“The Perfect Health Diet is more than just a diet – it is a program for perfect health, “say Paul Jaminet, Ph.D., and Shou-Ching Shih Jaminet, Ph.D., who together developed it. “A diet like the Perfect Health Diet should be the first treatment option in most diseases and an adjunct to therapy in all,” they say at perfecthealthdiet.com. Perfect!
The Perfect Health Diet was developed by “two scientists with a longstanding interest in diet and health. We have been experimenting with low-carb diets since 2005,” they say, and “have successfully healed our own ‘middle-age’ and chronic health problems through diet.” Their plan has adherents eating about two-thirds plant foods and one-third animal-based foods by weight. Besides a high fat content, the diet is further characterized by complete avoidance of sugar and cereal grains. On their website they say, “Do not eat toxic foods, notably:
· Do not eat cereal grains – wheat, barley, oats, and corn – and foods that contain them – bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, and oatmeal. The exception is white rice, which we count among our ‘safe starches.’ Rice noodles, rice crackers, and the like are fine.
· Do not eat calorie-rich legumes. Peas and green beans are fine. Soy and peanuts should be absolutely excluded.
· Do not eat food with added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Do not drink anything that contains sugar. Healthy drinks are water, tea and coffee.
· Polyunsaturated fats should be a small fraction of the diet (~4% of total calories). To achieve this, do not eat seed oils such as soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, or the like. The best cooking oils are coconut oil, clarified butter, and beef tallow; palm oil, lard, olive oil and avocado oil are next best.
“Eat nourishing foods: liver, egg yolks, seaweeds, and shellfish, vegetable and bone broths. Make sauces from an acid (lemon juice, vinegar), an oil, and herbs. Get sufficient salt.
“Take care to obtain adequate amounts of eight critical micronutrients: vitamin D, vitamin K2, iodine, selenium, magnesium, copper, chromium and vitamin C. Many of these can be obtained from sunlight (vitamin D) or what we call ‘supplemental foods:’ seaweed for iodine, Brazil nuts for selenium, beef liver for copper. Others may need to be supplemented.” They don’t recommend fish oil supplements, but they do like oily fish like salmon and sardines.
The authors of the Perfect Health Diet (the “PHD” Diet, as they’re both PhD.’s, get it?) consider their program low-carb. With 400-600 calories (100-150 grams) from carbohydrates (mostly “safe starches” like rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro), plus fruit and berries, it is lower than the Standard American Diet (SAD) which recommends 1200 calories (300g) a day from carbs for women and 1500 calories (375g) for men. They suggest that if your metabolism is compromised (for example, by obesity or other manifestations associated with Metabolic Syndrome), you should lower the carbs further to 200 carb calories (50 grams), a level of carbs they call “a therapeutic ketogenic diet.”
Protein should be, they say, “a modest fraction of daily calories,” which they define at 200-400 calories (50-100g). “Fats should supply most (50-70%) daily calories,” they conclude. Taking the middle value for all three macros, that’s 500 carb calories (125g), 300 protein calories (75g), and 1200 fat calories (133g) = 2000 calories total.
Their “therapeutic ketogenic diet,” for Type 2s and Pre-diabetics, would reduce carbs to 50g. (200 calories), the same 75g protein and 133g fat = 1700 calories total, and “perfect” for both weight loss and therapeutic features.
In many ways the Perfect Health Diet is similar to the Archivore program developed by Kurt Harris, M. D., discussed in Retrospectives #18 and 19 in this series. The principles are similar, but Harris says his program is more rooted in ethnography and anthropology. The Jaminets point to evolutionary indicators of the optimal diet for perfect health (e.g., breast milk for infants) and mammalian diets in general. Both agree, the Jaminets conclude, “Fortunately, all of these sources of insight seem to be consistent in supporting low-carb, animal-food-rich diets – a result which is gratifying and should give us confidence.” I couldn’t agree more. They are two of my favorite “low-carb” diets.
But my absolute favorite thing about the PHD Diet is the graphical symbol (a pictogram) for the program that they created to depict the foods they suggest we eat and not eat. Check it out at perfecthealthdiet.com/the-diet/.