The 80/10/10 Diet Guide: Dangerous Fad Or Healthy Diet?

Evaluating Macronutrient Ratios For Health

The 80/10/10 diet is a unique iteration of a macro diet that involves not only following a very high-carb, low-fat diet but also consuming only raw vegan foods.

It is a long-term lifestyle eating plan instead of a short-term fad or crash diet intended to help you achieve your goals, whether it be weight loss, weight maintenance, or building lean muscle mass.

However, this raw plant-based diet is highly restrictive, which can make it hard to follow and potentially risky for your health. It’s low carb and low fat intake make it quite unbalanced.

In this guide, we will discuss the 80/10/10 diet plan, how to follow it, and what you can eat on the 80 10 10 diet meal plan.

Let’s jump in!

Healthy carbs.

What Is the 80/10/10 Diet?

The 80/10/10 Diet, also called the 811 Diet plan or the 811rv Diet (rv for raw vegan), is a high-carb, low-fat, raw vegan diet developed by Dr. Douglas Graham, who is a retired chiropractor, former athlete, and raw foodist.

Because the 80/10/10 diet is a raw vegan diet plan, it is also sometimes called the LFRV Diet (low-fat raw vegan diet).

The 80/10/10 diet plan is an approach to eating that involves partitioning your daily caloric intake into the three macronutrients as follows:

  • 80% of your daily caloric intake from carbohydrates 
  • 10% of your daily caloric intake from protein
  • 10% of your daily caloric intake from fat

Therefore, the 80/10/10 diet falls under the umbrella of macro dieting (short for macronutrient diets), such as the Zone diet and the 40/40/20 diet.

You can follow the 80/10/10 diet to support weight loss, weight maintenance, or body composition changes like gaining lean muscle mass.

However, unlike a short-term weight loss diet, the 811 Diet is intended to be followed long-term as a lifestyle eating plan.

A variety of fruits.

How Do You Follow the 80/10/10 Diet Plan?

As a macronutrient ratio diet, the 80/10/10 diet plan focuses on the relative percentage of the source of daily calories in your diet, not the total number of calories you can eat.

Based on the 80 80 10 macros, following this macro dieting split involves consuming 80% of your daily caloric intake from carbohydrates, 10% of your daily caloric intake from protein, and 10% of your daily caloric intake from fat.

Therefore, to determine the number of grams of each macronutrient you should eat, you need to multiply your target daily caloric intake by 0.8 for carbohydrates and 0.1 for fat and proteins to calculate the number of calories for each macronutrient.

Then, divide the number of calories allotted to carbohydrates and protein by four because there are four calories per gram of carbohydrates and gram of protein, and divide the number of calories you should eat from fat by nine because there are nine calories per gram of fat.

Vegetarian foods.

Let’s walk through an example:

Imagine that you want to consume 2000 total calories per day for your weight goals. For the 80/10/10 diet plan, you would partition your calories as follows:

  • Carbohydrates: 2000 calories per day x 0.8 = 1600 calories per day from carbohydrates 
  • Protein: 2000 calories per day x 0.1 = 200 calories per day from protein 
  • Fat: 2000 calories per day x 0.1 = 200 calories per day from carbohydrates 

Then, to calculate grams of each macronutrient:

  • Carbohydrates: 1600 calories per day from carbohydrates / 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates = 400 grams of carbohydrates per day
  • Protein: 200 calories per day from protein / 4 calories per gram of protein = 50 grams of protein per day
  • Fat: 200 calories per day from fat / 9 calories per gram of fat = 22 grams of fat per day

Thus, the macronutrient breakdown would be 400 grams of carbohydrates, 50 grams of protein, and 22 grams of fat daily.

Fruits, nuts, veggies and grains on a heart-shaped plate.

What Can You Eat On the 80/10/10 Diet Meal Plan?

Unlike other macro diet plans, such as the Zone diet or the 40/40/20 diet—in which you are free to eat whatever you would like as long as it fits within your macro diet ratio—the 80/10/10 diet plan has pretty strict stipulations about what you can and cannot eat.

This is because aside from being a macro split diet, the 80/10/10 diet plan is also a raw vegan meal plan, hence the name 811RV diet and LFRV diet plan.

This means that while staying within the 80% carbs, 10% protein, and 10% fat parameters, you can only consume plant-based foods that have not been heated above about 110-118 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although you can use some alternative food preparation methods, including dehydrating, juicing, sprouting, soaking, and fermenting, Dr. Doug Graham suggests the majority of 80/10/10 foods should be eaten raw and unprocessed.

Furthermore, while you can have small amounts of raw vegan foods like soaked and sprouted legumes and grains, the 80/10/10 meal plan focuses on three categories of foods: Soft greens, non-sweet fruits, and sweet fruits.

Leafy greens.

Here are the main foods to eat on the 80/10/10 low-fat vegan diet for weight loss and health:

Soft Greens

Eat a minimum of 1 pound of “Soft Greens” per day. You can meet your 80/10/10 diet soft green quota with big salads and/or blending leafy greens into raw green smoothies.

  • Spinach 
  • Lettuce
  • Beet Greens
  • Arugula 
  • Leafy Greens

While most raw diets (and healthy diets in general) encourage the consumption of all non-starchy vegetables, the 80/10/10 diet food list suggests only having greens.

If you do want to have other non-starchy veggies, you can have celery, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts occasionally, but not often or in large quantities since they are difficult to digest.

