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Review of the Dr. Sebi Diet: Does It Work for Weight Loss?

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Kasparas Aleknavičius, MD October 31, 2022

Restrictive diets sometimes seem very promising, claiming to help you lose that stubborn fat fast.

Although restrictive eating has never been favorable, some people have claimed it to heal their bodies. One of these diets is Dr. Sebi diet – a new way of feeling healthy.

Dr. Sebi diet is a plant-based diet that contains plenty of low-calorie options. It encourages healthy eating because the less junk you eat, the more you’ll feel clean and rejuvenated. Losing weight is all about nutrition and caring for your body. But is the Dr. Sebi diet really that healthy for you?

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What Is the Dr. Sebi Diet?

The Dr. Sebi diet is a plant-based diet that’s believed to rejuvenate cells and eliminate harmful bacteria from your body. Eating certain foods alkalizes blood and helps human body maintain optimal pH levels, leading to a cleaner gut. The creator, Dr. Sebi, wanted to naturally cure diseases with this diet plan.

So what is this diet about? You would mostly consume fruits, sea vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds, oils, herbal tea, and spices. Most people follow the nutritional guide when figuring out what meals to have each day. This is a very strict diet that won’t allow you to have cheat foods.

There aren’t specific dietary guidelines, like macro distribution and caloric intake, that are recommended for this diet. If you’re trying to lose weight, it might be best to stick with a 500-calorie deficit. Fewer calories enhances the fat-burning metabolic process.

What Does It Mean to Alkalize the Body?

Some people enjoy the detoxification of eating super clean foods.

Consuming lots of fruits, vegetables, and other products will flush out your system, leading to strong alkalinization. This happens when the minerals neutralize acid in your bloodstream and gut. Alkaline supports constant blood pH that prevents diabetes.

The Dr. Sebi diet is different from other plant-based diets, since it contains very strict meal plans. You have to cut processed meats, alcoholic beverages, and dairy products completely. In contrast, a regular alkaline diet allows them, but only in tiny amounts.

9 Rules to Follow

Any type of weight loss diet requires a set of distinct rules. The same applies to Dr. Sebi and his unique dietary methods. Just be aware that this plant-based diet is extreme, so always start with a transition period before going straight into the meal plans.

Let’s take a look at 9 rules of the Dr. Sebi diet:

  • Eat foods listed in the nutritional guide only. You should base your meals on this guide and never stray away from the very specific food groups.
  • Drink 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of natural spring water daily. Hydration is the most important step when it comes to detoxifying your internal system.
  • Take Dr. Sebi’s supplements 1 hour before pharmaceuticals. Following this ensures you don’t experience any drug interactions on the diet.
  • All Dr. Sebi products can be taken together without interaction. His supplements are perfectly safe for using in conjunction with teas or pills.
  • No animal products are permitted. This includes processed meats, fish, eggs, poultry, or any type of dairy product that could ruin your progress.
  • No alcohol is allowed on the diet. Dr. Sebi insists that alcoholic beverages will severely damage the alkalinization process in your body.
  • Avoid wheat products and only eat the “natural-growing grains” listed in the guide. Natural grains will help fuel your body with vitamins and minerals.
  • Avoid canned or seedless fruits. Lots of canned products have added sugars and preservatives that might hinder the alkaline levels in your system.
  • According to Sebi, using the microwave will “kill your food,” so avoid using it. Try to find other ways of heating up food, like using a low-heat oven.

Allowed Foods

There are specific food groups you have to follow on the Dr. Sebi alkaline diet. It’s very important you don’t cheat during this diet, as you might lose all of the “alkalinization” progress. It might be best if you plan the meals a few days before trying this.

Here are some foods you can eat:

  • Fruits: Seeded melons, apples, berries, peaches, plums, pears, currants, dates, figs, mangoes, cantaloupe, papayas, key limes, and soft coconuts.
  • Vegetables: Tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumber, chickpeas, bell peppers, avocado, zucchini, olives, onions, kale, lettuce, and squash.
  • Natural grains: Spelt, fonio, rye, wild rice, quinoa, teff, amaranth, and kamut.
  • Seeds and nuts: Hemp seeds, raw sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, and walnuts.
  • Oils: Grapeseed oil, avocado oil, hempseed oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, and olive oil.
  • Herbal teas: Raspberry, ginger, fennel, chamomile, and elderberry.
  • Spices: Cayenne, cloves, basil, sweet basil, onion powder, pure sea salt, cloves, oregano, and thyme, sage, pure agave syrup, and tarragon.

