The Dr. Sebi Diet was another fad diet brought to fame by Google and Instagram Influencers. Just like many other fad diets, the science behind it is shaky at best. However, the bandwagon claims have been exponential.
The claims say that eating this plant-based diet with Dr. Sebi’s special supplements which are only available on his website that too for astounding prices, can help detoxify the body.
Also, this method can help achieve an alkaline state that reduces the risk of infections and diseases.
While the approach is praise-worthy, it is also highly restrictive on what can and can’t be consumed. It calls for cutting out all processed foods, animal products, wheat products, and even seedless fruits.
Before we proceed with the exposé, know that Dr, Sebi wasn’t a doctor. In fact, he wasn’t anything close to a health professional. The Dr. Sebi diet is also not approved by any authoritative sources on nutrition nor is there any scientific evidence to back up its claims.
While plant-based diets can be effective, the strict adherents of this diet can be counterproductive. Still, lets take a closer look at the Dr. Sebi Diet, its rules, the foods that are allowed, and what science says about similar methods.
Who Was Dr. Sebi?
Dr. Sebi’s name is Alfredo Darrington Bowman who was born in Honduras in the early 30’s. He learned his trade of herbal healing from his grandmother.
Over the years, Dr. Sebi became increasingly frustrated with Western medicine. He suffered from asthma, diabetes, sexual impotency, and vision loss. He felt that Western medicine had its limits to curing his diseases.
This realization led him to another herbalist in Mexico and this meeting gave life to his pseudo-medical career. Throughout his career, Dr. Sebi and his diet were nothing short of controversy. He denied that HIV caused AIDS and claimed that his supplements along with the diet could cure all diseases.
This led him to be shunned by the majority of health practitioners. However, he still had an A-list client list including superstars like Michael Jackson and John Travolta. His infamous career had numerous cases and allegations. He was taken to court by the New York State for practicing medicine without a license, but the case was dropped due to loopholes in the law.
Shortly after this, he was hit with another civil suit that prevented him from making any medical claims about his supplements and diet. Dr. Sebi was arrested in 2016 in Honduras for money laundering. He died in detention after he had contracted pneumonia.
However, his herbalist and wellbeing legacy lives on to this day with his official website still selling diet plans and supplements.
What Is The Dr. Sebi Diet?
The essence of the Dr. Sebi Diet is that diseases are caused by acidity and mucus in the body. He stated that diseases can not survive in an alkaline environment. So, the aim of this diet is to reduce acidity in the body to prevent bacteria and viruses from building up.
The Sebi diet is a restrictive diet coupled with expensive supplements that are only available on his website. However, neither the supplements nor the restrictive diet itself have any scientific evidence to back up their claims.
The diet is a strict form of veganism that even exempts seedless fruits and permits only natural growing grains. Dr. Sebi had published a “Nutritional Guide”, a list of foods that is only available once you sign up for the program. But, we’ve got an insider look for you for free.
The diet is incomplete without Dr. Sebi’s “Cell Food” supplements which range from $750 to $1,500. The website has a clear disclaimer that says none of the statements have been evaluated by the FDA. Also, the site is not run by doctors or health professionals.
The foods that are allowed on the Dr. Sebi diet are limited. It includes mostly leafy greens and other vegetables. The goal is to make your insides as alkaline as possible. According to his theory, this removes the toxins from the body minimizing infections and diseases.
Foods That Are Allowed
Leafy green vegetables
Other vegetables include: bell peppers, avocado, mushrooms, chickpeas, okra, squash, wild arugula, nopales, olives, onions, and sea vegetables
Fruits include: apples, peaches, pears, plums, limes, mangos, berries, cantaloupe, dates, figs, oranges, papayas, raises, and prunes
Natural grains include: quinoa, rye, wild rice, Kamut, and spelt
Oils include: olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, hemp seed oil, and avocado oil
Nuts and seeds include: hemp seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, and tahini butter
Herbal teas include: chamomile, fennel, ginger, and raspberry
Spices include: basil, cloves, dill, oregano, tarragon, thyme, onion powder, cayenne, pure sea salt, sage, date sugar, and powdered seaweed
Rules Of The Dr. Sebi Diet
Rule 1: Only eat foods listed in the nutritional guide
Rule 2: Drink a gallon of natural spring water
Rule 3: No animal products are allowed.
Rule 4: Alcohol is strictly not allowed
Rule 5: Microwaves are also prohibited
Rule 6: No seedless or canned fruits.
Rule 7: Only consume natural-growing grains as mentioned in his guide
Rule 8: Take Dr. Sebi’s supplements an hour before any other medication
One of the major drawbacks you’ll notice is the low amount of protein in the diet. It goes far enough to outlaw beans and lentils as well which are a good source of non-animal protein. Protein is an important macro that’s needed to build strong muscles and joints.
Also, it’s recommended to buy his supplements. The nutritional value of the supplements is incomplete as the supplements are detailed with the list of nutrients or their quantities.
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The Benefits & Downsides Of The Dr. Sebi Diet
The diet discourages eating processed foods that contain huge amounts of sugar, fat, and calories. It also promotes a strict plant-based diet, studies have shown that plant-based diets can lead to lower obesity rates and heart disease.
Furthermore, the foods mentioned in Dr. Sebi’s nutritional guide are low in calories. Even if consuming nuts, seeds, avocado, and oils; it still wouldn’t cause a surplus of calories.
These reasons may cause weight loss. However, restrictive diets don’t help keep the weight off for good. Most people return to their normal eating habits which causes them to regain the weight. Also, it’s not a sustainable diet given the strict adherents. So, it might help you lose weight in the short run only.
Reduced risk of diseases
A scientific review in 2017 showed that plant-based diets can reduce the risk of heart diseases by 40%. Plant-based diets have also shown to reduce inflammation in the body. In another study, people who consumed at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day had a significantly lower chance of cancer and heart disease.
Healthy gut bacteria
A 2019 study stated that a plant-based diet can promote healthy gut bacteria. This bacterium contributes to a healthy heart, brain, a strong immune system, and cognition.
Animal products, beans, and lentils are all prohibited in the Dr. Sebi diet. That means no poultry, seafood, or red meat. This overly restrictive approach not only makes it unappealing but makes it unsustainable in the long run.
You’re also not allowed to seedless fruits, the logic behind this rule is also not clear from Dr. Sebi. Overall, restrictive diets lead to negative eating habits. Dr. Sebi also calls for using supplements to achieve calorie intake and nutrients, however, supplements should never be used as the primary source of calories or nutrients.
The foods that are permitted in the nutritional guide are not rich in protein. As stated above, protein is a necessary building block for strong muscles. Protein is also essential for the production of enzymes and important hormones that regulate the body.
Doesn’t make your body more alkaline
This is a no-brainer considering that Dr. Sebi wasn’t actually a doctor in the first place. His claim that this diet will help regulate the acid content. However, our miraculous bodies already regulate the pH levels. Research has shown that your diet can only minutely alter this autonomous process.
So, even if you follow the Dr. Sebi diet religiously, your pH levels will not become more alkaline. This debunks the very heart of his diet’s claims.
The Dr. Sebi diet is as controversial as its creator. Dr. Sebi has claimed that this diet will help reduce diseases by making your body more alkaline. However, science tells a different story.
Apart from his major claim being debunked. The diet is overly restrictive causing you to miss out on key nutrients for healthy muscle growth. Like all other fad diets, weight loss exists up until you keep to the diet. The moment you return to your old eating habits, your body gains weight.