Per the 80/10/10 diet creator, these veggies tend to “scratch and scrape our delicate digestive system as they pass through.” 

Tomatoes on a cutting board.

Non-Sweet Fruits

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Okra
  • Eggplant
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow squash
  • Other squashes

Sweet Fruits

While many weight loss diets restrict sweet fruits, the 80/10/10 diet plan puts zero restrictions on the consumption of sweet fruits, and encourages eating as much sweet raw fruits (and whichever sweet fruits) you want.

This is because according to the 80/10/10 book, fruit should be used as the primary source of energy because fruit is the “ideal fuel for humans.”

The 80/10/10 diet meal plan also encourages frequent “mono-meals,” where you eat large quantities of a single fruit—and nothing else—for the entire meal.

Some examples of the recommended 80/10/10 diet sweet fruits include:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Peaches
  • Mangoes
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Grapes
  • Tangerines
  • Dates
  • Plums
  • Apricots
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Papaya
  • Berries
Avocados.

Fatty Fruits

Although sweet fruits should make up the majority of the 80/10/10 diet, you can also have some fatty fruits and some nuts and seeds, which are more energy-dense. 

However, the 80-10-10 diet suggests limiting fatty fruit intake to no more than 8% of your total daily caloric intake.

Examples include:

  • Avocados
  • Coconut
  • Durian fruit
  • Ackee
  • Olives
  • Nuts and seeds 

To hit the 80/10/10 diet ratio, Dr. Graham recommends that 90–97% of your calories per day come from sweet fruits and non-sweet fruits, 2–6% of your calories per day come from leafy greens, and 0–8% of your calories per day come from other vegetables, fatty fruits, nuts, and seeds.

All other foods should be removed from your diet, even if the foods are vegan. All processed foods and cooked foods over 118 degrees Fahrenheit should also be eliminated.

Melons.

What are the Potential Benefits and Risks of Following the 80/10/10 Diet?

The potential benefits of the 80/10/10 diet plan coincide with those of other vegan diets and raw food diets.

Vegan diets and raw food diets have been shown to provide a variety of health benefits, such as decreasing the risk of hypertension1Le, L., & Sabaté, J. (2014). Beyond Meatless, the Health Effects of Vegan Diets: Findings from the Adventist Cohorts. Nutrients6(6), 2131–2147. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu6062131 and type 2 diabetes2Lee, Y., & Park, K. (2017). Adherence to a Vegetarian Diet and Diabetes Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Nutrients9(6), 603. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9060603 and supporting weight loss.3Huang, R.-Y., Huang, C.-C., Hu, F. B., & Chavarro, J. E. (2016). Vegetarian Diets and Weight Reduction: a Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of General Internal Medicine31(1), 109–116. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-015-3390-7

‌The removal of all processed foods can reduce the risk of obesity and numerous other diseases, and high-fiber diets help promote digestion and support the healthy gut bacteria.4MACFARLANE, S., MACFARLANE, G. T., & CUMMINGS, J. H. (2006). Review article: prebiotics in the gastrointestinal tract. Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics24(5), 701–714. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2006.03042.x

‌However, there is a high risk of developing nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B12, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.5Fontana, L., Shew, J. L., Holloszy, J. O., & Villareal, D. T. (2005). Low Bone Mass in Subjects on a Long-term Raw Vegetarian Diet. Archives of Internal Medicine165(6), 684. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinte.165.6.684

In addition, getting an adequate number of calories on the 80/10/10 food plan may not be possible to support your nutritional needs, leading to rapid and unhealthy weight loss, among other health consequences.

A large variety of carbohydrates.

The 80-10-10 diet plan is also too low in fat and protein and does not provide an adequate balance of different food groups, according to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.6USDA. (2020). Dietary guidelines for Americans 2020 -2025. In Dietary Guidelines for Americans. USDA. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2021-03/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans-2020-2025.pdf

Studies have also found that the raw vegan diet is associated with an increased risk of tooth decay7,Ganss, C., Schlechtriemen, M., & Klimek, J. (1999). Dental erosions in subjects living on a raw food dietCaries Research33(1), 74–80. https://doi.org/10.1159/000016498 amenorrhea,8(PDF) Consequences of a Long-Term Raw Food Diet on Body Weight and Menstruation: Results of a Questionnaire Survey. (n.d.). ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/12864083_Consequences_of_a_Long-Term_Raw_Food_Diet_on_Body_Weight_and_Menstruation_Results_of_a_Questionnaire_Survey and osteoporosis.9Fontana, L., Shew, J. L., Holloszy, J. O., & Villareal, D. T. (2005). Low Bone Mass in Subjects on a Long-term Raw Vegetarian Diet. Archives of Internal Medicine165(6), 684. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinte.165.6.684

‌More concerningly, some of the claims about the 80/10/10 diet preventing and reversing diseases are unsubstantiated by research and can be misleading to people who are sick with cancer or other chronic diseases.

Should You Try the 80 10 10 Diet?

Overall, the 80/10/10 raw vegan diet is far too restrictive and not well-balanced in terms of the macronutrients or the foods that you can eat.

There is a high risk of developing nutritional deficiencies; therefore, it is essential to speak with your doctor or work with a nutritionist before trying the 80-10-10 diet program and to help you find what is the best diet for your optimal health.

A person making a salad.

References

Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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