Foods To Avoid

The Dr. Sebi diet will only work if you eat the right plant-based foods. You’ll gain plenty of health benefits just by following this strict meal plan. However, if you need some of these banned products, it might be worth trying another alkaline diet.

Below, you’ll find foods to avoid completely:

  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Seedless fruit
  • Red meat
  • Soy products
  • Canned goods
  • Processed foods
  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Wheat
  • Fish
  • Alcohol
  • Poultry

Does the Dr. Sebi Diet Help With Weight Loss?

Following any kind of restrictive diet may help you reduce weight. This is due to the low amount of calories you’ll be consuming every day. Once you cut out processed food from meals, the body begins to burn more fat for energy instead of glucose storage.

Although you can lose weight on the Dr. Sebi diet, it isn’t specifically designed for weight loss, only for increasing alkaline content in your system. You should still do other common fitness methods like cardio-based exercise, strength training, or endurance challenges to see results.

Since you will focus on eating whole foods, and avoiding added sugar, you can expect to lose around 20-25 pounds when following this diet for 6 months. Pairing nutritious foods with intense exercise might boost that number. The safe drop-off range is 1-2 pounds a week, making this weight reduction suitable for your long-term health.

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Are There Any Other Benefits of Following This Diet?

The benefits of the Dr. Sebi diet have not been studied separately, so any benefits can only be evaluated from the perspective of general plant-based diets. Most of these potential advantages may also relate to losing weight and how it strengthens your body.

Let’s evaluate some of the possible benefits of Dr. Sebi diet:

  • Helps with gut health: You’re avoiding ultra processed foods on this diet, meaning your gut won’t be full of harmful bacteria. Products like fennel, hemp seeds, and papaya are especially great for boosting gastrointestinal function.
  • May reduce the risk of heart disease: Natural grains and seeds are known to prevent heart conditions. This is due to the fiber that reduces low-density lipoprotein – bad cholesterol that limits blood flow to your organs.
  • Appetite control: Some foods containing healthy fats can suppress your appetite and prevent you from binge eating. These foods might be avocados, nuts, and several types of oil that make up most of your meals.
  • May reduce inflammation: The Dr. Sebi diet contains more plant-based foods than other vegan diets. Fruit and vegetables specifically reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, protecting you against future autoimmune disorders.

4 Downsides of the Dr. Sebi Diet

Restricting loads of calories may pose certain health risks. This can hinder your weight loss progress or trigger long-term complications, like malnutrition and eating disorders. You should always speak to a medical doctor before trying a new restrictive diet.

Here are 4 downsides of the Dr. Sebi diet plan:

Not Sustainable

There isn’t much choice on this diet, as you have to pick foods that increase alkaline content in your body. Some people might struggle making meals with plenty of nutrition and variety. Dr. Sebi’s diet is not sustainable and may also lead to weight fluctuations.

People with a past eating disorder will most likely struggle with this diet. It might lead to a negative relationship with food and encourage people to create unhealthy eating habits. You need a proper balanced diet to stay healthy and lose weight safely.

May Lead to Nutritional Deficiencies

The Dr. Sebi diet restricts a lot of products and has very limited food that may not give you enough energy. Not getting adequate amounts of minerals and vitamins can lead to nutritional deficiencies. This is due to the removal of the largest food groups containing fiber, iron, and protein.

On this diet, you won’t have dietary guidelines that tell you exactly what to eat every day. People may struggle finding meals that fill them up properly. With a lack of guidance on the Dr. Sebi diet, you can be missing nutrients essential for your health.

Lacks Scientific Evidence

Dr. Sebi has made some bold claims about this diet, but none of them have been proven. They lack evidence from scientific research that specifically studies the effects of dieting on long-term health. It’s not worth trying the diet if you’ve only read the claims.

