Dietitian Amy Lewis Looks At Pros And Cons of The Whole30® Diet

Dietitian Amy Lewis evaluates the Whole30 diet claims that you can reset your metabolism through a 30-day eating program that eliminates certain food groups.

Whole30 diet blog photo

The Whole30® diet is one of myriad diets promising health benefits to people who follow a specific eating plan. It was developed in 2009 and promoted as a month-long restrictive eating program. Followers of the diet stop consuming alcohol, sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, and processed additives for 30 days. This program promises to reset metabolism and jump-start a “total lifestyle change.” Summit dietitian Amy Lewis reviews and evaluates the claims made by this popular diet.

“The best way to lose weight is slowly and gradually while having a healthy relationship with food,” says Amy. “The Whole30 diet has a strict set of rules about what you can and can’t eat. Research tells us that when we are deprived of a type of food, we are more likely to overindulge later. That said, every trendy diet usually has pros and cons. The Whole30 diet is no exception.”

Positive features of the Whole30 diet

Replaces processed foods with whole foods
“Discouraging highly processed foods is a positive,” notes Amy. “The focus is on lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and those are fine nutritional choices.”

No added sugar
“Added sugars have very few nutrients,” says Amy. “Excess sugar consumption raises our risk of developing diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Limiting the sugar we consume is a healthy choice. I think that the removal of added sugars in this diet teaches people to be more aware of their foods and encourages label reading.”

A 30-day diet limit
“Since this diet restricts several food groups, it’s no surprise that many people drop some weight,” Amy states. “But the weight loss does depend on what you are consuming before going on this diet. And the 30-day limit means that you don’t have to permanently deprive yourself of forbidden foods. This can teach people that this diet is not meant to be sustained.”

Negative features of the Whole30 diet

Demonizing grains, legumes, and dairy
“I don’t subscribe to the idea that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods,” says Amy. “This diet cuts out nutrient-rich carbs that our body needs. It’s too low in carbs to be sustainable, and definitely not the diet for someone training for a marathon.”

Claimed benefits are not supported by scientific evidence
“This diet makes a host of claims from fat loss and improved athletic performance to changing your relationship with food,” notes Amy. “Although a low-calorie diet may indeed cause you to lose weight, there are no scientific studies supporting these benefits.” 

Amy’s conclusions about the Whole30 diet

If you aren’t extremely active and you want to lose some weight, you could give the Whole30 a try. However, take the promised benefits with a grain of salt. “Keep in mind that this is not a sustainable way to eat,” Amy cautions. “Our bodies need carbs. Continuing this diet beyond 30 days could deprive people of needed nutrients and vitamins.

“It’s important to remember that there is no perfect diet,” Amy concludes. “Also, we should not all be eating the same things. While one person flourishes on a specific diet, another person may not. If your goal is to improve your health, skip the Whole30 and focus on making mindful, healthy food choices instead.”

 

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