If you had to eat the same meals each day for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
Many have tackled this question, but there is still no definitive answer. Each proposed diet either has deficiencies when followed long-term, is not suitable for everybody, or is so unappealing that it cannot be sustained. Perhaps there is no “perfect” diet that is suitable for everybody, but it is an interesting idea worth pursuing.
The Perfect Human Diet documentary
In 2012, a documentary called The Perfect Human Diet was released. I have not watched it yet, but it looks like the best place to start for someone exploring this idea. Judging by reviews and comments posted about the film, it concludes that a Paleo-type diet is the best for humans. However, the comments also point out that evidence seems to be cherry-picked to fit the film’s agenda.
A number of companies have produced shakes and nutrition bars that they tout as “meal replacement”. While most of these products are intended for only occasional meal replacement, Soylent is designed to be a long-term replacement for food. It appears that Soylent has found a close approximation of the nutritional requirements of a typical human diet, but drinking a bland shake for every meal is probably not appealing to most people.
The Slow-Carb Diet
There are also many diet plans out there that are restrictive enough to fit within this category. I specifically mention the Slow Carb Diet here because I have a lot of experience in this diet. In its most restrictive form, every meal would have a portion of lean meat (like chicken or beef), a portion of vegetables (like spinach or broccoli), and a portion of beans (like black beans or lentils). The only catch here is that once a week there is a “cheat day” that acts as a pressure release valve, where for one day each week you can indulge yourself on whatever foods you want in whatever quantities you want. Therefore, the Slow-Carb Diet is not a closed system and not restrictive enough to be a “perfect human diet” within the bounds of this concept. However, this diet appears to be on the right track (if you removed the cheat day, can you subsist on lean meats, vegetables, and beans with nothing else in the long term?).
Dogs are not humans, but exploring the concept of dog food might give insights to what a perfect human diet might look like. Veterinarians recommend not giving dogs “people food”. Your pets are supposed to subsist on dog food and dog food alone for their entire lives. Is it possible to create a “people food” that a person can eat for every meal for their entire lives for optimal health? This is similar to the concept of Soylent discussed above.
What do you think? Is it possible to have a “perfect human diet” that most people can thrive on for their entire lives? What might such a diet look like?