What is a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet?

It’s a diet based on whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits with small amounts of nuts and seeds.

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

  • High carbohydrate whole plant 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
  • Processed foods where fibre and nutrients are removed should be minimised
  • No oil is used, not even olive oil or coconut oil
  • The diet includes both cooked food and raw food
  • Nuts and seeds form only a small part of the diet
  • Added sugars and salt should be kept to an absolute minimum
  • This is not a calorie restricted diet: you can enjoy generous portions of a variety of low calorie density foods (for more information on calorie density see our Energy Density page).

The general consensus of the WFPB leaders, and the bulk of the evidence, supports a diet based on 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 therapy for reversing disease including heart disease, diabetes or auto-immune diseases. The Maximum Weight Loss version of WFPB is useful if the standard WFPB diet is not achieving weight loss goals or if chronic disease symptoms persist. Depending on your tastes, activity levels, age and health/weight situation you can tweak your diet to suit your individual needs. Following the traffic light system above, if you have high energy needs simply eat more foods from the yellow light column and conversely, if you are trying to lose weight or reverse chronic disease then minimise or avoid foods from that column. For optimal health, most of your food choices should come from the green light column.

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Page created 15 March 2015
Page last updated 5 May 2020