The 90/10 Diet

The 90/10 Diet

What is the 90/10? I learned this from my mentor and founder of Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Joshua Rosenthal. The 90/10 rule is a basic, simple rule to keep in mind as you go through the day making food choices. It simply states that we should aim to eat healthy the majority of the time (90%), and allow ourselves to also have whatever we want (10%). Doing so will keep from feeling deprived, which eventually leads to eventual binge-eating. Some people have VERY strong willpower and minds who can stick to a particular “diet” for a long time; however, this is not the majority of the crowd. Rather than beating yourself up with counting calories, carbs, fat, points, etc., wouldn’t it much easier to do a general intake of healthy or not-healthy?

A study done by Traci Mann, UCLA Associate professor of psychology, led a study on whether or not diets work and found that dieting is actually a sure-fire way of steadily increasing weight.

If you are not aware of what you’re choosing to feed yourself, I recommend writing down every single thing that goes into your mouth so that you first have an awareness of what you tend to choose. Or! - you can download the “YouFood” app, co-created by a college friend of mine, in which you can take pictures of everything that you eat, making food journaling so easy! What you find might shock you. Then again, it may not. Either way, you have an objective tool that you can use to slowly start incorporating the choosing of an apple versus a muffin, perhaps a banana versus a donut, or whatever healthier option you’ve got available. 

While 90/10 is the RULE, I don’t always live there, depending on where I’m at. Environment has a huge impact on what we choose, or choose NOT to eat. Just a few years ago, I was probably at about 70/30. At my worst, living in Vegas, I was probably eating 30% healthy, 70% unhealthy. (Yes, I was much heavier!). Vegas is tempting... with ALL those all-you-can buffets!!! Our minds can get tricked to believe that we’re getting our money’s worth, but go for quality. Your body will thank you as you age.  I have lots of splurge days at work, when cookies, chocolate, bagels, and chips are easily available... and I struggle on days that I don’t prepare, especially on outings with the family. What helps is that I plan what we eat. It’s not always easy and I don’t always do it... but it’s totally worth the effort to continually have energy and feel vigorous. What would your life be like if you had ALL the energy you need to do ALL the things you have on your to-do list, and then some? 

The goal is to eventually get there... but that doesn’t mean that you have to completely change your entire eating habits to meet that number. That simply won’t last too long. Ease yourself into healthier eating.

What can you do now to start?

What’s your number? Where are you at? Where do you aim to be in the next year, 6 months, 3 months, 1 month? Grab a journal, or to make it easier, download the “YouFood” app. Have Fun!

Changing your diet habits doesn’t have to be dreadful! Think of it as an exploration or an adventure: you GET to try new things! You GET to try new foods. What can you ADD into your diet versus, what must I restrict?


Wolpert, Stuart. “Dieting DoesNot Work, UCLA Researchers Report.” April 3, 2007.