I am an athlete (competitive running accompanied by yoga, calisthenics, and swimming) seeking the ideal diet. I've been advised to adopt diet plans ranging from Veganism to Paleo, Whole Food Plant Based, etc.

The vegan camp claims humans are essential herbivorous, the paleo camp insists animal protein and fats allowed early hominids to develop into current humans.

Vegans cite low disease levels among vegans, while meat-eaters claim the Maasai, who eat a diet of raw meat and blood, have virtually no Western disease either.

Is there an authoritative answer to the question of the ideal human diet?

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    I hope this question would not be closed because it addresses nutrition and not fitness/exercises. I'd like to hear opinions on the subject as well. I'm thinking that above all said, moderation in food consumed is still the best way to enjoy life without restriction on a lot of food choices. Let's see what others have to say. Jun 12, 2014 at 0:09
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    Mmm...it's borderline. If you could add something about your current running routine and wanting to support that + healthy life it would be better. It's still a good question as it, but adding that would definitely push it on topic.
    – JohnP
    Jun 12, 2014 at 2:20
  • I find it too broad as it stands and would like some more specifics. As it stands what is the ideal human diet is far too broad, with an entire industry and field of study devoted to answering that question. I would say read the books, studies and arguments made towards each and decide which you agree with.
    – Marc K
    Jun 12, 2014 at 4:23
  • This is a debate in which they get to the meat question pretty well google.com/… Jun 12, 2014 at 13:07
  • I agree with @inquisitiveIdiot, I like the question and would love to hear responses but I don't think there could be ONE definitive answer which is a requirement for SE / SO. Jun 12, 2014 at 13:15

3 Answers 3


There is no authoritative answer. Science and authority don't mix very well, but you can still have an authoritative answer to some question when the vast majority of scientists have come to the same conclusion. This happens when the known facts leave no room for other answers. In case of nutrition this is certainly not the case. Therefore the best you can do is read the peer reviewed journals like e.g. AJCN, many of their articles are free to read. This way you can shape your ideas more based on hard facts rather than vague opnions.


The answer to this question seems to be based on what the person giving the answer - is selling. There are so many varied responses from doctors alone that it is shocking. I suspect that diet has a lot to do with environment so though raw meat may work for the Masai folks, maybe it is their nomadic lifestyle that supports it. Similarly, the Chinese consume a lot of soy but the debate about soy is still on.

I would recommend experimenting on yourself, much like Tim Ferris did in the 4-hour body (you can get a summary of the book or video online for free) and decide which works best for your genetics and environment.


Have you ever seen a strong vegan? Or met one you didn't annoy you?

Since you are an athlete, I highly doubt you will succumb to the "diseases of civilization" unless you stop your athletic practice. You need the animal protein to stay strong (read: healthy) and you need all that good green stuff present in vegetables. And, I'd argue, you need a 1/2 pound cheeseburger and some pizza and beer (or whatever) every once in a while to maintain your "mental wellness."

I'd also have to ask, do you feel that your current diet is inferior to something else? If the answer to this is yes, then find out what top athletes in your sport are eating, and dig in! Good food drives athleticism, and a powerlifter in a bench shirt can eat himself into a heart attack and be the best at what he does. Eat for performance, and keep performing.

  • Here is a vegan MMA figher. Please tell him how annoying he is. I'd like to see how that turns out - mikemahler.com/online-library/articles/mma-training/…
    – user2861
    Jun 23, 2014 at 4:32
  • -1. There are MANY strong vegans, and many that are not annoying. Some of them are even the same people (gasp!). Also, blindly recommending "what the top athletes" are eating is spaghetti advice (Throw it at the wall and see what sticks).
    – JohnP
    Jun 23, 2014 at 15:48

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