to consider natural components in our diet like sugars and fats as a sort of poison.

Overall unhealthy lifestyle does the damage, not the occasional Big Mac

Real damage due to such natural compounds can only be done when the self-repair capacity of the human body is undermined. This can only occur as a result of a lifestyle that’s very far removed from the optimum. As I’ve explained here, the ability to respond to perturbations will become less efficient the farther removed we are from the ideal state. So, on a poor diet that doesn’t contain lots of fiber, minerals and vitamins, our bodies will be less good at repairing the damage that is caused by simply being alive.

So, when you are on an optimum whole food, mainly plant-based diet, your body will be much better at repairing itself, and that includes repairing any damage due to eating fast foods. So, there is then no reason at all to worry about occasionally eating fast foods when sticking to this diet for the right reasons.

Conclusion: Orthorexia is the tip of the iceberg

Clearly, orthorexia is a debilitating problem for the people who suffer from it. But the underlying problem is something that almost the entire population of the civilized world is suffering from. A large fraction of the population has body weight problems. Almost 100% of the population has atherosclerosis when they are over the age of 40, while in indigenous populations, this percentage is an order of magnitude lower.

A quarter of the population will end up dying from cardiovascular disease, while in indigenous populations sticking to a whole food diet, this mortality rate is almost zero. We can thus expect lots of health benefits from switching to a whole food, mainly plant-based diet. While such a switch requires quite some effort, doing so will not just improve your physical health, it will also make you far less prone to fall into the trap of orthorexia.

If you want to get help with getting started on such a diet, you can fill in this contact form.

The best way to start eating healthier

Moving toward eating a whole food, plant-based diet

In the previous blogposts I’ve explained that a whole food, mainly plant-based diet is optimal for health. This sort of diet contains low amounts of refined oils and fats, low amounts of refined carbs, lots of fruits and vegetables. It can also contain small amounts of meat and fish. It then looks easy to just get started with this diet. However, people who are not used to eating like this will get bloating due to the large amounts of fiber. Also the sheer volume of food will likely cause abdominal discomfort.

Not everyone will experience problems, but the vast majority of the people who were able to start right away with this type of diet, were severely overweight and they started out on a very low calorie version of this diet. By starting out eating a large but manageable volume of food, they didn’t experience much problems. When they increased their calorie intake later that happened gradually, allowing their bodies to get used to eating vast volumes of food.

For people who are not extremely overweight, a different approach is needed. To get to a good method on how to get used to a healthy whole food diet, we first need to understand why eating lots of fiber can cause problems.

Low fiber diet undermines gut fitness

Our gut is the home of about 100 trillion microbes. They survive off the nutrients in our foods that we don’t absorb in our intestines, like fiber. These microbes produce compounds that are useful for us, such a butyric acid. These compounds are used by our body, for example butyric acid is an energy source for the cells in our intestines.

On a whole food, mainly plant-based diet, we’ll get at least 80 grams of fiber a day. This 80 gram of fiber should thus be capable of maintaining a healthy population of gut microbes. Most people, however, get less than 20 grams of fiber a day. That the human body can get less than a quarter of the optimal amount of an important nutrient and still keep on functioning, is due to its robust design. But there is a price to be paid for exploiting robustness to move so far away from the optimum.

Lack of dietary fiber has been linked to systemic inflammation, raised cholesterol levels, and many other adverse health indicators. And once your intestines have adapted to a low fiber diet, they cannot tolerate a high fiber diet straightaway. Your intestines not only contains less microbes, the diversity of microbes is also less. Eating more fiber can only regrow the microbes that are already present in your intestines. So, if you do this too fast, you’ll end up with the wrong balance of microbes.

No magic cure

It will take quite some time to acquire the right kind of microbes from, for example uncooked foods such as fruits. Your entire gut will have to reconfigure itself to function in a different way. There are no magic cures, pills, diets that can let this change happen overnight. The problem is thus completely analogous to having lost physical fitness and not being able to stick to a healthy exercise routine as a result.

If you have lost muscle mass, there is no magic cure to regain that overnight. You’ll need to gradually increase exercise intensity to regain muscle mass. Regaining gut fitness will also require a training of your intestines in the right way to get adapted to natural foods again.

