The Whole30 Diet has been taking its place in the headlines over the last handful of years. While it started out being applauded as a fast and healthy strategy, its reputation has taken a sharp turn in recent months. The more this diet is studied and practiced, the more it slides down the list of weight loss and healthy lifestyle diets.
The idea behind the Whole30 Diet is that the dieter resets his or her body to a state that is far more efficient for fat burning. It is meant to work by spotting the food groups that conflict with the body and with any medical conditions the dieter happens to have. Weight loss isn’t actually the purpose of this diet, but it is often a side benefit of following its rules.
The Whole30 Diet Promise
The claim of Whole30 is not to provide its followers with a strict diet program or rapid weight loss. Instead, the idea is to “change your life,” according to the official book and its website. The purpose is to rebalance hormones, eliminate food cravings, improve medical conditions, raise energy levels, enhance the immune system and cure digestive struggles.
The founders of this program say it lets its practitioners achieve “food freedom” from having been trapped in bad eating habits. The diet is meant to change your relationship with food, altering the way you think of it as well as of your body and your entire lifestyle.
The “science” behind the Whole30 Diet works with the idea that many mental and physical health issues are linked to reactions to the type of diet you’re eating. Problems from depression to acne and even allergies have been known to be improved or worsened depending on the foods a person eats on a regular basis.
That said, the foods that do and do not work well with a person’s body are unique. For this reason, it would be impossible to tell everyone to cut out certain foods while focusing on others. Therefore, the Whole30 Diet requires people following its rules to eliminate the consumption of sugar, grains, alcohol, legumes and dairy. These must be eliminated for a full thirty days.
On the thirty first day, “food freedom” is achieved. This is supposed to be a time in which addictions, cravings and food fogs will have cleared away. From that point, other foods start to be reintroduced to help to understand the body’s reaction so good foods can be kept in the diet while foods with a negative reaction can be avoided.
Whole30 Diet and Weight Loss
Though the Whole30 Diet was not designed as a weight loss program, it is often an effect of the changes it recommends.
No specific study has been conducted on the Whole30 Diet in terms of its potential weight loss benefits, the fact that it requires entire food groups to be eliminated for a full month will lead many people to lose weight.
A survey conducted by the company behind Whole30 indicated that of 1,600 participants in this diet whose data was submitted, 96 percent experienced weight loss. The majority of those participants who lost weight saw 6 to 15 pounds of weight loss.
That said, many medical experts have expressed concern about the restrictive nature of the elimination component of this diet. Not only is there no room for a single mistake or slip-up throughout the entire length of the thirty days of elimination, which sets up participants for failure, but the addition of food groups after the thirty days as foods are reintroduced will likely cause the pounds to return. Moreover, depending on the impact on the metabolism, it may even cause additional weight to be gained.
Whole30 Diet and Nutrition
There hasn’t been any independent research conducted on the Whole30 Diet published in any peer-reviewed medical journals. The claims are broad but not backed by quality research of any form. It is an extreme and restricted diet, though it is maintained for only thirty days.
As a result of the extreme and restrictive nature without scientific backing, a growing number of medical groups, health groups and individual doctors have started turning their back on Whole30 as it does not offer balanced, nutritious eating nor a healthy lifestyle as a whole.
Whole30 Diet and Fitness
The founders of this diet and the authors of the books do recommend that followers keep active. They suggest that people following this diet take walks, ride their bicycles or take fitness classes of various forms. The reason is that regular exercise is an important part of overall health.
That said, this diet does not specifically recommend any type or schedule of exercise as it is focused exclusively on food and not on a complete lifestyle. The founders claim food “is the foundation of good health” and does not make any other recommendations.
That said, it should be pointed out that it does make eating recommendations in terms of types and timing surrounding exercise. For example, it makes suggestions regarding what a follower should eat before and after a workout. Therefore, it does seem to be assumed that the individual following the diet will also exercise.
Health Risks Linked With This Diet
Though the Whole30 Diet is not necessarily considered to be healthy, any health risks associated with it are typically considered to be minor when it is followed by a healthy adult.
The main risk associated with this diet is that the thirty days during which the elimination period continues will likely involve an unhealthy balance of nutrients. Many vitamins and minerals will be hard to obtain in adequate quantities due to the nature of the food restrictions it recommends. Without dairy, grains and legumes for a month, vitamin D, calcium, B vitamins and many other vital nutrients could be hard to get.
The next biggest risk has to do with following the diet accurately. This type of elimination dieting does not allow for a single slip-up or mistake. If, at any point in the diet, one of the banned foods is consumed in any quantity – even in tiny amounts, the results will be spoiled. To avoid failure in the diet, it would need to be started from scratch the moment a mistake is made. Since the diet is highly restrictive, this makes it unlikely that most people will be able to accurately follow through with it all the way through the thirty days without help from a prescription diet pill like Phentermine.