In his book, "Eating Well for Optimum Health", Andrew Weil, MD says that people should eat what he calls “the optimum diet.” He says we should eat for health and well being, but also for joy and comfort. His plan is not designed to help people lose weight. But he gives tips on how to lose weight while eating for optimum health. He believes there is no one right way to eat. Instead, he teaches you how to decide how and what to eat.
How Might This Plan Work?
This plan teaches you about the ways people eat healthy around the world. He says people should use what he teaches to make their own optimum diet. The plan does not tell you to follow one way of eating as the key to weight loss or better nutrition.
What Do You Need to Do?
This diet teaches you about nutrition so that you can make a plan that works for you. The diet you create should:
- Meet all your nutritional needs
- Promote health and add years to your life
- Give you joy
- Promote socializing with others
The optimum diet should be based on a varied foods, as much fresh food as you are able to eat, mostly unprocessed food, and plenty of fruits and veggies.
Here are some of the tips for eating an optimum diet:
- Limit foods made with wheat flour and sugar.
- Eat more legumes.
- Limit saturated fats, such as the fat found in butter, full-fat dairy products, and fatty meats.
- Eat less polyunsaturated vegetable oil and eat more fatty fish, omega-3-fatty acid fortified eggs, walnuts, soybeans, and flax seeds.
- Do not use margarine, vegetable shortening, all products made with partially hydrogenated oils, and fried foods.
- Eat more veggie protein and less animal protein—except for fish and low-fat dairy.
- Get at least 40 grams of fiber each day.
- Take certain vitamin supplements, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, mixed carotenoids, a B-complex vitamin, and calcium.
- Drink plenty of water each day.
Most diets are focused on weight loss. This plan is more about helping your overall health, putting off health problems, and getting joy from food and eating. You may get to a weight that is healthy for you if you use this plan. Dr. Weil thinks people are too focused on weight. He feels that, while it’s not healthy to be morbidly obese, not all of us are meant to be thin either.
What Does the Research Say?
This plan is based on healthful eating ideas that are either well-formed or held up by scientific studies. The thought that all people should take vitamin supplements is not backed by research.
Are There Any Concerns?
Dr. Weil teaches you what you need to make your optimum diet. But there is a lot of content to get through. Figuring out how to use it in your life might be hard without support and guidance. You should also talk with your doctor before taking any of the supplements that he suggests you take.
This is not a quick weight-loss diet. This plan aims to help you make a lifelong healthful way of eating. The idea of making your own plan might work if you are driven and are interested in food and nutrition. But you may also need extra support. People who want to follow Dr. Weil’s plan should think about meeting with a dietitian who can help.
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Weight-Control Information Network
Diets for weight loss. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at:https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Updated June 16, 2017. Accessed March 8, 2019.
Weil A. Eating well for optimum health: The essential guide to food, diet, and nutrition. Alfred A. Knopf: New York, NY; 2000.
Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardDianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN Last Updated: 3/8/2019