Looking at Google Trends and the best selling health books on Amazon it seems there is a new diet that is exploding in the US. The Whole 30. Its sure to populate the rest of the western world in 2016 and beyond.
That's right, another diet to keep up on! These things seem to pop up like unwanted house guests. But don’t worry. We’ve got you covered on everything you need to know about the Whole 30 Diet, including the pros and cons.
What is the Whole 30?
Although the Whole 30 diet originated in New York around 2009, it has only recently become popular in the states. The Whole 30 Diet challenges you to eliminate all grains, sugar, alcohol, dairy, legumes, preservatives and junk food from your diet. For 30 days.
It's very similar, only stricter, than the Paleo diet. Leaving you with animal products, fruits and vegetables. One of the extra stipulations with the Whole 30 is nitrates, which appear on more ingredient lists than you'd think. They particularly frequent vinegars, which means even salad dressings have to be audited.
What We're Unconvinced With
While it’s good to eliminate dairy, alcohol, junk food, and sugar from your diet, you may want to think twice before ditching the grains and legumes. If you’re not sensitive to wheat, it can provide you with a great deal of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Additionally, whole grains contain phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type II diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Legumes are low-glycemic, meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar levels, and contain a high amount of fiber. Fiber may be able to help you lose weight, boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar levels, and reduce gastrointestinal problems.
Besides, do you really want to give up peanut butter?
Next, the Whole 30 Diet has you eating meats, eggs, and fish, which are all a good source of protein and omega fatty acids (fish).
A word of caution; when eating animal products, make sure they are free of any hormones, antibiotics, and additives. Animal products should also be certified organic, fed non-GMO food, and free-range or wild every time you eat them.
We're not opposed to eating a small amount of meat or eggs (2 or 3 servings per week), but your focus should be on eating plants anytime you want to improve your health.
The Whole 30 Diet claims to be able to change your life in 30 days. As well as eliminate food cravings, heal the digestive tract, improve the immune system, and promote a healthy metabolism. But after returning to your old habits after 30 days, these things can easily come back. The same argument can be used against juice cleanses so we understand that you can't always keep people on track.
The problem with dieting is that no diet will heal you completely in 30 days. Change needs to become a lifestyle. We suggest considering these habits changes something you make important to you for the rest of your life.
But to make a big transition like the one in the Whole 30 Diet, you will need small steps. While the Whole 30 Diet may be too strict for you to follow overnight, we suggest trying to make one lifestyle habit at a time.
You may want to start by eliminating refined sugar. This includes sweets, candy, most baked goods, and soda. Swap out refined white or brown sugar with raw honey, maple syrup, and fruit. Then you’ll be ready for the next change.
Who It's For
On the other hand, if you're the type of person who needs a short-term goal, this diet may be perfect for you. After your 30 days of no cheating is complete, you might feel so good that you don’t want to go back to the way you ate before.
Have you tried the Whole 30 Diet? If so, share your experience in the comments below!