Questions and Answers about the Nutritarian Diet

May 19, 2016 by Joel Fuhrman, MD

Q: How does The End of Dieting differ from Eat for Health and Eat to Live?

A: The End of Dieting:

  • Is an updated version of the information in Eat to Live and then some
  • Defines current fad diets, yo-yo dieting and what makes them dangerous
  • Gives the most current research on nutrition, putting an end to much controversy in the diet arena
  • Contains helpful information for people struggling with food addiction, using as examples the successful experiences of others using this program
  • Offers solutions to make it easy for people with no time to cook
  • Addresses obstacles to compliance, including those who do not want to give up “their meat”
  • Contains a quick-to-fix version and other menus for those with more time to prepare foods, using less prepared foods

Eat for Health:

Written for people who are not ready to jump into optimal at the start. It includes:

  • Three phases of eating and meal planning to gradually transition into a full Nutritarian diet
  • Food exercises to help change your taste preferences. Americans are used to high sugar, high fat and highly salted foods and many need these food exercises to re-sensitize their taste buds

Eat For Health is the appropriate book to use in a corporate health program, so all participants can embrace their level of involvement at the start and not reject the importance of this information just because they are not prepared for the degree of the dietary change required with Eat To Live and The End of Dieting which have been written to maximize weight loss.

Whether you make a 50%, an 80% or a 100% improvement, you'll succeed with The End of Dieting, Eat for Health, or Eat to Live and will achieve results proportionate to the improvements you make in your diet.

Q: How do I get started?


  1. Make salad the main dish for lunch or dinner. Add soup and a piece of fruit to top it off. (4-Step Quick Start to the Nutritarian Diet)
  2. Read one of my books, The End of Dieting, Eat for Health, Eat to Live, Super Immunity, The End of Diabetes, Disease Proof Your Child, The End of Heart Disease. Knowledge trumps willpower.
  3. Sign up for my online Member Center for added inspiration, education, recipes, menu plans and a health tracker that will reinforce your success with ongoing support. The Ask the Doctor Community has a wealth of information based on thousands of people’s questions. There are also many different communities there for you to participate in for added support.

Q: I started the Nutritarian plan but I still feel like I'm on a diet. How can I overcome that impression?

A: It may seem like you're going on a diet at first. Most people's experience and conditioning by the diet industry is in terms of going on diets and programs. Incorporating what The End of Dieting and Eat for Health recommend can feel strange at first, as if you were on some special diet. You have to keep in your head that this is a way of eating for life to maximize your health and get you to a healthy weight. Over time, this way of eating will become very natural to you.

Keep in mind that there are three primary food classes, which we have easy access to in today's society: natural-plant, animal and processed foods. Processed foods or junk foods are not your natural diet.

You've probably been eating like the rest of us did for years, from all the foods available in the standard American diet, which included lots of animal and refined foods as the main dish, with foods from the plant class as a side dish. Man-made foods are heavily marketed and addicting; so it is normal to feel some loss is taking place.

At first, eating predominantly from the plant kingdom will feel like you're limited, especially if you are not used to high-nutrient, plant-based foods. Once you realize that the plant food kingdom is vast and capable of supporting many amazing menus of great-tasting convenience foods, gourmet dishes, and fantastic desserts, your sense of loss or being on a diet will disappear. In fact, you will run out of days in a year before you run out of healthy and delicious meal options.

Your skill in preparing food deliciously and accommodating the Nutritarian diet style to your taste preferences will continue as your taste buds are transformed and strengthened to appreciate the variety of subtle flavors in natural foods. Long term followers of the Nutritarian plan prefer eating healthfully. They prefer the taste and they enjoy feeling great all the time too.

Since food is such a huge part of our culture, you want a strategy that acknowledges your ability to eat whatever you want. It is your choice to eat predominantly from the class of foods that builds health, supports your ideal weight and makes you look and feel great!

With time you will come to love this way of eating and it will just feel normal.  Foods you used to eat may actually repulse you. This will happen because as your health starts improving, you will feel happier than you ever thought possible and never want to go back to your old way of harmful eating. You will enjoy food and life as you’ve never thought you could..

Q: Do I have to count calories?

A: Not at all! You only have to count calories when you eat high-calorie, low-nutrient processed foods or commercial animal products that are not natural. Even though the books may benchmark average consumption for men and women, you never have to count calories again. Of course, we all need differing amounts of calories, based on our size, activity level and genetics. This plan allows you to get back in touch with your body’s instinctual sensations that tell you when you need to eat.

Natural plant foods are relatively low in calories, rich in fiber, high in water content and full of fiber, so they fill you up easily, without getting excess calories. Then, with time, your body will give you accurate signals to tell you how much it needs. You'll eat until you're satisfied, all the time!

Q: Do I need to control portion size?

A: Just eat until you've had enough. You should not eat until you are uncomfortable.

Q:Do I have to be very disciplined?

A: It's not about discipline; it's about transitioning to a healthier place and doing so from a place of discovery, pleasure and desire. .Start where you are at and move forward at a pace you can handle. We are all coming from different places in life, but moving towards the same goal. Without the pressure to be perfect, most people find it easy to incorporate this fun and exciting diet style that offers the most powerful results to protect your future wellbeing.

 If you want to be aggressive, go full speed ahead into the program, invoking some discipline and eating only foods that serve your goals. If you go 80 percent of the way, even 50percent of the way, celebrate your success!

Over time, you simply will not desire or tolerate the "fake food" that destroys health. Like undergoing gastric-bypass surgery, your stomach will reject such foods, and you won't feel well from eating them. You will enjoy the Nutritarian recipes and flavor of real food more and feel good about taking proper care of your body simultaneously.

A unique feature of this way of eating and living is that as you eat larger amounts of great tasting healthy foods you lose your desire to eat all the unhealthy stuff. It is mostly about eating more, and learning how to make the healthiest foods on the planet taste great, not about eating less.

Q:  Is losing weight fast unhealthy?

A: Losing weight in an unhealthy manner is unhealthy. The reason the Nutritarian diet plan is so successful and enables people to lose so much weight so quickly is because it’s based on scientific principles that will improve your health and save your life. Your body wants to fix itself and protect itself as quick as it can.

Combined with the other core essentials of a health promoting lifestyle, balanced activity or exercise and adequate sleep, you'll not only lose weight rapidly and healthfully, but you will eventually look and feel the best you've ever felt.

Q: You say a Nutritarian diet is normal. What do you mean?

A: A high-nutrient diet-style brings you back to a normal and natural diet; the one humans are biologically best adapted to as primates. That is, a diet comprised predominantly of vegetables, beans, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains and even some animal foods, albeit small amounts.

Normal does not mean common, given the present practice of eating so much commercially refined foods and polluted animal products. These foods with high caloric concentrations are addicting because the calories enter the bloodstream quickly and are high in salt, fat and sweeteners. Most people are addicted to these foods, resulting in an overweight and sickly society.

Eating in a way that does not seem common, will feel abnormal at first. However, the more you read, learn and experience the benefits, the more normal it will become. A longer, happier, healthier life is within your grasp and I am honored to have the opportunity to influence you positively.


Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board-certified family physician, six-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe his longevity-promoting, nutrient dense, plant-rich eating style.
For over 25 years, Dr. Fuhrman has shown that it is possible to achieve sustainable weight loss and reverse heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses using smart nutrition. In his medical practice, and through his books and PBS television specials, he continues to bring this life-saving message to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.