The 80/10/10 Diet Book
By: Dr. Douglas N. Graham
Kevin Gianni Interviews the Author
Dr. Douglas Graham is a lifetime
athlete and 27-year raw fooder. He's
been an advisor to top performers
including tennis legend Martina
Navratilova. He's also the author of
the lifestyle book 80/10/10.
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
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 thing.
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.
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
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
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
McDougall 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, so you can support it.
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 by
science, 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
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
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 a 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
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.
Kevin: You talk about the 80-10-10 Diet; it's the name of your book. What are
some of the main principles? What are the 80 and 10-10?
Dr. Graham: We had contests to name this book. We had trial and error. We
asked hundreds and hundreds of people. We ended up with a list of about sixty
titles and fought bitterly between a staff of about twelve people over this title
and what should be the title of this book.
And 80-10-10 tells you something, but it does not tell you enough to make you
know what it is. I agree. It is not like the Sedona diet or something, which
brings a picture to mind. And I honestly do not know if it is good or bad but the
80-10-10 Diet is really what it is about.
80-10-10 refers to the three-calorie nutrients. There are only three nutrients in
human physiology, or human nutrition that supply us with calories. Those are
carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Well, in the 80-10-10 diet, I recommend that a maximum of 10 percent of calories
come from protein and a maximum of 10 percent of calories come from fat.
Therefore, a minimum of 80 percent of calories coming from carbohydrates.
And that is in the ultimate simplicity the 80-10-10 Diet.
Now, of course, you must eat sufficient total calories because no diet is going
to work if you do not eat enough food and certainly not in the long term.
And sometimes people get confused about that. They say "well, geez, if I eat a
banana, and a lettuce leaf and an almond then I am doing the 80-10-10". I go,
"yes you are, but you cannot live on that diet". That would not get you past
Kevin: its just breakfast.
Dr. Graham: It's breakfast, exactly. And raw food is to come to know that we
get to eat more volume than most other people. But human beings are funny.
People are funny. We tend to pat ourselves on the back for things that we are
going to do or for changes that we are going to make and then don't often make
them. Or we pat ourselves on the back for changes that we think we have
made that we really haven't.
And it is a funny world this way and so, although everybody knows that pizza is
not health food, nonetheless, when we go vegetarian we create vegetarian
pizza. And when we go vegan we create vegan pizza. When we go raw, for our
health, we still create raw pizza. And in truth, if it looks like pizza and it tastes
like pizza, it's going to digest like pizza.
And it's likely going to have the caloric nutrient ratio of pizza. And it is going to
be hard on our bodies. I am not against it. I am neither for or against it,
because it is not about right or wrong, it's just the consequences. It is what
you want to have happen as a result of eating the food you eat.
In other words, it came to me apparent at a certain point that essentially you are
on a road in life. And that road, through my medical training, I am actually
trained as a chiropractor, but through my medical training what I learned is to
be able to predict what road people are on.
And so, if they are on a standard diet and they never exercise, or they take birth
control pills, and drink a lot of coffee, I think they know there is a very good
chance that osteoporosis is going to be in your future.
If they are eating a high fat diet there is a very good chance that some form of
what is referred to, erroneously, as a sugar metabolic disorder is going to be in
Currently, the Center for Disease Control estimates that almost half of all
Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic and they say it will be over 80
percent of all Americans by the year 2020.
All we have to do they say, is keep doing what we are doing. Well, what we are
doing is, the average American, eating roughly 40 percent of his calories from
fat when the world authorities are recommending 10 percent as a maximum.
And if we keep doing that we will all become diabetics. The raw fooders, I
thought, we're doing far better until I started keeping track, and after
interviewing about 5000 raw fooders, I feel pretty comfortable in giving
averages, and the average raw fooder consumes 65 to 70 percent of their
calories from fat.
Dr. Graham: This is almost double the American average. We are literally
thumbing our nose at the nutritional advice of all the world's health
professionals. While at the same time trying to use some of the information
that they say.
So, for instance, it is very common to hear a raw food leader say, you know,
you don't need this much of this nutrient and that nutrient or the next nutrient
because as raw fooders, the nutrients you consume are of a much higher
quality. Or, you digest it far better, and you absorb it far better, and so you get
so much more of it.
Well, if that is in fact the case, why are we eating double the fat of everybody
else? Shouldn't we be eating half the fat and still getting all the nutritional
benefits? We should not have to double our fat consumption.
So that was sort of the road, that's what the 80-10-10 Diet became about was to
help raise an awareness, strictly between the difference between a high fat diet
and a diet that is designed to meet what the scientific standards say humans
are designed for. It really was going out on a limb. I've got to tell you because
it is so much against the flow.
Dr. Graham: But that is my job in many ways, not to go against the flow but to
take the science and make it user friendly. That's what I've always done, that is
what I pride myself from being able to do. Rather than taking the results of this
study or that study, because you can prove anything in our study.
Instead, what I've done is look at what the textbooks unanimously agree upon,
from medical physiology to sports physiology and other types of sports and
performance sciences and simply convert that information and apply that
information to the raw food diet.