Some of these claims, including the prevention of diseases in an alkaline environment, may be false. Dr. Sebi isn’t a professional doctor and can’t prove how high-alkaline content cures health conditions. You may want to find another vegan diet that has solid evidence against its benefits.

Can Be Expensive

Getting the supplements is usually advised for this diet to boost alkaline in your system, but they might be expensive for some people. This eating plan may not be a long-term sustainable option for those wanting to do the diet for a few weeks or months.

Other supplements are also recommended to prevent nutrient deficiencies, which adds to the total cost. It’s not worth spending the money if you can buy products for another vegan diet that doesn’t require expensive supplements.

For a rough estimate, you might spend around $200-300 just buying the supplements and going grocery shopping. It could even go up to $400 if you want other pills to keep energy levels up.

Supplements Needed To Make Dr. Sebi Diet Safe

You will need additional supplements to avoid nutritional deficiencies in the future. Minerals and vitamins are usually good for maintaining your energy throughout the diet, but it’s worth finding more supplementents to have on the plant-based, restrictive diet.

Vitamin B-12

There aren’t enough foods that have sufficient vitamin B-12 in them. This includes a large amount of animal products, which you can’t eat on this diet.

Some common symptoms of Vitamin B-12 deficiency are pale skin, heart palpitations, loss of appetite, depression, memory loss, fatigue, and weak limbs. You should get at least 5.94 mcg a day if you’re a man and 3.78 mcg if you’re a woman.

Protein

This restrictive diet doesn’t contain many protein-rich foods that will fuel your body during exercise. You also need plenty of this nutrient to build muscle and have a faster recovery.

If you don’t consume adequate amounts of protein, symptoms like hair loss, weak muscles, skin problems, mood changes, and recurring infections may occur. Aim to get at least 50g of protein a day, either through nuts or protein-based supplements.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Dr. Sebi’s diet only contains a small amount of food containing omega-3. This nutrient is an integral part of regulating hormones in your body, including those fat-burning hormones. Omega-3 fatty acids help support the metabolism when reducing fat cells.

Some of the main benefits of omega-3 comprise a reduction in blood pressure, triglycerides, plaque in the arteries, and depression-like symptoms. You need plenty of these fatty acids to maintain long-term health and prevent chronic problems.

Choosing Intermittent Fasting Instead for Faster Weight Loss

Dr. Sebi’s diet might seem appealing, with all the reviews claiming it can heal the body. However, it lacks scientific evidence and can cause various nutrient deficiencies, which could eventually force you to seek help from a doctor.

Intermittent fasting can become your healthy alternative. It is an excellent, scientifically proven way to lose weight and improve overall health. This plan relies on when you eat, rather than what you eat. You can still consume plenty of nutrients that save you from potential deficiencies.

Limiting your eating pattern has many health benefits for reducing body fat. It can regulate hormones that control hunger and suppress your appetite. Fewer snacking episodes means you won’t hinder any weight loss progress over time.

Beginners are advised to try the 12/12 fast first and then adjust the fasting window. You would eat during a 12-hour window and then fast for the remaining 12. During the fast, your metabolism works harder to burn fat for energy sources.

You can try the DoFasting app to follow your personalized eating schedule. It contains multiple fasting types suitable for both beginners and pros. Having some guidance while fasting can help you find a routine that works around exercise and diets.

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Conclusion

There are claims that diseases can’t operate in an alkaline environment, but this might not be true due to the lack of evidence. Dr. Sebi’s diet may not be the best choice, and you should follow another diet when losing weight safely, as you need plenty of nutrients to improve your overall health.

Author

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Kasparas Aleknavičius, MD
  • Head of Medical Affairs at Kilo Health
  • Medical Doctor at Vilnius University, Lithuania
  • Partnering with the EU-funded Young50 and EUPAP projects

Kasparas Aleknavicius is a medical doctor that graduated from Vilnius University, working as head of medical affairs at Kilo Health. After nearly 5 years in the industry, Kasparas focuses on digital health and is looking for innovative ways to help people lead healthy lifestyles through digital health and wellness platforms.

You can find Kasparas on LinkedIn and follow his latest research on Medium.

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