All You Should Know About the Dr. Sebi Diet and Why It's Risky

Dr. Sebi, a native Honduran who refers to himself as an intracellular therapist and herbalist, claims an organic, vegan, largely raw diet will cleanse your cells of toxins and cure diseases. He founded the Usha Healing Village in Honduras to help teach his ideas about dietary and herbal therapy. Although some proponents of the Dr. Sebi diet say it has enhanced their health, it is not based on reputable scientific evidence and may be harmful. Consult your doctor before starting the plan.

Dr. Sebi Diet Credit: MAIKA 777/Moment/GettyImages


The Sebi diet is based on an eclectic theory from a nonmedical viewpoint and carries a serious risk of multiple nutritional deficiencies.

Dr. Sebi Diet

The Dr. Sebi food list divides all foods into six categories: live, raw, dead, hybrid, genetically modified or drugs. His diet emphasizes live and raw foods, which he terms "electric foods." According to Sebi, these foods are alkaline and can help heal the body of the effects of "dead," or supposedly acidic foods, which include all meat, poultry, seafood, products containing a leavening agent like yeast, synthetic or processed items, alcohol, sugar, iodized salt or anything fried. On the plan, you'll avoid all seedless fruits, insect- or weather-resistant crops like corn or certain tomatoes, and anything with added vitamins or minerals. Instead, you'll eat plain ripe fruit; nonstarchy vegetables, especially leafy greens; raw nuts and nut butters; and grains like quinoa, rye or kamut.

Sample Daily Menu

Breakfast on Sebi's recommended diet might consist of a breakfast shake made from unsweetened almond butter, pure maple syrup, almond milk, powdered sea moss, vanilla extract, and cinnamon or cooked cream of rye paired with a cup of herbal tea such as chamomile or red raspberry. Lunch could be a pasta salad containing chopped fresh vegetables and spelt noodles tossed with a dressing made from almond milk and olive oil. For dinner, you might have a vegetable mushroom soup with a large green salad or a vegetable stir-fry on wild rice.

Potential Health Benefits

People who switch from a standard American diet that's high in fat, saturated fat, processed and fast foods, refined grains and sugar to Sebi's diet will almost certainly lose weight. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the increased intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains paired with the elimination of red meats, like beef and pork, may also significantly decrease the risk of cancer, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. Most Americans consume too much sodium; Sebi's diet might dramatically lower the amount you consume, thereby lowering your blood pressure and reducing your stroke and heart disease risk.

Possible Diet Disadvantages

Because the Sebi diet strictly reduces or eliminates whole categories of food, you may become deficient in essential nutrients like iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids unless you plan your daily diet extremely carefully and consume dietary supplements regularly. Sebi claims that his diet works because it's not germs that cause illness and infection, but a buildup of mucus that can only be rectified by his advised alkaline plan. There is no research to support the idea that mucus cleansing cures disease, and Sebi, who has not been medically trained, does not offer any clinical test results, only anecdotal evidence. Even if you do start the plan, it may be hard to maintain around friends or family members who don't have the same dietary restrictions.

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