Kevin: Yeah, you may or may not know the answer to this, but I am just
curious. Is there any specific study about longevity and raw foods?
Dr. Graham: To my knowledge, there are no studies about longevity and raw
Dr. Graham: There are various studies about raw food. There have been quite
a few studies on raw food. Most of them have been to demonstrate the
inefficacy or the impossibility to survive on a diet, or certainly to thrive on a diet
that is predominated calorically by vegetables. And I agree.
I agree because in order to consume sufficient calories from vegetables to meet
your daily caloric needs, for instance for me, that would mean eating
somewhere as close to 80 heads of lettuce a day. Well, it just cannot be done.
am a big vegetable man. I love my vegetables.
In fact, you know, a lot of people are animal rights advocates and I've always
said that I'm a vegetable rights advocate. I am perfectly happy to sit down and
eat tomatoes until the cows' come home, or perfectly happy to eat celery as is.
I do not have to disguise it. I am in favor of vegetable rights, and I eat a big
salad almost every single day and I was raised that way as a child. Eating salad
was a normal thing for me.
And I have over the last 25 years been involved in the raw food movement and
my total commitment to raw food now is reaching 30 years.
I have always recommended that we eat lots of greens. In fact to my
knowledge, I recommend we consume more greens, not only on the 80-10-10
Diet, but on any of the programs that I have ever recommended.
I am actually recommending more green consumption from whole, fresh, ripe,
raw, organic plants than anybody else in the raw food movement. The funny
thing is that most people notice me eating fruits and so, they think that that's
what it is all about when in fact, that is not the case.
I recommend a huge; in fact as I say it, a greater portion of calories from greens
than anybody else in the raw movement. It is just what they see, you know,
what they notice is the fruit.
Kevin: There are a lot of people who would say that eating a lot of fruits comes
with candida issues? What is the challenge with that and how can you
Dr. Graham: Well, I dedicated a chapter in my book to this very issue. But I can
put it in a nutshell for you even more to think of now that I could years ago.
I agree with everybody who says that eating a lot of fruits will lead to candida
issues if they are consuming more fat than they should be, more than they can
If they are consuming 30-40-50-60-70, I have on tape several different raw food
leaders proudly proclaiming that they eat 80 percent of their calories from fat.
And that is just fine.
If you are eating 60 or 70 percent of your calories from fat well then, you are
going to run into issues with sugar metabolism. And the simplest breakdown
of it, and I am sorry, if I leave out a few of the details here. If you need more let
But essentially, your blood sugar is monitored by your brain. Everyone has
blood sugar, regardless of what they eat. I mean, Eskimos living on blood
sugar levels that are roughly the same as muscle heads living on protein
powders or people following the 80-10-10 diet.
It doesn't matter whether your predominant calorie or nutrient is protein, fat or
carbs. Everyone has roughly the same blood sugar levels in health but when
those blood sugar levels start to vary, it's a sign that the body can no longer
maintain the homeostasis that it strives to maintain for us at all times.
So, our primary method of controlling our blood sugar level is through the
function of the pancreas. The pancreas picks out some extra insulin if blood
sugar levels rise, because insulin functions as a doormat to escort sugar out of
the bloodstream to the cell.
It's rather simple but as everyone knows, oil is a lubricant, oil coats things and
if there's more fat in our bloodstream than we're designed to handle, it not only
coats the blood sugar molecule, it also coats the insulin.
Well, when the insulin is coated and the sugar is coated, it's very hard for the
insulin to link up with the sugar. They don't recognize each other. Not only
that, but the portal where sugar exits the bloodstream becomes clogged with
fat. Then, so it's hard for sugar to get out again.
Well, the blood sugar level continues to rise so as the brain and eventually,
more insulin is produced and the insulin's job is to find sugar.
So, eventually it's going to, but now there's twice as much or three times as
much insulin in the bloodstream as there are supposed to be and eventually
your blood sugar crashes.
Kevin: And that's because the blood sugar's still high and the insulin isn't able
to find the sugar and escort it.
Dr. Graham: But eventually, the insulin does find the sugar but it's slower at it
and it should have been until the body puts out a second and a third rush of
Dr. Graham: Okay. Well, as we know, with any muscle in the body, the key to
training is not just training but also recovering. What they call overload,
overload recover cycle. This is the same for any part of our body. You can
develop a tan by giving a little bit of sun overload and then recover. You can
develop calluses on your hand by giving a little bit of a work overload using a
rake or a shovel and then allow for recovery.
But if you take too much in any given time, there's a crash, there's a blister,
there's sunburn, or you will end up with what is called the visceral failure. In
the case of the pancreas, visceral failure takes the form of diabetes, hypo and
hyperglycemia and other sugar metabolic disorders. The pancreas can no
longer put out sufficient insulin because it has been putting out too much
insulin again and again and again without ever getting a break. Because the
average person is eating triple, quadruple, five times, you know, the fat that is
recommended at every single meal and so the body never gets a break and
eventually the pancreas fail as well.
Part 1 Kevin Gianni Interviews Douglas Graham
Part 2 Kevin Gianni Interviews Douglas Graham
Kevin Gianni: www.Rawkathon.com
Douglas Graham: www.foodnsport.com