Vertical feeding is a topic of discussion, but do nutritionists recommend it?

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Every diet has a slightly different goal, whether it’s to help you lose weight, improve your overall health, reduce physical inflammation, or do something else entirely. The Vertical Diet is designed to help improve your body composition, and it appeals to people who want to gain weight.

meet the experts: Scott Keatley, RD, is co-owner of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy; Albert Matheny, RD, CSCS, is co-founder of Soho Strength Lab and a consultant for ProMix Nutrition; Jessica Cording, RD, is the author of The Little Book of Game-Changers.

But what is the vertical diet and who can benefit from it? Nutritionists break it down.

What is vertical diet?

The Vertical Diet is an eating plan created by professional bodybuilder Stan Efferding. He wrote a book called The Vertical Diet: A Simple, Sensible, and Sustainable Lifestyle Plan for Improving Body Composition for Optimal Health and Performance According to the Amazon description, this book with Damon McCune, Ph.D., RD, lays the foundation for an eating program that takes away the confusion and puts you on the path to weight loss, better performance, and overall better health. Is.

This diet has been promoted by many people, including Hafthor Björnsson (who played The Mountain). game of Thrones) and Philadelphia Eagles player Lane Johnson. It focuses on eating nutrient-rich foods that are easy to digest.

The Efferdings website says the diet aims to increase metabolism and overall digestive health. The website notes that the basic principles of the Vertical Diet can and should be used to improve and adapt any diet program.

But there are a lot of restrictions in the diet. The idea behind the vertical diet is to limit food variety to increase nutrient absorption, says Scott Keatley, RD, co-owner of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy.

Efferding also has a vertical diet meal delivery service, which includes programs designed to help followers build muscle, lose weight or customize their meals based on their goals.

What foods can you eat on the vertical diet?

Keatley says the vertical diet consists of red meat and white rice as well as some vegetables, full-fat dairy products, eggs, and some low FODMAP fruits. (The low FODMAP diet is commonly used to help people explore their food sensitivities.) Kettley says it emphasizes foods that are easy to digest and rich in nutrients. . The main components of the diet include:

  • protein source: There is a heavy emphasis on red meat, especially lean meat.

  • carbohydrates: White rice is the preferred carbohydrate source.

  • vegetables: These are usually low FODMAP options like carrots, cucumbers, and spinach.

  • fat: Sources are usually things like eggs and full-fat dairy.

  • Fruit: These are limited to low FODMAP options like oranges and blueberries.

What foods can’t you eat on the vertical diet?

According to Albert Matheny, RD, CSCS, co-founder of Soho Strength Lab and advisor to ProMix Nutrition, the diet recommends avoiding the following foods:

  • Brown rice

  • grains other than white rice

  • most vegetable oils

  • soy

  • beans

  • Groundnut

  • Pea

  • Onion

  • Garlic

  • coffee

  • added sugar

  • sugar alcohol

  • High FODMAP vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower)

  • High FODMAP fruits (like apples, cherries and pears)

What are the potential health benefits of going on a vertical diet?

Jessica Cording, RD, author, says the potential benefits are mostly around digestion. The Little Book of Game-Changers, She says, if someone has underlying gastrointestinal issues, being on a low-FODMAP diet by default gives them a chance to eliminate things that can cause problems.

Matheny agrees. He says this diet removes a lot of foods that often upset people’s digestion. But people will also adopt a vegan diet and talk about how much better they feel. This is often because they cut out fried chicken and other foods that may not make you feel good.

Cording says the diet is also high in protein, which can aid in muscle growth. Matheny says most people don’t get enough protein in the day. For 90% of people in the US, this diet will be an improvement over what they currently eat.

Cording also likes that the diet does not include added sugar. She says this will help health in other ways.

What are the potential concerns of vertical feeding?

Experts have some concerns about adopting a vertical diet. Keatley says you’re missing out on a bunch of micronutrients by limiting your starch intake to just rice, especially trace minerals and some healthy fats.

Both Ketley and Cording are concerned about the low amount of fiber in this diet. Cording says this may have consequences for digestive health. She says that the diet is also so limited that it can deprive you of other nutrients. Cording says high consumption of red meat is also worrisome: It’s linked to an increased risk of cancer and other health problems.

Matheny says the diet isn’t the healthiest eating plan you can choose. He says, I wouldn’t say that this diet is going to improve your nutrition.

She says the lack of diversity in diet is also a concern for Cordingit, making it less likely that someone will adopt it.


While experts say the vertical diet can help you lose weight, they don’t necessarily recommend trying it. If you want to find ways to get more protein in your diet, Recording suggests talking to a registered dietitian for personalized advice.

Keatley agrees. If you want to improve performance, work with a sports nutrition-focused dietitian, he says. They can get you where you want to be with fewer restrictions.

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