Fad diets surround us. They consume us through social media, magazines, commercials, and even some health specialists are now recommending for people who are in need to shed a few pounds to try this new and improved way to diet. They are everywhere.
Whole 30, on the other hand is said to be a “healthy” diet or a change in lifestyle because you are required to entirely remove certain foods from your otherwise normal eating habits. Certain categories on the list cause you to be psychologically unhealthy, throw off hormones, unsettle the stomach, and causes your body to be severely inflamed. Whole 30 claims to rectify these horrible effects on the body.
Within those 30 days, you must not consume any kind of sugar, real or artificial, Nor any type of alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, any carrageenan, or MSG sulfites.
This program makes you drastically change your diet, only allowing you to consume “real food” which includes meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits, fats from oils, nuts and seeds. All good foods, right? Well, that is the question that lingers on the tips of peoples tongues.
Whole 30 claims that this will change your life by letting your body heal and recover from what we are otherwise used to eating. A diet or cleanse such as this one, restores the balance within in your body and allows one to start with a clean slate.
The creators have generated this program to give extra motivation to those few individuals, who lack in confidence, or who just need that little extra push in shedding some pounds.
But, the real question is; is this diet actually good for you? Does it work? Why does the program make it seem so easy to accomplish? What makes this diet drastically different than the others?
Third year Ryerson University Nutrition Student, Danielle Manza, says no because the creators of Whole 30 are not actually teaching you proper portion control, but instead, they are eliminating specific foods that play a crucial role to maintain a healthy and well balanced diet.
“I think that they’re message is basically no carbs and what they’re trying to do is mask that by telling you that there are certain other foods that you can eat so then you take away from the fact that they’re saying don’t eat cards but if you look at it, the first thing it says is no sugar, no grains, then no legumes. Those are all you’re main carbohydrate groups that are completely excluded. Carbohydrates are energy for your brain; you need that in your body,” Manza explains.
Whole 30 not only encourages you to remove important food groups from your diet, but the outcome of removing those foods can eventually take a negative toll on your body.
“There’s no substitution for carbohydrates in a diet. Everyone needs a certain small amount. What they’re probably thinking is you can get it from the vegetables you’re eating but there’s a difference between complex carbs and simple carbs. Simple carbs are what you would get in bread, cereal, or any type of grain product and those are sugars that can be broken down and stores in the body whereas complex carbs are the ones that are in vegetables. There’s also very low fiber in this diet which could lead to a lot of constipation issues,” Manza explains.
Aside from the fact that this diet is extremely strict to the foods you can and cannot eat, it also entails the person involved to weigh in once before the 30 days and once after while also providing a not so feel good before and after photo to compare your results.
Whole 30 claims that this diet is much more than weight loss, but it is about the lifelong lifestyle change that this program offers you.
Quebec based Nutritionist, Marilyne Petitclerc, says that Whole 30 does provide some positive attributes which is something that everyone while they are trying to lose weight should consider.
“It increases people to consume a lot of unprocessed foods which is good and they give them tips for what to look for on ingredients lists that could be more detrimental so this is good because unprocessed foods are the way to go and I myself encourage that. The other thing I like about it is that it increases people not to measure themselves during the program so it helps people to stay in contact with their body signals and how they feel in their body,” Petitclerc says.
The program simply provides some positive features, but also has many negative ones as well.
“The negative side is that they encourage people to cut out the whole food groups so no grains, no legumes, and no dairy. Once you cut out all these things, you lack in energy. This is why they lose weight, because they cut out whole food groups and the other thing is that they’re at risk of getting less fiber and less vitamins from Group B and when we think of just legumes, it’s a wonderful plant base protein and if you cut out legumes, you would only have meat and we know for the hard health that you need to eat less red meat,” Petitclerc says.
Whole 30 advocate, Laura Greenaway is a strong supporter and believer in this program and believes that Whole 30 is not designed for weight loss, it is made to teach you to eat whole foods instead of always relying on processed foods to fill you up.
“It’s not really designed to be weight loss because some people lose weight and others don’t cause at the end of the day you have to watch your portions to see how much you’re eating because you can eat too much of a good thing. It’s more to teach you how you’re body can run on whole, real food because that’s the main thing; you’re not eating anything processed. You’re eating real fruits and vegetables, real nuts and seeds, real meat. Though you’re cutting out certain food groups, you are getting carbs from spaghetti squash, and butter nut squash, potatoes, so you’re not really cutting out that nutrient group; you’re more cutting out processed foods,” Greenaway explains.
Whole 30 and other similar fad diets will always remain a controversial topic, especially within the food and nutrition industry because it is claimed to be a quick and temporary fix when it comes to weight loss.
Should Whole 30 be considered a fad diet or a lifestyle change? That question will remain unanswered as the program itself was unable to provide a statement regarding the way their nutrition program is constructed.