What is Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian Diet?

by Dr. Fuhrman

Simply put, a Nutritarian diet is a way of eating that bases food choices on maximizing the nutrients per calorie and is designed to offer maximum protection against cancer, slow aging and extend longevity. A Nutritarian diet is designed to include food that has powerful disease-protecting and therapeutic effects and delivers a broad array of micronutrients via a wise spectrum of food choices. It is not sufficient to merely avoid fats, consume foods with a low glycemic index, or lower the intake of animal products; a truly healthful diet is guided by nutritional quality.

The key to this revolutionary diet style is the idea of nutrient density as expressed by the simple formula:  Health = Nutrients/Calories

This equation means your future health can be predicted by the micronutrient per calorie density of your diet.  When the ratio of nutrients to calories is high, fat melts away, and health is restored. Potentially losing 15 pounds in two to three weeks is just the beginning.  The more nutrient-dense food you consume, the more you will be satisfied with fewer calories, and the less you will crave fat and high-calorie foods. If you are an adult type 2 diabetic, you will likely be medication-free in no time. If you are on heart medications, your cholesterol and blood pressure will normalize with time and your doctor may be able to stop your prescriptions. Your skin may become more radiant and you’ll feel more energetic than you have in years. People call their recoveries, “a medical miracle.”

The quality of a diet can be based on three simple criteria:

1   Adequate levels of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals) per calorie

2   Avoid excess macronutrients (fat, carbohydrate, protein) individual caloric needs should be met without excess that can lead to weight gain or health compromise

3   Avoid toxic substances (such as carcinogens, trans fats, dioxin, mercury, infectios agents ) and limited amounts of other substances harmful when consumed in excess (such as sodium)

Though micronutrient density is foundational, it is not the only factor that determines health. For example Vitamin D levels, B12, and proper omega-3 intake are important for optimal long-term health as well as avoidance of sodium and other toxic excesses. These concerns are not addressed in the H = N/C equation. However, if the focus is consuming more micronutrient-rich natural foods then many of the other important nutritional factors automatically follow, such as lower sodium, reduced calories, high fiber and volume, a low glycemic index, and a high satiety and phytochemical index to name a few.

Eating low nutrient foods fuels overeating behavior and toxic hunger

Last, but not least is understanding the physiology behind hunger and food cravings.  It is important to recognize that low nutrient eating (and toxic eating) leads to increased cellular toxicity with undesirable levels of free radicals and advanced glycation end products (AGE’s), lipofuscin, lipid A2E and other toxins that contribute to the development of chronic disease.  These toxic substances lead to addictive withdrawal symptoms (toxic hunger) that result in the desire to eat more frequently and overeat. Low nutrient eating, therefore, establishes a mechanism that leads to food addictions and food cravings that is overwhelming. This is the main reason why calorie counting diets fail. Without addressing dietary quality, excess food cravings are almost impossible to ignore.

Fortunately the drive to over-consume calories is blunted by high micronutrient, high food antioxidant, consumption and the symptoms that people thought were hypoglycemia or even hunger, simply disappear. Not only do people lose the symptoms of fatigue, headaches, irritability and stomach cramping, but they get back in touch with true hunger felt in the throat, which simply makes eating more pleasurable and directs them to a more appropriate amount of calories for their body’s biological needs.

In a portion controlled (calorie counting) diet it is likely that the body will not get adequate fiber or micronutrients. The body will have a compounded sensation of hunger and cravings which for most is simply overwhelming. It invariably results in people either being unable to lose weight or unable to keep the weight off and eventually gaining it back. The biochemistry and physiology behind food cravings are more thoroughly explained in my books and lectures, but without a thorough understanding of these principles weight loss attempts are typically doomed to fail.

Are you striving to adopt a Nutritarian diet to extend lifespan and reverse and prevent disease?

Here are 5 basic rules that may help you:

1.     Consume a large green salad every day, and put some raw onion and shredded cruciferous veggies on top.

2.     Eat at least a 1/2 cup of beans or lentils each day, in a soup, stew, or top of a salad or in another dish.

3.     Eat at least 3 fresh fruits a day, especially berries, pomegranate, cherries, plums, and oranges.

4.     Eat at least 1 ounce of raw seeds and nuts daily, utilizing some chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts.

5.     Consume a double-sized serving of steamed greens daily, and utilize mushrooms and onions in your dishes.


The Nutritarian diet is designed to:

Maximize health and longevity

Reach your ideal weight

Reverse disease such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease

Prevent dementia and cancer

Avoid unnecessary and potentially harmful medical interventions

The Nutritarian diet was designed for those who are not satisfied with mediocrity and want to maximize their opportunity for a positive health outcome. Changing the way you eat can be a challenge however with time, these changes will come easily, and you will eventually prefer this style of eating.

Authorities advise moderate changes, for they fear more substantial improvement in dietary habits will be rejected by the masses. They are right. The masses are addicted to dangerous eating practices, and it is not easy to stop old habits in today’s toxic food environment unless people become highly informed.

It does not matter if you have failed every diet you have ever tried in the past. My methods have enabled thousands of individuals to lose large amounts of weight. I continually tell my patients, “Do not simply control your high blood pressure or diabetes. Let’s get rid of it!” If you are ready to receive an education in human nutrition and be coached to achieve world-class health, then this is for you.

The majority of individuals who have adopted the Nutritarian diet, find after a few months they enjoy eating this way more than their prior eating style. A truly healthful diet can be great tasting, too. Taste and health are not mutually exclusive. I encourage you to learn more at my website, DrFuhrman.com and from my books.


Dr. Fuhrman is a #1 New York Times best-selling author and a family physician specializing in lifestyle and nutritional medicine. His newest book, The End of Dieting, debunks the fake “science” of popular fad diets and offers an alternative to dieting that leads to permanent weight loss and excellent health.  Visit his informative website at DrFuhrman.com.