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Optimal Diet

Summer is coming and we see ads for beach body readiness. Many of us want to get the “six pack abs” or at least try, as a doctor suggest a different summer goal…..the optimal diet.

What is going to surprise you is it’s not the diet aspect which I will put into the bottom of this article, but instead the old RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) value and how it helps us or doesn’t help us achieve our Optimal Diet. This was created in the 1940’s to help create a nutrition ratio and protocol for our armed forces. It was to set standards that would prevent deficiency and avoid diseases. I don’t like to use deficiencies as a standard in my practice because this means we have reached the point of a diagnosable disease like Vitamin C and Scurvy. Instead, a more holistic and functional medicine approach is to look at insufficiency or ranges of vitamins and minerals that are sub-optimal. At these levels, a patient will begin to experience symptoms. We don’t need to wait till a full disease has appeared before we intervene.

Today medical practitioners have been questioning those old values and are now turning to newer studies and research. I like using the SONA (Suggested optimal Daily intake) Value to guide my dosages for patients. Here is a pdf to help you with what you are already taking.

SONA was based on a 15 year study that looked at Nutrient levels to help people be healthy and disease free, not simply alive or limping along.

There are some recent studies that have come out and made headlines that said “Stop wasting money on Vitamins”. This was probably due to the study which used RDA values and not actually testing to see what a human needs to see if the vitamins actually had value.

Here is a small list of the most common deficiencies in the USA and the difference between RDA and SONA (Remember to evaluate what you are taking and it is highly recommended to do Micronutrient testing every 2-3 years):




Food Equivalant

Vitamin A



4 carrots

Vitamin C



11 glasses OJ

Vitamin E



7lbs of Almonds

Folic Acid



12 cups Broccoli




2lbs red meat




11 chicken breasts

Vitamin D



15 salmon filets

From the above chart, you are starting to see why the dirty word of higher-dosed vitamins is actually part of the optimal diet and skimping on dosage based on studies doesn’t actually yield the results people want.

How I handle this dilemma for my family is we eat as many whole foods as we can, yes we do cheat and I get my micronutrients checked about every 3 years. Here is a snap shot of my most current results. And look-> even with all my healthy living choices, I do have insufficiencies and adding the nutrients into my diet through vitamins helps me do better in my super busy schedule.

Now as promised a quick diet breakdown of the best foods based on health and disease prevention in 3 categories based on Dr. Emanuel Cheraskin as pulled from his 15 years of research on this topic of the “optimum diet.”

Eat Liberally

Eat Sparingly



Animal Fat



Chocolate, Cocoa

Artificial Colorants

Brown Rice


Processed Food



Processed Food

Egg, Seafood, Poultry

Soft Drinks

Sports Drinks



Cakes and Icing

Sweet Potatoes, Yams





Frozen Desserts


Milk Shakes

Canned Fruit Drinks

Whole grain bread, cereal, pasta, flours

Sweetened Breakfast Cereals

If you are following the above diet breakdown but your health is still not on track, come see me (your friendly functional medicine doctor) and ask for some help. It may be your gut not absorbing or insufficiencies or many more things that we can drill down to help you optimize your health.

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