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.

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. The general consensus of the WFPB leaders, and the bulk of the evidence, supports a diet 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. 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.