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What is a Vertical Diet? All You Need to Know


What is a Vertical Diet? All You Need to Know
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The Vertical Diet is a plan for eating made by a professional bodybuilder and powerlifter to improve performance.

It says that it will improve gut health, fix nutritional deficiencies, and keep hormones in balance. It also promises to help athletes get more energy, last longer, and recover faster.

The Vertical Diet was made for high-performance athletes and bodybuilders initially, but it is also marketed as a way for regular gym-goers to lose weight.

Stan Efferding, an elite powerlifter, developed the Vertical Diet to help bodybuilders, powerlifters, and other serious athletes enhance their performance. The program is also said to work for people who go to the gym occasionally and want to gain muscle mass or lose weight.

On the Vertical Diet, getting enough sleep is equally important. Stan says the best way to improve your training and health is to get the most out of your sleep.

And it's important to sleep well! Stan says you should sleep 6–8 hours every night with as few interruptions as possible. This means you should do everything you can to avoid going to the bathroom, getting up in the middle of the night, etc.

A nap during the day won't help you recover as much as a full night's sleep, but if you need one, it should help.

The Vertical Diet is different from traditional "horizontal" diets, which focus on eating foods from many different food groups. Instead, it focuses on a small number of high-quality, nutrient-rich foods.

Efferding says that limiting the number of foods you eat makes your body better at digesting and absorbing nutrients, which should help with muscle growth, recovery, gut health, and metabolism. However, there is no research indicating these claims.

The Vertical Diet comprises several parts that are meant to help you gain as much muscle as possible.

Even though the diet is meant to be high in carbs, it can be changed to fit different eating styles, such as low-carb diets, intermittent fasting, or the paleo diet.

Foods to Eat & Avoid

Most of the Vertical Diet is made up of red meat and white rice.

Diet supporters say that white rice is the main source of carbs because it is easy to digest, even in large amounts. This is very important for serious athletes whose caloric needs are very high.

Red meat is better than chicken or fish because it has more iron, B vitamins, zinc, and cholesterol, all of which the diet says are important for building muscle and making testosterone.

But since you can't get all the micronutrients you need from just these two foods, the diet also includes a small amount of nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest, like eggs, yogurt, spinach, and salmon.

However, all foods that are hard to digest should be avoided. These are foods like broccoli and cauliflower, as well as onions and garlic, which are high in FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols) and may cause bloating and gas.

Legumes, brown rice, and other grains are also limited because they contain lectins and phytic acid, which may make it harder for your body to absorb some nutrients.

But small amounts of sprouted or soaked legumes and oats are allowed because they are easier to digest.

When to Eat?

Whether you eat 6 meals a day or 2 meals a day, the benefits will be the same as long as the calories are the same. On the Vertical Diet, it does not matter when you eat.

Intermittent fasting and other ways of eating that limit when you can eat do not have more benefits than eating at regular times.

If fasting or eating only at certain times helps you control how many calories you eat, it can be helpful. However, the timing of your meals is not the most important part of this diet.

When you first start, you figure out your basal metabolic rate (BMR), the number of calories your body needs to work while at rest. Then, you add calories based on how you train. To gain muscle weight, bodybuilders should try to eat more calories than they burn.

As your body gets used to the diet and you start to feel hungry between meals, you should "go vertical" by adding more calories. This process is meant to help you build more muscle, recover faster, and work out harder or even more.

The amount of extra calories you need depends on how much you train. You can eat more rice and meat or eat an extra meal during the day.

Once you start feeling hungry between meals again, repeat this process until you reach your goal weight or muscle mass.

Benefits of the Vertical Diet

The Vertical Diet might work for bodybuilders, powerlifters, and other athletes who want to gain muscle mass. It could also help people who want to lose weight or who have trouble breaking down FODMAPs.

May Help Build Muscle

A calorie surplus is important for bodybuilders, powerlifters, and other serious athletes who want to gain muscle.

Focusing on foods that are easy to digest, the Vertical Diet makes it easier to eat high-calorie meals more often without having digestive problems.

Also, the diet encourages you to eat more carbs, which can help you build muscle.

