What is a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet?

It’s a diet based on whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits.

The basic whole foods plant-based (WFPB) principles are:

  • High carbohydrate foods such as grains, starchy vegetables and legumes are at the centre of the diet and provide the majority of daily calories
  • The diet includes large serves of a wide variety of vegetables including green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables
  • Fresh fruit is not restricted
  • Animal protein foods, including fish and dairy, are excluded
  • Processing that removes fibre and nutrients is minimised
  • No oil is used, not even olive oil or coconut oil
  • Nuts and seeds form only a small part of the diet, used mainly as flavourings
  • The diet includes both cooked food and raw food
  • Sugar and salt are regarded as condiments to be used in very small quantities

This is not a calorie restricted diet: you can enjoy generous portions of a variety of low calorie density foods.

There are many variations on the whole foods, plant-based diet concept: higher fat versions with more nuts and seeds and less starches or raw food diets for example. Then there are plans that are not fully WFPB and make allowance for small quantities of vegetable oils or animal products. The general consensus of the WFPB leaders, and the bulk of the evidence, supports a diet which is based on cooked grains, legumes and starchy vegetables and includes generous amounts of non-starchy vegetables and fruits in both raw and cooked states. Caution is suggested with nuts and seeds, particularly for those who wish to lose weight or use WFPB as a therapy for heart disease. Depending on your tastes, activity levels, age and health/weight situation you can tweak your diet to suit your individual needs.