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The Whole30 Diet And Meal Plan: Is It Healthy?

The Whole30 Diet And Meal Plan: Is It Healthy?

Diets of all sorts have gained popularity over the recent years. While it’s true that some restrictions are needed if you’re trying to shed some extra pounds, extreme diets or meal plans that claim to have dramatic results within a few days are simply fad diets. In this article, we examine the Whole30 diet and meal plan.

What is the Whole30 diet and meal plan?

The Whole30 diet plan was published in a book written by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. First released in 2009, the book has gained momentum as a “life-changing” diet. According to the Whole30 official website, the diet and meal plan involves eating nothing but whole foods such as meat, vegetables, and shellfish for 30 days.

It’s also advised to eat food without complicated ingredient lists (or no ingredient lists at all). Since the Whole30 diet is a restrictive diet or meal plan, there are types of food that you have to avoid for a whole month, including food with refined sugars.

What is More Important in Weight Loss: Exercise or Diet?

The following are not allowed in the Whole30 meal plan:

  • Real or artificial added sugar such as maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, and stevia
  • Alcoholic beverages, even in cooking
  • Grains such as rice, corn, millet, quinoa, and buckwheat
  • Sulfites, carrageenan, and MSG
  • Dairy in all forms
  • Legumes
  • Baked goods or junk foods

Food that is allowed under this diet are the following:

  • Fats
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Poultry

What are the alleged benefits of the Whole30 diet?

The Whole30 diet and meal plan supposedly offers a myriad of health benefits for those who go 30 days without taking a bite of any of the restricted foods. The Whole30 meal plan claims to have the following benefits:

Who should try the Whole30 diet and meal plan?

The Whole30 diet and meal plan claims to be an effective way to lose weight and determine food intolerances, making it appealing to those who are trying to become more physically fit and those who suspect that they’re suffering from food allergies. However, despite its convincing set-up, the Whole30 diet is not approved by health professionals.

Despite its fame, the Whole30 diet is considered a “fad diet,” which is a type of diet or meal plan marketed to guarantee quick results. Fad diets also contain claims that lack scientific backing and often divide types of food into “bad” and “good” groups. The latter group is avoided or eliminated completely for the duration of the diet.

Based from the criteria stated above, it’s apparent that the Whole30 can be classified as a fad diet.

Medical experts don’t usually encourage people to participate in fad diets because most of the food that is eliminated from the meal plan (such as carbs) are essential parts of a balanced diet.

What Does a Balanced Diet Look Like?

What are the disadvantages of the Whole30 meal plan?

Restricting your diet can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. During the 30 days, it may be easy to comply with the restrictions knowing that it’s part of the diet. However, restricting your diet can make you more prone to binging afterwards, which means you’ll most probably gain all the weight you lost.

Some of the forbidden foods are key to a balanced diet. Dairy, grains, and legumes contain valuable nutrients like fiber and calcium.

Fad diets can lead to unhealthy social habits. Doing a diet like the Whole30 can have significant effects on your day to day habits and even relationships with others. You might feel discouraged to eat with friends or loved ones out of fear of breaking the diet rules.

Key takeaway

The Whole30 diet is a fad diet that involves giving up certain food for 30 days in favor of whole or ‘real food’ such as meat, vegetables, poultry, fruits, and fish. Despite the diet’s claims and positive testimonials, it’s always best to consult a doctor or dietician before trying a new meal plan.

Learn more about Healthy Eating here.


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Plan for Whole30 Success, https://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/?gobacktext=Return%20to%20my%20whole30%20dashboard&gobackurl=https://whole30.com/do-the-whole30, Accessed December 10, 2020.

Fad Diets: Diet, Types, Tips, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9476-fad-diets, Accessed December 10, 2020.

Fad Diets: The Whole30, https://foodinsight.org/fad-diets-the-whole30/, Accessed December 10. 2020.

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Written by Den Alibudbud Updated Dec 23, 2020
Fact Checked by Chris Icamen