Written by: Kelley R. Hill, MSN, RN-BC
In a Nutshell
- VB6 = Vegan Before 6:00pm
- The timing is flexible
- Could be viewed as a more structured flexitarian diet
VB6 was conceived by a food writer and cookbook author as a personal plan to lower blood sugar and cholesterol without having to adopt a completely vegan diet and giving up all animal products.
You’re vegan between waking and 6:00 pm but are then able to eat whatever you want – sensibly and responsibly – for dinner. If you have trouble eating strictly vegan for the prescribed time period, you may choose a shortened or different timeframe. This may be necessary as you adapt to the diet.
Consuming more highly processed foods (like meat substitutes), as well as foods with added sugars and salts, is an easy trap to fall into when pursuing any plant-based diet. They may be vegan but they are not necessarily healthy. Be alert and limit consumption of these.
Can make socializing before 6:00pm – such as weekday lunch with family or colleagues, or weekend gatherings – more challenging, and meals and snacks may need to be brought from home to ensure adherence to the plan throughout the day.
Scientific & Expert Support
There is no direct evidence supporting the health effects of the VB6 diet.
There is a wealth of evidence on the benefits of eating more plant foods to reduce disease risk, as well as improve immunity and gut health.
There is a wealth of evidence on the benefits of reducing saturated fats and cholesterol in your diet, which are greatly associated with animal meats – especially red meat. Decreasing saturated fats and cholesterol reduces risk for heart disease, fatty liver, and obesity.
It can be easy to succumb to many junk foods (highly processed, or with added sugars and salt), especially throughout daylight/working hours (i.e., from waking to 6:00pm).
You should always consult with your physician, and ideally a registered dietician (RD) or nutritionist, before radically changing your diet or eating habits. Especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, are taking prescription medications, or have existing health conditions.
Strength of Evidence: B
There is an abundance of quality, patient-centered evidence that supports eating more plant foods and eating less meats – especially red meat – for many health reasons. There is no evidence directly supporting the VB6 diet. However, diets that promote eating more plant foods generally are not harmful.
A VB6 diet is a flexitarian diet but with time constraints. If you do not wish to abandon meat completely, but need more structure than a flexitarian diet offers, try VB6.
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- Bittman, M. (2013). VB6: Eat vegan before 6:00. New York, NY: Clarkson/Potter Publishers.
- Calabrese, L.H. & Kirchner, E. (2017). Maintaining a healthy immune system: What you can do to help. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/specialties/documents/RJF_Booklet_38singlepages.pdf
- Cleveland Clinic. (2016, December 22). The 6 best (and worst) diets if you have diabetes. Cleveland Clinic – HealthEssentials: Nutrition. Retrieved from: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/3-best-and-3-worst-diets-to-try-when-you-have-diabetes/
- Harvard University – Harvard Medical School. (2020). Special health report – The diet review. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Health Publishing.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017, July 26). Meatless meals: The benefits of eating less meat. Mayo Clinic – Healthy Lifestyle: Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/meatless-meals/art-20048193
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019, July 19). Vegetarian diet: How to get the best nutrition. Mayo Clinic – Healthy Lifestyle: Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/vegetarian-diet/art-20046446
- Mikstas, C. (2019, February 18). The flexitarian diet. WebMD – Diet & Weight Management. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/diet/a-z/flexitarian_diet