When I first heard about the Whole30 Diet, I was extremely sceptical. Eating anything for 30 days and being promised the world obviously sounds too good to be true.
On the website the two creators outline all sorts of amazing health benefits of following the plan for 30 days. Reportedly 95% of participants lose weight. Other people have more energy, The program is “designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”
Pretty great, right?
So This is the Plan, Stan
The diet plan is really more of a 30-day detox and is meant to reset your system by eliminating a bunch of different foods. Sugar and grains are out. Dairy is off the table. And even legumes can’t be touched. Processed foods, soy, and alcohol are also to be avoided, but no surprise there.
You will notice that it’s pretty similar to the Paleo diet. Both do emphasize eating clean and mostly just the foods that our ancestors would’ve. But there are a few key differences.
Whole30 allows no sugar whatsoever, while Paleo is more concerned with the refined sort. And Paleo tends to be stricter about meat being grass-fed.
But the biggest difference is the timeline. The Paleo diet is supposed to be a long-term thing. Whole30, on the other hand, is just about 30 days. And when I realized that was the main idea, the whole thing made a lot more sense to me.
So Good, They Could Be True?
The possible benefits of being able to go 30 days without processed food, dairy, wheat, and sugar do seem pretty awesome.
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If you can go 30 days without sugar, you can break the horrible cycle of cravings and crashes. You can break the addiction to sugar and salt and all that processed junk.
Cutting out grains and dairy makes sense because they are common allergies and can be causing all sorts of different problems without you even realizing it. If you can live 30 days without them, then you can slowly add them back into your diet and will be able to tell if they’re the reason you’re so tired, or in so much pain, or whatever the case may be.
I’m more sceptical about the promise of having way more energy, or permanently boosting my metabolism and immune system. But still, giving it a try couldn’t hurt, right?
Or Could It?
Though the couple who created the program are nutritionists, some of their colleagues aren’t buying it.
To some, the group of banned foods seems “both random, and rather bizarre from a nutrition perspective.” Some fear that eliminating foods willy-nilly from your diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
But those fears are probably pretty silly. It’s hard to develop nutritional deficiencies in 30 days. And if you replace a diet of processed foods with a diet of whole foods, you’re probably going to be eating more nutrients, if anything.
A more realistic concern is about your gut bacteria. Legumes, beans, and yogurt all play an important in supporting your microbiome. And you end up eating a lot more meat, which can add extra stress to your digestive system. So concerns about your gut bacteria taking a hit could be real.
So Is It Still Worth a Try?
Whole30 has gained a huge following on Instagram and Facebook, so it’s obvious that people are trying it. From the testimonials I’ve read, many people have had success with at least losing some weight, though others have, not surprisingly, had trouble sticking to the guidelines.
Personally, I think it’s worth a shot. I’m curious to see if I’d feel a lot better without wheat and dairy. I’ve recently had some success with cutting down my sugar intake, but I’d be really happy if I could eliminate it entirely.
The weight loss seems like it might just be temporary, but if you end up eating fewer processed foods in the future, it should make losing weight easier in the long-term.
What do you think? Can you do a whole 30 days?
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