What is the Pegan Diet?

What is the Pegan Diet?

Invented by Mark Hyman. MD, in 2014, the pegan diet is a hybrid of paleo and vegan diets. Hyman advises pegan followers to focus on what they eat rather than how much they eat. The pegan diet emphasizes real, whole, fresh food that is sustainably raised; low glycemic load; and adequate amounts of protein and omega-3 essential fatty acids. The diet contains 75 percent plant-based foods, preferably organic and local, and 25 percent animal-based foods. Dairy products and gluten are prohibited. Eggs, sustainably raised meat and fatty fish are suggested protein sources. Gluten-free grains and legumes should be eaten sparingly and sugar is allowed as an occasional treat.

While there have been no clinical trials on the pegan diet, the emphasis on vegetables, fruits, heart-healthy fats and minimally processed foods makes this a nutrient-dense diet. However, no evidence suggests that avoiding gluten, grains, dairy and legumes is healthier for people who do not have allergies or intolerances to these foods. In fact, whole grains and legumes have been consistently linked with better health outcomes; limiting these foods may be difficult to sustain and could lead to nutrient deficiencies.


Hyman, M. Why I am a Pegan – or Paleo-Vegan – and Why You Should Be Too! Dr. Hyman website. Published November 7, 2014. Accessed January 22, 2019.
Melina V, Craig W, Levin S. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116(12):1970-1980.
What is the pegan diet? Dr. Mark Hyman explains what pegan means. Youtube website. Published January 2, 2019. Accessed February 8, 2019.

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Taylor Wolfram
Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN, is a consultant and private practice dietitian based in Chicago. She uses a Health At Every Size framework to provide inclusive nutrition counseling and intuitive eating coaching. Read her blog at taylorwolfram.com.