Dr. Joel Fuhrman Diet Review

The End of Dieting

“Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian food pyramid is based on the principles of high nutrient eating as illustrated by his Health Equation: Health = Nutrients / Calories (H = N / C). Low-calorie, nutrient dense foods are at the base of the pyramid, and high-calorie, nutrient poor foods are at the top. As nutrient density decreases, the quantity of room in the diet decreases.”

Dr. Joel Fuhrman declares that it is possible to lose weight by using the following eating plan, without dieting or counting calories, but then he goes on to add in a number of no-nos.

  • Large salad as a main meal onnutsce a day
  • 1/2 – 1 c beans once a day
  • 1 large (2 regular sized servings) veggies
  • 1 oz nuts
  • Mushrooms and onions – eat some everyday.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman suggests that you can benefit from being animal product free, but then adds that if you really enjoy meat you can add 1 oz of ground meat worked into a veggie burger or eat up to 3 ounces of meat once a day.   I think it is a slippery slope to add one ounce of ground meat to a veggie burger. Does he really think that one ounce of ground meat in a veggie burger is not a diet? Does he really think this is going to satisfy a person who is still bent on being a carnivore? Does he really think someone who is obese is going to eat one ounce of nuts and neither be tempted to eat more, nor consider it a diet? Does he really think an obese person who has had only salad for lunch is going to stop at 1/2 a cup or a cup of chili?  Where is the restriction of 1/2 a cup or one cup of beans differ from counting calories or being on a diet?

Obesity Mindset

There are a number of other statements that Dr. Joel Fuhrman makes that show his lack of understanding of people with obesity problems. He states “ice cream is addictive, but a fresh peach isn’t. If you eat a whole peach you are not going to be tempted to eat another.” Who is he kidding?  I went to the Okanagan last summer and those succulent ripened on the tree 3″ in diameter peaches were so luscious, of course I ate more than one. I purchased 8 and I ate them all within two hours.

I do not think I am much different than any other person who is morbidly obese. People do not get obese in the first place if they have the self control to eat only one serving, and only eat when hungry. It is one of the flaws of a person who has never been obese trying to teach people who are obese.

Portion Control Matters

While you may be able to eat a lot more food than you think, if you eat lots of the less calorie dense vegetables, it is still not a given that you will become skinny on a plant based or vegan diet. In fact, there are lots of vegans who are obese. These people are continuing to eat lots of baked treats, and lots of processed foods. Ultimately, the bad attitude of eating food when not hungry, or eating beyond being comfortably full have to be addressed.

Good advice from Dr. Fuhrman

I am certainly not going to say that Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book isn’t worth reading. However, I also through he spent too many pages poking holes in other diets, before getting down to the business of letting the reader know what his diet is. And, yes, it is a diet. Anything that says how much, and how often is a diet. He says not to eat nuts as a snack – eat them with a meal. Not to eat more than 1/2 a cup to 1 cup of beans a day. That is dieting. Nevertheless, there is a lot of good advice in his book.

Dr. Fuhrman explains scientific information in a way that anyone can understand it. His goals, to help people eat a more healthy diet, are explained in a way that is easy to understand. He does go one step further than Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn or Dr. Colin Campbell does in that, from what I have read so far, they do not spell out limitations in how much of any one food group one can eat. While I have attacked Dr. Fuhrman for stating limitations, I think he is right. I think there has to be limitations. I am not attacking the limitations, as they are likely very necessary if you are going to lose weight – what I am attacking is that he names the book “End of Dieting” but then is promoting a diet.

I think one of the biggest mistakes I have made in the past is assuming that if a food is healthy – and lower calorie that you can eat a lot more of it. That is a fallacy. If you maintain the same calorie count as made you fat, you will stay fat. Calories do count. But also, the source of your calories is important. Dr. Joel Fuhrman gives you good reasons for his food pyramid and helps the reader understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy food choices.