A Balanced Healthy Diet: Are You Giving 100 Percent? Or 80-10-10?
By Kevin Gianni
An Interview with Dr. Doug Graham
Kevin: There are still some people who don't know what 80/10/10 is and
so let's give a very brief introduction and then let's get into some
of these questions that everyone's been asking.
Dr. Graham: Well, my name is Dr. Doug Graham. I have a doctorate
degree in chiropractic and a doctorate in natural health. I'm
enthusiastic about teaching people how to attain or regain and then
maintain the highest level of health possible. It's been a lifetime
pursuit for me since I was 16 years old. I have had the pleasure of
working with some of the sickest of the sick and helping them to get
well. And as you mentioned, working with world-class performers and
motivated people from a wide variety of backgrounds. It's just a great
I studied health, especially nutrition, since I was a little boy. My
mom actually started imposing dietary changes on our family when I was
still in single digits. She was trying to overcome a weight problem
and tried a bunch of different things and whenever she did, so did the
family. It got me used to the idea of tinkering with my diet as if it
were a normal thing. Although I was raised on a standard diet and had
parts removed by the time I was four and I went to allergy doctors
from six through twelve and had boils all through my teens and have
the scars to prove it, it wasn't really until a little bit later,
while I was in college, that I ventured into vegetarianism and
eventually into veganism and by my mid-20s into raw food.
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I studied what the professionals taught, simply because I had to.
Being a health and phys-ed major in college you took a lot of
nutrition courses, a lot, all the way through chiropractic college.
Again, nutrition every semester. Eventually I pretty much knew what
the standard nutritionist said and had read what all of the
alternative people had to say as well, being a voracious and avid
Essentially what they said was, "Eat your fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are the best foods for you. They're the most
nutritious. They're the health foods." I kept foraying into eating
larger amounts, greater percentages of my diet, as fruits and
vegetables until the light clicked at one point and I said, "Gee, I
wonder what would happen if I ate fruits and vegetables to the
elimination of everything else?"
In the same way that I went raw, understanding that raw foods were
nutritionally more sound than their cooked counterparts. That for
every nutrient that becomes more bio-available when we cook, there are
roughly 10,000 nutrients that become less bio-available. And I
certainly wasn't going to trade 1 for 10,000. So I kept increasing the
percentage of raw in my diet and increasing the amount of fruits and
vegetables, until I got to that point where I said, "Gee, I wonder
what would happen if..." And I did that experiment of, "What would
happen if I ate nothing but fruits and vegetables and they were in
their whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic form?" What happened was a
health revolution and explosion. Just a quantum leap different than
anything I'd ever experienced before.
The more I read what the scientists had to say, they kept saying, "Eat
more fruits and vegetables, reduce the fat in your diet, get it down
to single digits." We're designed for 3-9% of our calories to come
from fat. When we're in that range we thrive. Obviously, best is if
those fats are the healthy fats, but that means essentially
polyunsaturated plant-source fats. But 3-9% of our calories from fat
is the target range. At the same time they said 3-9% was the target
range for protein and that if we go below, if we go below in either of
those categories it means that we're eating refined foods of some
kind, because there aren't any whole foods that go below the 3%
really, or above the 9%. By the time we eat a wide range of fruits and
vegetables, you're always going to fall into the 3-9 on protein
consumption, the 3-9 range on fat consumption. Thus the 80/10/10
concept was formed.
80/10/10 is not the goal however and that's where a lot of people get
confused. 80/10/10 is really the minimum, in terms of carbohydrate
consumption, and the maximum in terms of protein and fat. We're
looking not to go below 80 nor above 10, in protein and fat. That's
the nutshell of 80/10/10. It's been the concept behind a tremendous
number of health programs - vegan health programs, vegetarian health
programs, even some mainstream programs. The Pritikin Lifestyle
Program uses the same numbering system. The McDougal program uses the
same numbering system. The China Study recommends the same numbering
system. Even the Framingham Study, the longest health study done in
human nutrition, ends up using the same, or recommending the same
numbering system. They just don't all necessarily do it with vegan
sources and they don't all necessarily do it with raw sources. I just
took the science and applied it to raw food nutrition and Wa-La, we
have the 80/10/10 diet.
Kevin: It's pretty simple when it's put that way.
Dr. Graham: It's astonishingly simple. And it can be simple because it
is a concept and the concept has to be simple. If the concept was
complex, it would be really impossible to fill in the details. But
with a simple concept it's kind of like having a position statement.
It's like having your mission statement, that has to be simple. Then
you fill it in with a tremendous number of details, you can support
In this case the 80/10/10 diet is a thing of beauty because the
details line up so well. We're looking at literally hundreds of
vegetables and thousands of fruits from which to choose on this fruit
and vegetable, species specific diet, as I refer to it that our
anatomy and physiology is designed to handle, fruits and vegetables,
really well. You may choose certain fruits and vegetables and I may
choose other fruits and vegetables. You may like cherries and I might
like mango. That's perfectly understandable. We're not suggesting that
different kinds of horses all eat the same grass or like the same
grass, but horses all like grass.
Kevin: What's some of the information behind species-specific? Does it
even need to be science, where that information is coming from? Does
it even need to be science behind that?
Dr. Graham: No, it doesn't need to be science. You asked who I am and
what I do actually, at the opening. I really just kind of told you who
I am than what I do. What I do can be summed up again in a fairly
simple statement. I take clear, congruent health education and make it
available to people in a way that is simple and sound. It doesn't have
to be science. What we like to have happen however is when our science
is supported by philosophy, when the philosophy is supported
byscience, when the common sense and the science align with each other
in such a way that you don't have wild hair sticking out and going,
"Yeah, well that's really good in every way except it leaves you with
heart trouble." Or, "That's really good in every way except that
you're going to end up with cancer. The diet works really well for
heart disease but it gives you diabetes in the meantime." That
wouldn't be a workable system. It's nice when all the pieces just fall
right into place. That's what I found happen with 80/10/10.
Now it doesn't have to be science, but we can look at every species
and see certain things happen with species. Every species has a
species-specific diet and it's referred to as such. Some animals are
carnivores and some are omnivores and some are herbivores,
gramnivores, all sorts of different types. This is determined by their
anatomy and physiology. Now, there is a science eventually that's
called comparative anatomy and in the comparative anatomical studies
they sort of look at anatomy as being the driving force. Well, I don't
It's really a perceptual problem and it's an age-old philosophical
question, which came first anatomy or physiology? You know, the
chicken or the egg? It doesn't matter whether we think that bridge
works really well because it's shaped like a bridge or because it's
shaped like a bridge we decided to use it like bridge. You can't build
a butter knife that looks like a feather because it just won't
function like a butter knife. So form and function in the art world,
anatomy and physiology in the more science background, this question
has been going on for a long time. We don't really care whether you
go, "Oh, well, philosophically every animal is designed to eat a
certain way," or whether we go, "Look, all we have to do is observe."
All creatures eat in predetermined ways.
You never see a lamb stalking a wild animal as if it were a lion.
Lions stalk wild animals, lambs just put their head down and chew
grass. It's pretty predictable and it's species specific. Every
species has a specific diet. There's really no reason to think that
humans shouldn't have a species specific diet that is optimal for us.
Whether or not we choose to follow that diet is a separate issue and
why we would choose not to follow it is a long journey. But whether or
not there actually is a species specific diet, I'm not sure that
anyone can give a rational argument to the contrary.
Read VegFamily's interview with Dr. Graham.
You can implement the 80-10-10 diet into your life as an excellent approach to managing your weight. Need help?
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