My PAMM Anti-Inflammatory Diet

By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.

What’s the best diet for weight maintenance, heart health and overall body health? Hands down, the truly anti-inflammatory, Pan-Asian Modified Mediterranean Diet – meet PAMM: a blend of the best of traditional Asian and Mediterranean dietary approaches.

Best Diet for Health

Over the years we’ve seen many diets come and go in the name of health and wellness. Some have employed extreme approaches, eliminating one or more of the macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates, and proteins) we need, and others have generally emphasized calorie restriction. But it’s about much more than weight loss, folks… Maintaining a healthy weight is, of course, important to help keep heart disease, osteoporosis and some cancers away; but what’s really crucial for health is preventing excess inflammation in the body, which can cause all sorts of degenerative diseases, including the ones mentioned above.

This is why – after much observation, study, and personal research – I’ve concluded that the absolute best overall diet for health is one I call the Pan-Asian Modified Mediterranean diet. Why? PAMM is truly anti-inflammatory, which means it supports quality of life and longevity. It also, as a lifestyle approach, can help you reach your weight loss goals of losing excess weight and keeping it off.

Why Are Asian and Mediterranean Diets Healthy?

Before American fast food “modernized” the world, populations living in the Mediterranean regions of countries like Italy, Greece and Spain and in some Asian countries, which also consumed “traditional” diets particular to these regions, had a much lower incidence of heart disease than people in Northern Europe and the United States. While lifestyle and eating patterns may also be interdependent factors in this cardiac phenomenon, foods native to some Mediterranean and Asian cultures also tend to be anti-inflammatory. If chronic inflammation underlies so many degenerative diseases, shouldn’t we begin with what we put in our mouths each day? The PAMM diet, which is more of a food guide, combines the best foods from each region.

When compared with the traditional American diet of burgers and fries, pizza, hot dogs, heaping plates of pasta served with bread, macaroni and cheese, etc., the traditional Mediterranean and Asian diets are high vibrational: not only do they have less of what we don’t want (e.g. refined sugar and “bad fats”), they have more of what we do want (essential nutrients). While the Mediterranean diet generally includes helping-after-helping of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, local fish, home-produced olive oil, fresh garlic, seeds and nuts, the typical Asian diet is bountiful in fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, locally-harvested seaweeds, and soy products.

What Is the PAMM Diet?

The PAMM diet is an anti-inflammatory diet by nature. Designed to prevent excess insulin response and free radical activity in the body, the PAMM diet is essentially a specific combination of select foods (macronutrients):

  • 20 to 25 percent lean protein
  • 35 to 40 percent healthy fats
  • 40 to 45 percent low-glycemic carbohydrates

Remember, the PAMM diet is a lifestyle choice for good health, not a temporary quick fix or weight loss tool. It’s got to be fun, filling, tasty and not too restrictive.

20 to 25 Percent Lean Protein

By eating protein, we get the amino acids we need to build and repair the cells in our bodies. There are 22 amino acids, eight of which are “essential,” which means we have to get them from dietary sources. Animal sources of protein like meat, dairy products and eggs are considered “complete” in that they contain all the essential amino acids. Plant sources of protein, like beans, nuts, soy, and rice, are considered “incomplete;” we need to eat combinations of them to get all the amino acids our bodies need.

With the exception of fish, which contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids – healthy fats we want, it’s best to eat more lean proteins like skinless chicken or turkey, and lean beef. Because animals (and humans) store toxins in their fat, eating fattier parts of meats and cheeses can contribute to inflammation. Be sure to eat organic or wild-caught sources of protein whenever possible to protect against the pesticides, antibiotic residues, and artificial hormones that are permitted in conventional food production.

The best sources of protein are wild-caught fish, organic chicken, pork or beef, eggs, organic low- or non-fat dairy products, or non-GMO soy products like tofu, edamame, or tempeh.

35 to 40 Percent Healthy Fats

Fat often gets a bad rap as the culprit behind heart disease and obesity. However, we need fats, which contain twice the energy per unit weight than proteins and carbohydrates, to use for energy and to make and maintain structures like neurons and cell membranes. Our brains, for example, are comprised of more than 60 percent fat. Fats also help our bodies absorb nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as carotenoids. As foods that do not provoke insulin release, they can actually help us lose weight when eaten in moderation. It’s not whether we should eat fats, then, but which kinds of fats we should eat.

