The Dr. Sebi diet, which is also known as the alkaline diet, is a somewhat controversial and very strict plant-based diet developed by the man it gets its name from.
In addition to promoting weight loss, proponents of the diet claim it rejuvenates cells by alkalizing your blood. This process eliminates toxins in the body and reduces the risk of disease.
The diet centers on a small list of approved foods and also requires a variety of supplements. Dr. Sebi settled on this diet because he believed mucus and acidity increased the risk of disease and set out to find a solution.
Plant-based diets are known to be very beneficial, but is the Dr. Sebi diet too restrictive? Let's take a look.
Dr. Sebi's real name was actually Alfredo Bowman, and he touted himself as a healer and herbalist. However, he was self-taught and not a formally educated medical doctor or Ph.D. He was known for some controversial health claims, even claiming to cure diseases, but he had no evidence to back these claims up.
Despite all of this, the Dr. Sebi diet has gained popularity as a method for losing weight.
The Dr. Sebi diet originated from a desire to naturally prevent or cure disease. His theory was that disease can only survive in acidic environments, so he believed achieving an alkaline state in the body could prevent disease.
According to Dr. Sebi, following his strict diet and using his proprietary costly supplements would detoxify your body.
The diet itself relies on a range of specifically approved fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, oils, and herbs. Since the diet does not permit animal products, it's quite similar to vegan or plant-based diets.
There are several rules you must follow while on the Dr. Sebi diet:
In addition to animal products, the diet prohibits lentils, beans, and soy products, making it low in protein. Protein is an important nutrient, however.
Here are some examples of what you should eat while on the Dr. Sebi diet:
Dr. Sebi expected followers to round out the diet with his own range of supplements, but there's a problem with that: The supplements don't list their nutrients or their quantities. If you're going to make a go of the Dr. Sebi diet, it's important to ensure you're meeting your daily nutritional needs in other ways.
Despite some of the weirder rules and outlandish claims Dr. Sebi made, there are benefits to the diet:
Weight loss is typically the most prominent reason to try out a diet, and the Dr. Sebi diet does help out in that regard. Though it's quite restrictive, the Dr. Sebi diet is still a plant-based/vegan diet.
Numerous studies have shown that plant-based diets help people lose more weight than other, less restrictive diets. In fact, vegan diets can help participants lose up to 7.5% of their body weight after six months of dieting.
As much as you may want to question Dr. Sebi's claims and philosophy, his emphasis on plant-based foods does offer protection against disease.
Vegetables and fruits are commonly associated with reduced stress and inflammation, but they are also linked to lower risk of heart disease and cancer. In fact, a study showed that seven or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day can lower your risk of both diseases by over 25%.
Plant-based diets like the Dr. Sebi diet are also connected with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cutting the risk of disease by half.
Appetite control is the most difficult part of maintaining a diet for a lot of people. When we think of diets, we think about eating less and being hungry on a day-to-day basis. However, there's evidence that plant-based diets can leave you feeling more satisfied for longer than diets containing meat.
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Did you know your gut is its own little microbiome? Studies have found that plant-based diets benefit the microorganisms in your gut and further reduce the risk of disease.
For all the good this diet will do for your body, keep in mind that it isn’t without its drawbacks:
One of the biggest reasons to do your due diligence when considering the Dr. Sebi diet is that his approach lacks scientific evidence to support it.
This isn’t about the plant-based aspect of the diet; there’s plenty of evidence to support these benefits.
Moreso, it's about his claim that the diet controls acid production in the body. The human body is strict in its regulation of the acid-base balance.
The body is naturally slightly alkaline because it balances blood pH levels between 7.36 and 7.44. It's quite rare, but if your body's blood pH goes out of this range, it could be fatal.
Diet doesn’t seem to have a direct impact on blood pH levels, however, so Dr. Sebi’s claim that the diet will make the body more alkaline is likely false.
The foods allowed in the Dr. Sebi diet are mostly great sources of nutrients, but almost none of them are great sources of protein. Protein is essential for your skin, muscle growth, and the production of hormones.
To meet daily protein suggestions, dieters would need to eat unreasonably large portions of walnuts, sesame seeds, and other allowed foods.
The diet is also low in iron, calcium, omega-3, and vitamins B12 and D.
Thankfully, Smart Pressed Juice can offer the perfect solutions to this problem. Vegan Vanilla Proteini is packed with plant proteins from 10 different plants to ensure you have the proper nutrients your body needs.
Another major downside of the Dr. Sebi diet is that it's very restrictive. All diets are restrictive in one way or another, but this diet even restricts the types of fruit you can eat. Plum and cherry tomatoes are just fine on the Dr. Sebi diet, but you have to steer clear of Roma tomatoes.
Diets are meant to help us build healthier relationships with food and our bodies, so make sure to re-evaluate every “guru” diet you come across with this lens. When a diet is this restrictive, you may develop a negative relationship with food, and that's not what healthy eating is about.
If this is a concern of yours, consider other plant/based or vegan diets that offer the same benefits without the unnecessary restrictions.
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