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Joel Fuhrman's Diet

Joel Fuhrman’s Eat To Live Diet Review: Does it Work?

Specializes in reducing and reversing disease through natural and nutritional methods.

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What is it?

Joel Fuhrman’s Eat To Live Diet is made to help delay the aging process, and help the body naturally lose weight. It’s a 6-week plan that suggests low calorie foods that are high in nutrients.

It emphasizes reducing carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta, as well as oils and sugar. Dairy and meats are avoided entirely while on this diet. There are certain food limitations as well as foods one can eat in as many amounts as one would like. Our experts reviewed all the available diets and found that the 18Shake Diet was the overall best for weight loss. To learn more about why it was rated the 2016 most effective diet click the link provided here.

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Joel Fuhrman’s Eat To Live Diet Ingredients and Side Effects

No prepackaged foods or diet supplements are offered. The diet does have 4 different diet principles one has to follow that include:

         • Nutrient Density: Health is directly tied to the amounts and different types of nutrients one receives from vitamins and minerals. The diet provides a scale called the ANDI or Aggregated Nutrient Density Index. Soda ranks in at a low score of 1, while vegetables like collar greens and kale have the highest score at 1,000. A list of the ranked foods shows that dense leafy greens rank much higher, and they award more points.

An equation is offered that is H=N/C or Health equals nutrients per calorie. This is the basis for the diet, and it basically means that to achieve a healthy body, most of one’s calories should come from nutritious foods.

         • Comprehensive Nutrient Adequacy: It’s important not just to eat high nutrient foods, but have a diverse amount of foods to get important antioxidants and phytochemicals. They advise the use of certain supplements for things like Vitamin D, Zinc, Iodine, EPA and DHA, and vitamin B12.

         • Favorable Hormone Levels: The belief is that there are hormones that in high amounts can increase the risk for cancers. To reduce the risk of hormone fluctuations, a lot glycemic carbohydrate diet is advised.

It’s recommended to add berries, beans, and vegetables to keep insulin regulated.  A compiled list of the top 10 ranked diet plans is offered in the link provided here.

         • Avoidance of Toxins: Certain foods which are seen as possibly contaminated such as meats are avoided. There are toxic chemicals added to certain foods, and the diet advises to get plant rich meals to avoid carcinogens, infectious agents, and chemicals.

The foods allowed in unlimited amounts include:

  • Raw vegetables.
  • Four fresh fruits a day but no juice that’s canned, some dry fruits are allowed.
  • Minimum of a cup of beans and legumes daily.
  • Cooked or steamed eggplant, peppers, mushrooms, cauliflower, carrots, onions, and tomatoes.

The following are allowed in limited amounts:

  • 1 ounce of raw nuts and seeds.
  • 2 ounces of avocado.
  • 1 cup of cooked starchy or whole grains such as cereal, potatoes, corn, squash, and rice.
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed.
  • One drink of alcohol per day only.

No amounts of these foods can be eaten, and special considerations are required:

  • Oil.
  • Fruit juice.
  • Dairy or animal products.
  • Processed foods.
  • Snacking between meals.

Web MD described this as:

“a very restrictive diet”

It’s strictly a vegan, low-fat, low-salt, and mostly gluten-free 6 week diet. For people who eat meat even sparingly, it can be hard to transition to this type of lifestyle as it limits many common foods.

The registered dietician Kathleen Zelman adds:

“You will absolutely lose weight on this plan, but you may not be able to do it long term”

Since it’s primarily a vegetable based diet, it’s likely to lead to some weight loss since vegetables have much less calories than meats and a heavy use of grains. There are many restrictions and Web MD adds:

“could make it very difficult to stay on”

The diet mentions that 90% of what one eats will be whole plant foods. This is a healthy approach but it can be extremely difficult to limit protein and heathy fats. Most of what one eats will be lacking in calories, and there’s no evidence that this can help suppress appetite and be used as a long term diet. The top 10 list of the highest ranked diet plans are available when you click here.

EDITOR’S TIP: Combine this diet with a proven meal replacement such as 18 Shake for better results.