Studies show that eating enough carbs before working out can improve athletic performance. Carbs may also help make more proteins and stop muscles from breaking down.

May Help With Digestive Problems

Studies at Harvard show that people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have fewer digestive problems like bloating, stomach cramps, constipation, and diarrhea when they eat a diet low in FODMAPs. These are the kinds of foods that are limited during the Vertical Diet.

Bodybuilders and other athletes who need to eat a lot of calories may also benefit from low-FODMAP foods because they make you less gassy. If you don't get rid of your bloating, it could stop you from gaining muscle and weight.

Still, the Vertical Diet lets you eat some foods that are high in FODMAPs, like milk, yogurt, apples, cherries, figs, and other fruits. So, if you have IBS, you might want to avoid these foods.

Can the Vertical Diet Improve Gut Health and Fix Nutrient Deficiencies?

The Vertical Diet is a popular diet program that has recently gained much attention for its purported ability to improve gut health and fix nutrient deficiencies.

While there is some evidence to support this claim, there are also some limitations to the effectiveness of the Vertical Diet.

First, the Vertical Diet focuses heavily on incorporating lots of high-quality protein and micronutrients into the diet, which can help to improve gut health by providing key nutrients like essential amino acids and vitamins that support digestive functions.

Additionally, this diet emphasizes eating more fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut, known to contain beneficial probiotics that can help improve gut health by balancing the bacteria in your gut microbiome.

However, there are also some limitations to the Vertical Diet regarding improving gut health and fixing nutrient deficiencies. This includes certain restrictions on certain foods or food groups that can make it challenging to get enough fiber and other necessary nutrients from whole foods sources.

In addition, some people may not be able to stick with a restrictive diet like the Vertical Diet due to its restrictive nature or because it does not offer enough variety or flexibility in terms of food choices.

Overall, while some evidence indicates that the Vertical Diet may be effective in improving gut health and fixing nutrient deficiencies, it is important to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before starting any major dietary changes or making significant modifications to your current diet plan.

Drawbacks of Vertical Diet

It's important to remember that the Vertical Diet has many potential problems, such as:

Fewer Fibers:

Getting enough fiber helps you feel full, keeps your heart healthy, and keeps your gut healthy. It may also lower the chance of getting long-term illnesses like type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.

Insufficient Prebiotics:

Even though the Vertical Diet is said to improve gut health, it leaves out many important sources of prebiotics, which are dietary fibers that feed the good bacteria in your gut. These include garlic, onions, and barley.

Limited Variety:

The diet is limited and repetitive, which makes it hard to stick to for a long time. It could also leave you short on nutrients if you don't plan it right.

Inappropriate for Vegetarians or Vegans:

Since the Vertical Diet focuses on eating red meat and limits vegetables, grains, and legumes, it is not good for vegetarians or vegans.


White rice is usually inexpensive, but the other parts of the Vertical Diet can be pricey, especially if you follow the advice to buy only high-quality foods like grass-fed beef and organic produce.


1. What is the Vertical Diet Plan?

The Vertical Diet Plan is a nutrition program to help you achieve optimal health and fitness by focusing on eating food in its most natural state. This means consuming whole, unprocessed foods that are nutrient-dense and free of potentially harmful additives or artificial ingredients.

2. How does the Vertical Diet plan work?

The plan works by guiding you to make better food choices at each meal and snack throughout the day while also helping to balance your blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation in the body. This can help you lose weight, improve energy levels, enhance sleep quality, etc.

3. Who is the Vertical Diet best suited for?

The diet may be a good choice for anyone looking to improve their overall health, boost energy levels, lose weight, or improve athletic performance. However, it may be especially beneficial for those with diabetes or other metabolic issues due to its focus on balancing blood sugar levels through proper nutrition.


The Vertical Diet is a unique way of thinking about food and nutrition. It's based on the premise that you should eat mostly whole, minimally processed foods. The diet also includes plenty of nutrient-rich foods, such as leafy greens and lean protein sources. There are some drawbacks to the Vertical Diet, such as the lack of variety in the overall plan. However, the Vertical Diet may be worth exploring further if you're looking for a new way to think about your food and nutrition.

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