The Diet Dish- Whole 30

As you know, there are hundreds, if not thousands of fad diets bracing the covers of magazines, news stories and your IG feed. The newest pills, shakes, cookies, boxed meals and juices are all the rage.

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Fad diets are just that- a fad. Many fad diets are very restrictive on certain food groups, nutrients or both. Research has continued to show that though you may lose weight quickly on some of these diets, the weight loss is generally not maintained long term. This cycle of weight loss and weight gain can not only be detrimental to your metabolism, but also inhibits you from developing maintainable healthy eating habits.   

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Source: http://dietcity.tk/fad-diets/

 

As dietitians, we get asked all of the time what our opinions on these new diets are. We thought it would be fun to review some of these diets in a series over the next few weeks called The Diet Dish.

For our first review, we thought we would focus on Whole 30. Here is a synopsis of the diet plan according to the Whole 30 website:
“Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed. “
What to Avoid: Added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. alcohol in any form, grains, legumes, dairy, carrageenan, MSG, sulfites.
“It will change the way you think about food, it will change your tastes, it will change your habits and your cravings. It could, quite possibly, change the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life”
Positives:
  • High intake of nutrient dense foods- you are primarily allowed to eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat and eggs. These foods are high in nutrients and generally lower in calories and bad fats. These are unprocessed foods with readily available energy that nourish your body
  • Less focus on calories and more focus on nutritious foods- Too many times I talk to people who are closely monitoring their calorie intake and severely restricting their calorie intake, but they continue to have trouble losing weight. Many times these “diets” consist of processed/packaged/frozen foods. Providing your body with an adequate amount of calories that are from whole foods is the key to living a healthier life and maintaining a healthy weight
  • I especially appreciate that they discourage attempting to recreate junk foods with approved ingredients. This is one of my biggest pet peeves with many diets- paleo, gluten free, vegan etc- because so much of the foods people are eating are just as “junky” as the real junk food, but its made with whatever approved ingredients

Negatives

  • Too restrictive- I speak from personal experience, this diet is very difficult to follow, especially if you have family/roommates who are not following the diet. I found the biggest difficulty to be creating variety within the confines of the diet. Sure, meat and vegetables are a good base for a meal, but using different Whole30 approved seasonings and sauces to keep dinners interesting and satisfying was difficult. Many of the recipes call for specialty ingredients, requiring organization, preparation, and money to make sure you have all the necessary ingredients on hand to prepare the meal. Sticking to this diet more than a couple of weeks would be difficult.
  • Cuts out some healthy food groups- Legumes and dairy products are two categories i disagree with eliminating from a healthy diet. Ancient grains, including quinoa and amaranth, are excluded. I would agree with limiting intake of processed white flour products as they provide little nutrition compared to the less processed whole grain products. In regards to legumes, such as beans and peanut butter, I also feel these foods are integral in a healthy diet as they are great vegetarian sources of protein.

Overall Opinion:

I think the most important part of a healthy diet is providing your body with nutritious foods that are as whole and natural as possible. Nutritionally, Whole 30 is a great diet. By consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables and lean meats you will most likely be meeting your DRI’s (dietary reference intakes) for micronutrients- i.e. vitamins and minerals, as well macronutrients- i.e. calories, protein and fat. The downside of Whole 30 is the restrictive nature and potential difficulty in maintaining the diet. Though this diet is meant to be followed for 30 days, it would likely assist in creating some healthier habits. Cravings are inevitable and it is important to learn how to satisfy cravings in a healthy way. Moderation is key to living a healthy life, as none of us are perfect! By restricting whole food groups, you could be setting yourself up for failure, as these restrictive diets are hard to maintain.

In my attempt to follow Whole30, I found some new snacks and meals that I continue to eat, beyond my failed Whole 30 attempt.

Some of my favorite Whole 30 approved meals/snacks:
  • Banana, almond butter and raisins
  • Scrambled eggs and fruit
  • Sauteed sweet potato slices, avocado, and cherry tomato bowl
  • Lettuce wrapped hamburgers with grilled veggies

 

Tell us about your experiences with fad diets. Have you tried any diets? Were you successful?

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  1. […] Its been awhile since we recapped a fad diet (check out or last Diet Dish on the Whole 30 diet here). Fad diets tend to make lofty claims without sound information to back up those claims. Today we […]

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