Joel Fuhrman’s Eat To Live Diet Quality of Ingredients

 The quality of food eaten is good since it’s, mostly all natural vegetables. A review by Science-Based Medicine found that the diet is not based in science, and there’s no studies performed to show that the Eat To Live Diet is both safe and necessary.  The review adds how the creator of it is:

“trying to sell you something”

“invents what he calls his “health equation””

The health equation is reviewed and the site finds:

“can’t be qualified in any real way, this is nothing more than a parlor trick”

The overall quality of this brand cannot be accurately measured, and though a mostly plant based diet is healthy; it’s hard to upkeep and not necessary. For many people not getting sufficient protein or healthy fats can be difficult, and it’s likely one will stay hungry. A list of the top 10 highest rated diet plans is available in the link here.

The Price and Quality of Joel Fuhrman’s Eat To Live Diet

There is membership to the official website offered, as well as a book that sells for $17 on Amazon.com. Most of the cost is from buying fresh fruits and vegetables. This can be pricy, as it’s suggested one should be buying only specific kinds of vegetables, with an emphasis on organic food options.

Some customers also added how the suggestions for foods are very limited, and that the book will often try to push certain brands instead of offering a general food product.

There are also recipes, a health tracking app, member groups, and a blog with updates. Though the creator is a Doctor, there’s no evidence that limiting proteins and eating mostly vegetables is a sustainable weight loss diet approach.  Our experts ranked the highest rated diet plans in a top 10 list found here.

Business of Joel Fuhrman’s Eat To Live Diet

The diet was created by a Dr. Joel Fuhrman who specializes in family medicine. Although a Doctor, there is no evidence that proves the Eat To Live Diet is effective for long-term weight loss.

His background in nutrition is limited, he is part of a nutrition board, however, there is no research developed nor do they provide proof.

The basis for the business is that a 90% plant based diet is effective for promoting many health benefits. It’s not ideal for all body types, as it’s lacking in protein need to run important body functions.

EDITOR’S TIP: The top 10 list of the best diets is available here.

Customer Opinions of Joel Fuhrman’s Eat To Live Diet

Here are some reviews from people who tried the diet:

“because of vast amounts of produce required, we had to utilize a second refrigerator”

“whole lot of guessing and cherry-picking”

“very hard to follow and I think unrealistic for the vast majority”

“He’s a medical doctor; not a nutrition researcher”

A total of 562 people gave it a critical review on their Amazon.com page. People have argued it takes a lot of time having to prep one’s own foods, since it doesn’t allow for many packaged foods. These people described this as being an impractical way to live one’s life, as many hours need to be spent prepping and cooking.

Often there were issues with people being unable to fit all the food they need in their refrigerators.

There were also problems with a lack of appetite suppression. Though there are unlimited amounts of vegetables, many were bored and wanting to eat more protein and fats. The highest rated diet plans have been compiled in a top 10 list found here.

Conclusion - Does Joel Fuhrman’s Eat To Live Diet Work?

There are many things to keep in mind about the Eat To Live Diet. This plan has no evidence to back up its use, and many users say they were left hungry and wanting to eat something besides mostly vegetables. Customers also mentioned how the diet tries to get people to buy certain brands, and that it’s incredibly restricted. Web MD also adds how the diet is unlikely to support long term weight loss. A lot of time has to be spent prepping and cooking foods as well.

The highest rated diet plan of 2016 was found to be the 18Shake Diet Plan. It offers a natural, metabolism boosting supplement free of stimulants alongside a high protein, appetite suppressing meal replacement. Testimonials and reviews are available from customers who say the meal replacement is filling, mixes easy, and tastes good. Users of the supplement add how they’ve noticed metabolism boosting effects without any stimulant related side effects.

Both of the supplements are backed by a full 30 day money back guarantee for any reason. Returns are all offered risk free for a total of 30 days.  Learn more about the 18Shake Diet Plan by clicking on the link provided here.

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User Feedback

(Page 2 of 4, 73 total comments)



My stomach hurts bad with the diet. What can I eat to continue on the diet but prevent stomach upset? I was on this diet mainly for my psoriasis.The diet is easy for me and plenty of food to eat. After a week, my skin starts to feel better, less itching, less skin build up and less redness. I was excited to continue. But on day 12, my stomach starts to hurt. It was worse next day, I break out with cold sweat. I break down to eat some porridge and stir fry rice noodle. I felt well afterwords. What can I do or modify to continue with the program.