Methods to increase gut fitness

Just like increasing physical fitness will always take time, increasing gut fitness will have to be done gradually. Anything that works great when you’re starting is only going to be your first step. It would be a big mistake to stick to that first step indefinitely. But doing the effort to embark on that first step that you can comfortably stick to, is important. You can then later fall back on that first-step diet when you experience problems with the next step.

First step: More vegetables, fruits, whole grains and less refined oils

Your first-step diet should be one that you can easily tolerate. You need to make sure that this diet is adequate. This requires keeping track of what you eat. Use a good kitchen weighing scale, measure and write down the amounts of ingredients you use. You can enter this data in online tools such as the Meal Plan Calculator to check whether you are getting an adequate amount of all the essential nutrients.

For example, while you can get minerals such as calcium from green leafy vegetables, your first-step diet likely won’t contain enough of these vegetables to allow you to stop eating dairy products.

You also need to keep a diary for physical problems associated with the diet, such as bloating. This is very important when moving from the first step to the next and beyond. Just like in case of physical exercise there is a “no pain, no gain” aspect to increasing gut fitness. Unlike conventional dietary advice that keeps you at step 1, you’ll have to breach your present limits to move to the next step. It’s therefore important to get a good idea of where your limits are.

If you don’t feel comfortable taking this first step yourself, you can follow the High Carb Fat Loss Program (paid link). This program will not go all the way to the end goal, but it’s a great way to get you started on the right track. You can also get personalized diet advice from me, you then need to fill in this contact form.

Moving from step 1 to step 2

After several weeks of eating a healthier diet with more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains it’s time to move on. Based on what you have documented in your diary, you’ll have a good idea what your average intake of nutrients is. You should be getting the adequate amount of all the essential vitamins and minerals. But you’ll likely not get more fiber than 40 grams a day. Suppose that your average fiber intake in now at 30 grams a day. The end goal is to boost this to 80 grams or more, but that goal is still way out of reach for now.

To safely increase your fiber intake, you can exploit the fact that your fiber intake of 30 grams a day is only an average. On some days it will have been higher. You should then look into your diary and see if you got physical problems when the intake was higher, particularly when that happened few days in a row. If you find that you only occasionally got problems when the fiber intake was, say 50 grams, you can safely increase your fiber intake to 40 grams a day.

Eliminating problems

Suppose you find that you quite frequently get problems at a fiber intake of 40 grams a day. It’s then worthwhile to analyze if this is correlated with eating certain types of vegetables that are more prone to cause problems such as bloating. For example, cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli can cause bloating. This is then caused by short-chained sugar molecules contained in these vegetables that are broken down by our gut microbes.

Once you have good idea what kind of foods cause problems, you can attack this problem by eating these foods more frequently in smaller quantities. The net intake of the problem foods can then increase while you stay below the amounts that give you problems. The larger intake of the problem foods will cause the composition of your gut microbiome to change toward becoming able to process the problem foods better. After a few weeks you can then attempt to move to step 2 by eating more vegetables, whole grains and starches and less fat.

Onward to step 3 and beyond

If you’ve made it to step 2 then after a few weeks, you should repeat the same process that brought you from step 1 to step 2, to move to your next goal of an even higher fiber intake. The volume of food will now start to become quite large. It can then help to spread the meals better over the day. Also exercise such as brisk walking, jogging or running can help with the digestive processes.

As the fiber intake from your larger intake of whole grains, starches and vegetables increases, your protein intake from these sources will also become significant. This gives you some room to reduce the intake of dairy products, meat and fish. But it’s important to aim for a net higher protein intake of around 2.5 g/kg bodyweight. Recent research has shown that a protein intake this high is better than the traditional advice of 0.8 g/kg bodyweight.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a high fiber diet will have a lower bioavailability of nutrients such as protein but also minerals. So the intake of nutrients must be higher. The protein and other nutrients that we don’t absorb don’t go to waste, they are needed by the gut microbes.