Many doctors credit the enhanced longevity and health patterns of Mediterranean people to the large quantity of olive oil in their diets. Studies have shown that olive oil, which is primarily a monounsaturated fat, lowers risk of heart disease, and breast, skin, and colon cancers, and other research points to benefits for arthritis and diabetes. Olive oil contains vitamins and squalene, an immunoprotective factor, as well as potent antioxidants that help support immune function and healthy blood pressure. Another great source of healthy fat is avocado. Avocados offer invaluable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection. They are rich in vitamin E, folic acid, vitamin B-6, and pantothenic acid, and are a great source of essential minerals and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential fatty acid. Avocados are also rich in glutathione, an anticarcinogenic antioxidant, and beta-sitosterols, which help lower cholesterol.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) are other important fats to consume. Polyunsaturated omega-3s not only help us produce necessary chemicals and hormones in our bodies, but they are anti-inflammatory, and help lower our risk of heart disease. The best sources of polyunsaturated omega-3s include fish, walnuts, and flaxseed. Polyunsaturated omega-6 fats, some of which are essential, are inflammatory, on the other hand, which is why we should consume equal amounts of polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fats. As omega-6s are often hidden in processed foods or served in restaurants, we tend to get as many of them as we need without trying; the typical American diet tends to be extremely omega-6 heavy. Omega-6s like corn, canola, and soy oils lower HDL cholesterol (which we need significant amounts of), as well as oxidize quickly in our bodies, making us more vulnerable to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and cataracts.

Saturated fats are usually found in animal products like meats, poultry, fish, dairy products and eggs, but also come from plant sources like coconut and palm oil. Saturated fats have been given a bad rap in the past because they can contribute to higher cholesterol levels in the body. However, we now know that inflammation of the arteries, not cholesterol, is what causes heart disease. Hence, saturated fats like eggs and coconut oil are good dietary choices. Saturated fats are generally less inflammatory than unsaturated fats in that they are very resistant to oxidation, which causes inflammation. Some sources of saturated fat may be more inflammatory, though, due to toxic load. Like humans, animals store toxins in subcutaneous fat, so try to choose grass fed, organic, and wild-caught meat, fish, dairy products and eggs in order to avoid inflammatory chemicals (insecticides and pesticides) and other toxins found in commercially produced food sources of saturated fat.

The absolute worst fats are hydrogenated, or trans, fats. These killer fats, which are commonly found in processed and fried foods, have an extra hydrogen molecule artificially added to them as a preservative. They trigger inflammatory processes and cause free radical damage to cell membranes. Avoid hydrogenated, or trans, fats altogether.

40 to 45 Percent Low-Glycemic Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the most common source of energy in the diet. However, not all carbohydrates are created equally, so to speak. There is a significant difference between unrefined (healthy) carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and refined (unhealthy) carbohydrates like bleached flour, white rice, and sugar. The difference lies in how quickly our bodies break them down and glucose enters the bloodstream as fuel for cells.

While we digest refined carbohydrates relatively quickly, our bodies take a much longer time to break down unrefined and complex carbohydrates, especially those with a lot of fiber (which promotes a healthy digestive tract in addition to filling us up) and/or fat. This longer digestion period results in a moderate and sustained release of insulin, the pancreatic hormone which helps guide blood glucose into cells. Refined carbohydrates, on the other hand, require that the body immediately release enough insulin to accommodate the amount of sugar quickly entering the bloodstream.

Eating too many refined carbohydrates, and not enough of carbohydrates in their natural form, can cause chronic surging of insulin levels and a vicious cycle of carbohydrate cravings. Too much insulin in the bloodstream, over time, can cause chronic inflammation of blood vessels and engender insulin resistance, a condition where cells no longer recognize insulin. Insulin resistance eventually can cause diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

The key with carbohydrates is to primarily eat the ones that require the least amount of insulin to be immediately released for digestion. There are a few ways of achieving low to moderate insulin release. The first is choosing to eat more low-glycemic carbohydrates. Glycemic index, or GI, is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100, based on how quickly they enter the bloodstream. Healthy carbs generally have a GI of less-than-50; carbs become less healthy the closer the GI number is to 100. You can learn the glycemic index of particular carbohydrates by searching the GI Database at Ideally, the majority of the 40 to 45 percent carbohydrate portion of food should consist of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which have the lowest glycemic indexes and are full of phytonutrients.

If you’re getting depressed reading this, thinking “I can’t eat pasta or rice anymore,” never fear! Complete avoidance is not only unrealistic, but unnecessary. Just practice the second and third ways to achieve low insulin release: practice moderation with these foods – small appetizer portions are key – and eat them in combination with healthy fats and proteins to offset insulin response.

Can Eating Pasta Help You Live Longer?

Want to learn more about PAMM? Download my free PAMM Diet Ebook!

Additional Reference:

© 2014, 2017, 2020 Stephen Sinatra, MD. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply


  1. Crista

    on May 13, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Are Acorn squashes, and pumpkin low glycemic? Are they considered vegetables? Are beans and lentils on this diet?

  2. Betty Curley

    on August 1, 2013 at 1:58 am

    Where would I find your”NoDiet,High-speed Weight Loss Program” Is it similar to the Pam Diet. Thank you

  3. HMDI Editors

    on October 18, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Hi Betty, Dr. Sinatra does have a supplement product designed to assist with weight loss; you can view it at However, to lose weight, a person should not just take a supplement; s/he should also adhere to a healthy diet, such as the PAM diet, as well as moderately exercise on a regular basis. Best of health and happiness!

  4. HMDI Editors

    on October 18, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Yes, yes, and yes. (Organic) vegetables are always preferred to foods like bread, pasta, pastries and the like – they are more nutritious and good sources of fiber. The more natural state the food is in, the better. Best of health and happiness.