posted Aug 27th, 2015 9:56 pm



Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For those that complain that it is 1)tasteless, 2) has a long preparation time, 3) does not allow meat look at it this way:
1) eating what you think is tasty is what ruined your health. 2) real food is not necessarily supposed to be fast. 3) Not allowed meat = understand at what point meat starts being detrimental to your health and learn to prefer health over emotional self-comforting.

posted Jul 26th, 2015 8:33 pm

thelma baringer


Pleas, stop calling this a diet, its a lifstyle of eatinghealthy, I'm ordering the plan through PBS wfyi. I hope I can influence others to follow. Thanks Dr. Furhman

posted Jun 5th, 2015 9:05 am



I tried the fuhrman diet for a while and well I do not like it at all. I ran while doing the diet and while on it I also cut my protein like he suggested. Because of this I lost a lot of muscle mass but gained about 2-3 inches around my waist and went up some Jean sizes. I am not happy and I'm just going to go back to what I was eating before and start a new weight lifting routine to build back the muscle I lost. When you slash calories your body gets energy from every source it can, and it uses up the protein in your muscles rather than the fat in your body like we want. This in turns cuts the amount of muscle mass you have. I am just going to do everything in moderation and figure out what works best for me. I will never do this again though.

posted May 27th, 2015 3:02 am



Have been on diet only 10 days. My blood pressure has gone from 170/95 to an average of 125/80. Unbelievable. Although I have not checked my glucose yet, I assume and hope it has lowered as well. Diet is quite labor-intensive though, and many of the foods that I have tried taste alike. On the hunt for better variety.

posted May 23rd, 2015 11:06 pm


I started this diet 3 days ago, or was it 2? I can't remember because I am preoccupied with staying on the diet. The diet IS DIFFICULT! The diet is specifically designed to help people who have medical issues that may have arisen because of food addiction. That's an eating disorder. How all these disordered people who have eaten their way to life threatening diseases just *POOF* no longer have eating disorders starting day1 is beyond me! Actually, I'm pretty sure it's all just lies.
Real talk time, eating disorders deal with complex emotional issues that intertwine with complex physical issues. Part of what drew me to Dr. Furhman's plan was that he feels eating large amounts of nutritious foods will quell the cravings for "junk" foods. This is immediately true!! I've been on the diet 3 days and I MASSIVELY crave salty and greasy foods!!!!!!!!! In fact, it's so much so that, I can't stick to his VERY restrictive plan. But, the book, Eat To Live is super informative and useful as a guide on the road toward healthy eating. I think it is much easier to give up one junky no-no at a time. Sugar then salt and then oil. Or maybe just lower oil. You can pry olive oil out of my cold, dead, hands is all I'm saying. Did I mention I've been on this diet for 3 days? Or, has it been million years? I can't remember, I'm too hungry!

posted Apr 12th, 2015 1:22 am

Susan Zhang

I found this diet after doing much research, and I have concluded that this is the HEALTHIEST way to eat in existance.

Love it. Already lost 10 pounds, and my friend lost 50.

posted Mar 24th, 2015 5:41 pm

Louise V2000


I love the concept of healthy eating. I have practiced most of these plans but always need to learn more.

posted Jan 2nd, 2015 3:19 pm



i like it!!!

posted Dec 12th, 2014 12:45 am



I have been eating Dr. Fuhrman's diet for about a year and a half. When I believe in something I give it my all. I lowered my cholesterol from 210 to 155. It all sounds so good on paper BUT.....
I feel awful. I go to the bathroom 5-10 times a day and my rear end is always sore from going so much. I have constant flatulence and bloating from this entire high fiber diet which my doctor says is the problem. I tested myself one day and cut out all the beans, broccoli /caulif family, and lowered my fruit to one a day. I was so excited when I had one visit to the bathroom. If a healthy diet makes you feel so awful then it's not a healthy diet for you. I am not allergic to any food, just the excessive fiber in this diet along with the difficult to digest beans is tearing up my stomach. It doesn't matter if I soak beans or sprout or puree or cook with kombu...just doesn't work. Oatmeal in the morning never felt good. I am not gluten intolerant at all either. So now I eat my eggs for breakfast, fish and chicken instead of beans and average portions of veggies with small amounts of fruits, not the ridiculously amounts Dr. Furhman wants you to eat. Remember, there is no one diet that works for everyone. Dr. Fuhrman has turned into a Dr. Mercola site with selling all his products online. Such a shame. It compromises his integrity. Supplements are NOT needed except b12 if long time vegan. Take a d3 if not getting it from the sun. If you are eating enough calories from the plant based world you will be getting all the nutrients your body needs. Take the plant based nutrttion course online at Cornell University and you will learn a lot. Dr. Furhman is just making money. You won't see Drs Neal Barnard, Mcdougall, Esselystyn, Jeff Novick or Dr Campbell doing this. They all eat a plant based diet and are not selling you their products. Find what makes you feel good among the healthy foods and what amounts and avoid the healthy foods that don't work. In my case there were many.