Best foods to eat

A big mistake made by many people is to focus on very specific foods. Our bodies have evolved to thrive on whatever nature provides, we can do well on a wide range of diets that do not contain any of the so-called superfoods. However, specific foods can be used temporarily in a therapeutic sense. For example, one may use certain types of fermented foods to help build a healthy microbiome faster. This book (paid link) contains lots of recipes for fermented foods, including advice on specific fermented foods to treat specific complaints.

Many people will struggle already at step 1 due to their taste buds having gotten used to large amounts of salts and sugars. This can be dealt with by preparing your meals with herbs and spices. There are many good cookbooks for preparing healthy and tasty plant-based meals. One of the best books that will fit in well with the ideas presented here is the Forks over Knives Cookbook (paid link).

We can thus eat a whole food, mainly plant-based diet without worrying too much about the details. As we can all check using online tools such as the Meal Plan Calculator, pretty much any random collection of whole, plant-based foods that gets you to your required calorie intake will contain more than enough of the essential nutrients. This means that you have lots of freedom to choose those foods that you like to eat. There are many resources available to help you make the choices that work the best for you.

Conclusion

Eating a healthy diet is to your gut similar to what taking regular strenuous exercise is for your muscles, heart and lungs. There is no way you can start to eat a truly healthy whole food mainly plant based diet, for the same reason why a couch potato cannot start with running ten miles a day. No diet plans that currently exist takes this fact into account. There is no concept of gut fitness in the existing diet plans, as a consequence no existing diet will bring you beyond step 1.

The methods presented in this blogpost are thus unique, they allow you to achieve optimal gut fitness and health over the course of several months to a few years.

The best diet for health: What the science really says

On this blog I’ve argued in favor of a whole food, mainly plant-based diet. My argument so far has been based on evolution. In this blogpost, I’m going to review the results of scientific studies on the health effects of such diets.

Randomized controlled studies versus observational studies

To compare the health effects of whole food diets to other diets, we can look at the results of scientific studies. In observational studies one compares the health of groups of people who stick to that diet to the health of another group of people who stick to some other diet. In randomized controlled studies, one recruits people for a diet study and assigns the participants randomly to one or the other diet.

In the scientific literature, randomized controlled studies are considered to be far more reliable than observational studies, as the latter type of studies can be affected by many confounding factors. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to do a randomized controlled study comparing a strict whole food diet to a normal Western-type diet where a significant fraction of the calories comes from refined fats and sugars.

The volume of the food for a fixed amount of calories will be much larger in case of a whole food diet compared to a Western-type diet. Just 8 spoons of olive oil contains the same amount of energy as 2 pounds of potatoes. It would take many months for people to get adapted to a strict whole food diet, making a randomized controlled study impractical.

Observational studies are also hard to perform. Here the problem is that very few people eat a strict whole food diet. A large fraction of the people who do eat such diet are on weight loss programs or have suffered cardiovascular problems and use this diet as a complementary treatment. These and other confounding factors make it difficult to get to reliable results.

One can also attempt to extract the health effects of a whole food diet by studying the few populations on Earth that stick to a whole food diet. The problem with this is that these populations live in Nature far from civilization. There is then a lack of reliable medical data. Also the members of such populations have a low life expectancy due to a lack of medical facilities.

Nevertheless, despite these difficulties a few studies have been performed. Let’s start with looking at a few population-based studies.

Health and diet of traditional Ugandans

When Uganda was a British colony, the African population was eating a reasonably strict whole food diet, while the Asian population there was eating a diet containing significant amounts of refined oils and fats. A study published in 1959 in the Lancet (free reprint), showed that there were huge differences in the incidence of heart disease in both populations:

In the African population of Uganda coronary heart disease is almost non-existent. This statement is confirmed by adequate necropsy evidence1. In the Asian community, on the other hand, coronary heart disease is a major problem.

Shaper, A. G., & Jones, K. W. (1959). SERUM-CHOLESTEROL, DIET, AND CORONARY HEART-DISEASE IN AFRICANS AND ASIANS IN UGANDA. The Lancet, 274(7102), 534–537.