  5. Lina Howard

    on February 15, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Does CANNED wild Alaskan salmon has the same benefit of EPA and DHA as the fresh fish? Canned salmon are pasteurized with very high temperature that can destroy the delicate omega-3 oil.

  6. jeanandreassen

    on July 11, 2014 at 2:35 am

    I take several of Dr Sinatra’s vitamins. Since there are some of the same ingredients in all of them, is it possible to take too much.For example,Omega Q plus and Omega 3 slim.Both have calamarine oil.

  7. HMDI Editor

    on July 11, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    As we do not sell any supplements at Heart MD Institute, it’s best if you contact the folks at with questions about specific supplements Dr. Sinatra formulates: you can contact Healthy Directions customer service by email at [email protected] or by phone at 1 800-304-1708. Best of health and happiness.

  8. Randall DeArment

    on August 7, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    I am a vegetarian and would like to know which essential proteins I can’t get from plant sources (“incomplete”) Vs. animal sources (“complete”)

  9. Mario

    on August 13, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Have you heard of the supplement by pure encapsulations called MethylAssist? wanted to know your opinion on this, thank you.

  10. Marianne

    on November 18, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    My cholesterol is 291, LDL-165, HDL-115,VLDL-11, Trigl-56. Dr. wants me off my cold pressed virgin olive oil, org.coconut oil, org. cod liver oil and on statins. I am on Dr. Sinatra Omega Q with Resv.She says these fats are increasing my LDL. Can you help me? Thank you.

  11. Lynne

    on December 4, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Try cutting out wheat, dairy, soy, corn, potatoes and alcohol. Eat chicken, fish, fruits and vegetables. It is not easy at first but it worked for me. I also take vitamin C 1000mg twice a day. Increased my energy. My LDL was 165 now its 118. Also walk/exercise.

  12. pat

    on April 22, 2015 at 3:52 am

    is there a PAMM diet. book available anywhere??

  13. HMDI Editor

    on April 22, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    The Healing Kitchen and The Great Cholesterol Myth Cookbook are full of great information and recipes that reflect Dr. Sinatra’s PAM Diet principles.

  14. HMDI Editor

    on April 22, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    We don’t post Dr. Sinatra’s opinions on branded supplement products, only generic supplements or supplement ingredients.

  15. Viviane

    on October 14, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Is ghee impact cholesterol?

  16. Viviane

    on October 14, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    ghee and health benefits especially cholesterol;l?

  17. Viviane

    on October 14, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    ghee and health benefit (especially on cholesterol)
    All ghee good? If not – What do you think of grass fed cow ghee ?

    Need to know. Thanks.

  18. Blanche Burr

    on November 19, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    I am unable to open the download to read any recipes.

  19. Vivian L. Hopkins

    on August 9, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Thank you, Dr. Sinatra, for the clarity in which you explain this very important health issue of inflammation, as well as all the healthful hints at your website. I have read your book The Great Cholesterol Myth, which you coauthored with Jonny Bowden, and I try to stay informed and updated at your website on healthy living and aging. Your research and wisdom are truly appreciated.

  20. Sylvia Roberts

    on October 18, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    I am unsure if this is the appropriate place to ask a question
    My husband has the MTHFR genetic defect.
    Is the regular folic acid in your supplements

  21. HeartMD Editor

    on November 8, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Hi Sylvia,

    When it comes to this defect Dr. Sinatra likes more bioavailable folic acids such as folinic acid and the folate form of MTHFR. His electrolyte drink uses more bioavailable folates.

  22. Cheryl

    on January 10, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    It has taken me years to learn what you just discussed. Keep the insulin response low . My system is so messed up, I have to be very careful eating almost like a diabetic, yet the Rheumatologist said I have no inflammation in my body. I’ve been eating Paleo for a long time…I’m far from perfect but I get sick if I stray off course, so that keeps me in line.

  23. C. Heath

    on January 26, 2018 at 10:22 am

    What are your thoughts on spirulina as an addition to smoothies? I am trying to improve a cardiac profile

  24. Paula M Stone

    on March 23, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    In 9 organic never to eat. Ya know the boxes of other info like the detox with the link at the bottom, my tablet won’t let me access any of those. Cause the booklet was down loaded… Is there any way for me to get access to them?

  25. ms. dale g.

    on September 23, 2018 at 12:03 am

    I take Eliquis for a blood thinner. After reading all your information, I am sooooo confused about what I can take. Am returning MegaRed4in1 and Centrum Silver. Mega’s information says not to take if you are taking an anticoagulant; I take Eliquis. Centrum has Vit K which you say isn’t good with blood thinners.
    The electrocardiologist and cardiologist I see don’t seem to know about these concerns. It is amazing there are pharmacists or some doctor who can assess a patient’s meds and know what they should and shouldn’t be taking.

  26. barbara becker

    on April 17, 2019 at 9:19 am

    would like your recipe please!

  27. Gina

    on August 20, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Which supplements are recommended for highly elevated triglycerides/pancreatitis along with the PAMM Diet correct? Ty❤

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