What Is The Vertical Diet And Does It Work?

If you're a professional bodybuilder or simply want to build a significant amount of muscle, you may be familiar with the vertical diet. The method involves eating ample red meat and white rice, and it was created by professional weight lifter Stan Efferding (via BarBend). For the rest of us, hearing about a new diet may pique our interest. There may be some reasons you might want to refrain from venturing into the vertical diet, but there are also some key takeaways from the diet's methodology that can benefit all of us, pro bodybuilders and average folk alike.

The vertical diet dismisses the traditional food pyramid and replaces it with an upside-down T, reports BarBend. Imagine the letter T turned upside down with three distinct sections. You have one group of food below the bottom of the upside-down T that is composed of nuts, dairy, fruits, vegetables, and other items needed for digestive health. The sections on each side of the letter's stem contain red meat and white rice, respectively. This indicates that the vertical diet is heavily focused on red meat and white rice, which may not be the healthiest choices for cardiovascular health, according to Livestrong. The vertical diet lacks fiber, isn't plant-based friendly, and places a strain on the environment because of the amount of meat required. Regardless, there are some valuable aspects of the vertical diet that can be beneficial in creating healthy habits.

Sleep hygiene is a priority

The first step before beginning the vertical diet is to establish healthy sleep habits and practice good sleep hygiene (via The Strength Co). While the copious amounts of red meat and white rice may not be healthy for the average person, a solid sleep routine is a part of the vertical diet that can improve stress, increase energy, and provide many other benefits. The vertical diet emphasizes the importance of getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tips for establishing positive sleep habits include avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, getting moderate exercise throughout the day, and keeping screens and blue light out of the bedroom. Following the vertical diet, the CDC recommends having a consistent bedtime and waking up at the same time every morning, even if it's a weekend. While it may seem like sleeping in might help with restoration after a long week, being consistent with your sleep and wake times can actually stabilize your circadian rhythm and give you more energy.

Avoid ultra-processed foods

The vertical diet has a list of items that aren't included in its eating plans, including added sugars and ultra-processed foods (via EatingWell). The diet also forbids healthy items like legumes, brown rice and grains, onions, garlic, and vegetables that can cause gas in the body. Healthline reports that brown rice contains a significant amount of fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals, particularly in comparison to white rice. While it may not be a good idea to avoid all of the restricted items on the vertical diet's forbidden list, there are benefits to taking processed foods and added sugars out of your diet.

The American Heart Association states that too much sugar in your diet can lead to conditions like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular issues, kidney and liver diseases, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and inflammation. An estimated half of added sugars Americans consume comes from sodas and other sugary drinks, so consider skipping your afternoon coke and replacing it with a healthier option, like green tea. When it comes to processed foods, which are also called cosmetic foods, risks include higher rates of heart disease and obesity, as well as general weight gain (per MedicalNewsToday). Added sugars are considered an ultra-processed food, as are refined carbs, trans fats, and refined vegetable oils. Always read the labels to be informed about the ingredients in the food you consume, and go with whole foods whenever you can.