The diet of the Africans was as follows:

The staple foods, green plantain and sweet potatoes, are steamed in banana leaves; cassava, yams, maize, and millet are also staple commodities in particular of the non-Baganda groups, while pumpkins, tomatoes, and green leafy vegetables are taken by all. The adequacy of protein in the diet depends almost entirely on the extent to which pulses, groundnuts, and cereals are used. Most meals are served with a sauce made of groundnuts, beans, and a mixture of vegetables, and occasionally meat or fish, and these are fried in very small amounts of fat. 

The amount of fat varied between 16 to 20 grams for the poorer people to about 40 grams for richer people on a 2000 Kcal diet. So, at most the Africans were getting less than 20% of their calories from fat. The difference in cardiovascular disease incidence between the Asians and Africans was spectacular, and according to the article, this was due to the low fat content of the African diet leading to low cholesterol values that don’t increase with age.

Health and diet of the Tsimané people

The Tsimané people of Bolivia have until recently stuck to a whole food diet. We can read here:

The Tsimane diet was characterized by high energy (2422–2736 kcal/d), carbohydrate (376–423 g/d), and protein (119–139 g/d) intakes; low fat intake (40–46 g/d); and low dietary diversity relative to the average US diet. Most calories (64%) were derived from complex carbohydrates. 

Kraft, T. S., Stieglitz, J., Trumble, B. C., Martin, M., Kaplan, H., & Gurven, M. (2018). Nutrition transition in 2 lowland Bolivian subsistence populations. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 108(6), 1183–1195. 

Their diet is now changing due to the availability of Western-type foods. Like in case of the Ugandan population, the incidence of heart disease is very low. A recent study done using mobile CT scanners revealed that the Tsimané have very low levels of arterial plaque:

Despite a high infectious inflammatory burden, the Tsimane, a forager-horticulturalist population of the Bolivian Amazon with few coronary artery disease risk factors, have the lowest reported levels of coronary artery disease of any population recorded to date. 

Kaplan, H., Thompson, R. C., Trumble, B. C., Wann, L. S., Allam, A. H., Beheim, B., … Thomas, G. S. (2017). Coronary atherosclerosis in indigenous South American Tsimane: a cross-sectional cohort study. The Lancet, 389(10080), 1730–1739.

The diets of the Tsimané and Ugandans are quite similar and the health effects as far as cardiovascular health is concerned is also similar. The incidence of cardiovascular disease in both populations is an order of magnitude less than in the Western population.

Other population-based studies

Similar effects have also been noted in other indigenous populations who survive on a whole food, mainly plant-based diet, but not in populations whose diets include large amounts of animal products. Recently the widely held belief that Eskimo’s rarely get heart disease was debunked.

Studies of populations living in the civilized world, such as the Adventist Health Studies and the Okinawan diet studies are consistent with the general pattern that a whole food diet that’s mainly plant-based is the best diet for health. However, in these studies less spectacular reductions in heart disease are found compared to the findings of studies in indigenous populations. The difference between the whole food diets eaten by populations in the civilized world and indigenous populations is that the civilized world-variants of this diet contains a lot more refined fats.

Controlled studies

Dr. Esselstyn has performed a clinical study of a strictly whole food plant-based diet. Heart patients were put on a very strict whole food plant-based diet. The results were quite spectacular:

Of the 198 patients with CVD, 177 (89%) were adherent. Major cardiac events judged to be recurrent disease totaled one stroke in the adherent cardiovascular participants—a recurrent event rate of .6%, significantly less than reported by other studies of plant-based nutrition therapy. Thirteen of 21 (62%) nonadherent participants experienced adverse events.

Dr. Esselstyn demonstrates the changes in the angiogram of one of his patients in this video:

Reversal of coronary artery disease via plant-based nutrition

Other such studies with smaller groups of patients have yielded similar results when the diet was as strict as in this study, while less spectacular results have been obtained using diets that are less strict. For example, this randomized controlled study by Dean Ornish found significantly less cardiac events in the diet group compared to the control group.

Other studies

The vast majority of the studies looking into the relation between health and diet have focused on variants of the Western diet. Only a small fraction of the World’s population eats the RDA for fruits and vegetables. This RDA is already much lower than the quantities one would need to eat when on a whole food plant-based diet. Many of these studies have been conducted in scientifically very rigorous ways, the results of such studies then end up forming the basis of the official guidelines for the diet.