posted Mar 25th, 2014 6:44 pm



Great information. I love all the posts, I really enjoyed, I would like more information about this, because it is very nice, Thanks for sharing I like the site best.

posted Mar 24th, 2014 2:52 pm



the more you eat of high nutrition food with low in calories
the more weight you loose.
preventions and cure deceases explained sufficient terms for everybody

posted Feb 23rd, 2014 7:10 am



I absolutely love this program!!! I started it in July 2013 and have lost almost 80 lbs. I was on medication for high blood pressure, was pre-diabetic, and had high cholesterol (270). I quit taking meds by August and had my check-up in January and everything is now normal and I feel great.

Some people may feel that this program is too restrictive, but it really isn't. You don't have to count calories and after the first few weeks of eating this week, you'll find that the cravings for processed foods, sweets, etc. will be gone. Things taste totally different eating the nutritarian way. I totally recommend this program for anyone who is wanting to lose weight, or just live a healthy lifestye. It's NOT a diet...it's a new way of living. Thanks to Dr. Fuhrman!!!

posted Feb 22nd, 2014 7:36 am



This diet is awful. It takes forever to prepare the food and the food is tasteless. The first few days you had better stay home because it cleans you out and you need a bathroom nearby. You may live longer on this diet but you will not enjoy living longer. This diet needs meat and a stage that eases you in.

posted Feb 19th, 2014 1:32 am




posted Sep 19th, 2013 3:03 pm


@Amy: There actually are nutrients in meat besides protein. B vitamins, vitamins A, K, D3, iron, zinc, chromium, copper, potassium, and selenium are all in meat.

Regarding Patty's negative review: It drives me nuts how everybody is automatically assuming that she did something wrong. Not all eating plans work for everybody, folks!

posted Aug 14th, 2013 11:06 pm



I don't really call this a diet, but more like a lifestyle and philosophical approach to eating. It makes so much sense - fruit, veggies, beans, nuts and seeds are chock full of micronutrients AND macronutrients. Why fill up on potatoes and steak, get very few vitamins and lots of cholesterol in when you can fill up on a meal like a huge bean salad where you are getting protein, carbs, and tons of nutrients?! I've lost 5 lbs not even strictly following this, but incorporating elements of it into most of my diet. I will usually have a green smoothie or oatmeal for breakfast, a huge salad and heavy bean dish for lunch and cooked veggies and some other plant based protein for dinner. I am on the thinner side so I snack on a lot of nuts and fruit.. I also enjoy large servings of banana ice cream for dessert. I imagine the negative review from Patty came from not eating enough good plant based protein and carbs .. Because you do need balance but we can balance all the fibrous greens out with calorie dense nuts, seeds, beans, avocados, etc. there is no reason this way of eating should make anyone sick unless you aren't eating ENOUGH of this food or if you are allergic to fiber :) but tell me how in the world is meat GOOD for you? What nutrients does it give you? The only significant contribution it gives is protein which is heavily abundant in plant based foods that are packed with vitamins and don't raise cholesterol, clog arteries and raise lgf1 in your blood. So how does meat balance your diet? I still eat meat as a treat maybe a couple times a week but not as any source of nutritional supplement. It is also filled with steroids, growth hormones, and fed corn which is usually a gmo that has been shown to create holes in the intestines of lab rats. Anyways overall this diet is the best one you can be on and shouldn't really be a diet but the normal way of eating!

posted Jul 14th, 2013 4:23 am



There is a mistaken thought that this is meat free completely. I have been on a Nutritarian diet for some time. The only time you do not eat meat is in the initial time of the 6 week challenge. NO meat dairy or sugar. Although the good Dr. does not believe that meat has enough nutrition to be of value he feels if you must have some meat he says (this is a direct quote) beef can be eaten rarely, and poultry, fish and eggs less than 10% of the diet. This is not a Vegan diet...This diet is not only a weight loss diet it is for regaining good health. I have been healed of a few illnesses since I started this... I recommend it completely.