The problem is then that the information obtained from these studies is then only valid for diets that are close to Western-type diets. It’s not always possible to extrapolate the results to diets such as a whole food diet that are very different from the Western diet. Suppose that the relationship between a disease risk and the diet is as follows:

Example of disease risk vs. diet that can be extrapolated to pwhole-food region from conventional study results
Fig. 1. Example of a disease risk vs. diet in a case where conventional study results will get the global picture qualitatively correct

Then studies performed at diets that are between 15% and 25% similar to an optimal whole food diet would miss the global picture but the conclusions extrapolated toward 100% similarity would still be qualitatively valid. Such results have e.g. been found for the relation between dietary fiber and cardiovascular disease. But it’s entirely possible that far away from the true optimum one or more local optima exist.

Rigorous scientific results can be misleading

The relationship between a disease risk and diet can look like this:

Fig. 2. Example of a disease risk vs. diet where conventional study results will miss the correct global picture.

Studies done on people sticking to Western-style diets between, say, 15% and 25% similarity to optimal whole food diets will then only detect the region near the sharp local minimum. Many of the recent controversies in the debate on diets may be caused by such an effect. Take e.g. the recent debate on fat intake in relation to heart disease or whether a moderate salt intake is better than a low salt intake.

Reaching a local optimum far away from the true global optimum for a very complex system like the human body that have multiple redundant mechanisms, will in general require some fine tuning. The optimum then isn’t very broad, the way we need to eat to get to such a result will then differ from person to person and will also change over time. Exactly such a result has been found in the recent Predict Study. It suggests that we would all need personalized diets for optimal health.

Conclusion on best diet for health

Scientific results when properly interpreted, overwhelmingly support the idea that whole food, mainly plant-based diets are the best for health. The results are fully consistent with what one can guess based on the arguments from evolution that I’ve elaborated in in the previous blogposts here:

Living organisms are extremely robust physical systems, they’ve been optimized under natural conditions where they would eat foods they can find in Nature. This suggests that the best diet for us should have the following properties:

  • High in whole grains and starches
  • High in fruits and vegetables
  • Moderate amounts of nuts and seeds
  • Low in refined fats
  • Low in refined carbs
  • Low in animal sources of foods
  • Low in salt

In Nature, we would be able to find carb-based foods more easily than foods rich in fats such as nuts and seeds. We would have to do without any refined oils and carbs. We wouldn’t get much salt either.

Now,there are many possible variants of this type of diet. One can have preferences for particular types of vegetables, whether or not it’s a strict vegan diet, whether or not refined oils are totally banned or allowed in limited quantities and many other details. Do we expect such details to matter? The Tsimané study suggests not, they have excellent cardiovascular health despite eating a rather one-sided diet.

It’s no surprise that the optimal diet should not be sensitive to the precise details. Animals have evolved to get adapted to an environment that isn’t constant. The food animals can find will fluctuate due to seasonal changes, prolonged droughts or other weather events. So, we should expect that we’re optimally adapted to a wide range of natural whole food diets.

Conversely, a type of diet that requires getting a lot of the details right in order to get enough of the essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids, is unlikely to be a healthy diet. For optimal health we need to get a lot more nutrients than just the essential nutrients, many new discoveries are made on a regular basis.

For example, getting up to 2.5 grams per kg bodyweight of protein is likely better than the RDA of 0.8 grams per kg bodyweight. On a whole food diet you would have gotten this larger amount of protein all along, while on most other diets, you would likely have gotten a lot less. And it’s not easy to get enough protein on these other diets without using protein powder supplements.

We can easily verify that a whole food diet does indeed yield enough of the essential nutrients without requiring it to be fine tuned. We can use online tools such as the meal plan calculator to compose meals based on only whole foods. When the total amount of calories reaches 2500 Kcal, then the amount of protein, vitamins and minerals is typically going to be more than the RDA. An exception here is vitamin A, this will fluctuate significantly. It’s then no surprise that the body stores vitamin A.

In the next blogposting I’ll write about the best way to get started on a whole food diet. If you want personal assistance to start on this type of diet, contact me via this contact form if you also need to lose weight, or via this form if weight loss is not the primary concern.