posted Jun 27th, 2013 10:18 pm

Jennifer Webb


I LOVE THIS DIET. I have been so despondent and hopeless about losing weight because I couldn't seem to stick with diets anymore. I was always hungry and would just break down and eat. I bought a magazine explaining Dr. Fuhrman's diet and with some preparation and a little getting used to, it has been wonderful. I am full, feel good, like what I eat, and don't feel deprived ever. I actually feel REALLY full and not hungry at all. I also have noticed I wake up feeling less tired and have a bit more energy--and I've only been on this for 6 days. But I feel great about this diet because I know I can easily keep doing it. I can't wait to reach my goal because the weight is falling off and it feels easy. I haven't really exercised (just a few minutes a couple of times) and I've lost 6.5 pounds in 6 days and I feel like I'm eating like a horse. lol. I also know it is healthy for me. So basically I LOVE it and can't wait to reach my goal of losing 20 pounds. I know I can do it now and that is a great feeling. I've been on a lot of diets and this is the most immediately gratifying feel good diets I've been on. My husband was skeptical and he's lost 12 pounds in 6 days.

posted Jun 10th, 2013 11:28 pm



This healthy eating plan helped me lose more than 40 pounds in 4 months without ever feeling deprived.

posted Mar 4th, 2013 3:07 pm


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BACKGROUNDBACKGROUND Start the Diet Now Advertisement

Dr. Joel Fuhrman is a well-known doctor who provides diet and nutrition advice to help patients lose weight and improve their health with a nutritional approach. Dr. Fuhrman has written several books on nutritional weight loss such as Eat to Live and Eat for Health, and has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC and many other media outlets promoting the importance of sound nutrition to achieve optimal health.

Dr. Fuhrman specializes in reducing and reversing disease through natural and nutritional methods. For weight loss measures, the recommended plan from Dr. Fuhrman is his Eat to Live book. By following the plan in this book, you can lose weight naturally and permanently. You can also reduce your blood pressure, cholesterol and prevent heart disease without the use of medications.

The premise of Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat for Health program is that the more nutrient dense foods you eat, the quicker your health will improve. He proposes a largely plant-based diet void of refined products, meat and dairy.

Through the web site Dr. Fuhrman offers not only his books, but also online medical and nutritional advice.

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  • Natural and nutritional approach to weight loss
  • Emphasis on long-term results
  • Created by a medical doctor
  • Successful results by others
  • Vegetarian-friendly
  • Programs may be somewhat restrictive and difficult for those used to easing into a diet program
  • Food preparation time can be lengthy
  • Little to no meat is allowed

Dr. Joel Fuhrman promotes a plant-based diet comprised of vegetables, fruits, legumes, raw nuts, seeds and some whole grains. Avoided are sugar, refined flours, salt, and severely limiting all animal products include meat and dairy.

A sample day of meals may include:

  • Breakfast: Two cups cooked oatmeal with one tablespoon ground flax seed, one banana, one oz. raisins, 1/2 cup soy milk or skim milk.
  • Lunch: Green salad with balsamic vinegar and one teaspoon olive oil, one cup of chickpeas or vegetable soup and fresh fruit.
  • Dinner: Stir-fried vegetables with tofu or steamed string beans with onions and mushrooms.

The basic premise of Fuhrman's diets are consuming foods that are nutrient-rich but low in calories. These foods, like vegetables, fruits and legumes, will satiate the appetite because of their water and fiber content.


Because many of Dr. Fuhrman’s plans are designed for those with health issues, moderate exercise is recommended. Typical exercise might include 30-45 minutes of moderate intensity walking, five to six days per week.


Using Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations, you can easily lose weight, reduce your current diseases and prevent contracting future diseases. Although it seems that most of the plans are very restrictive, they do garner results.

If you are looking for a plan that will finally give you the health and weight loss benefits you are looking for, Dr. Fuhrman can provide that. Be prepared for dramatically reducing your meat intake, but on the flip side you don’t have to count calories. As long as you follow the plan, you can be on your way to your ideal weight and optimal health.

Common MisspellingsCommon Misspellings

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