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The Whole 30 Diet: Should You Give It A Try?

June 30, 2015 3 min read

I find it hard to keep up with the latest diet trends and I certainly don't always have the time to look at the pros and cons and whether or not I should give it a shot. I imagine I am not alone. The Whole 30 Diet is taking social media by storm and before you look past it (or jump on the wagon), we've broken it down for you so you can make an educated decision.

What is it?

On the Whole 30 Diet, you are required to give up dairy, sugar, alcohol, grains, soy, legumes and processed foods for 30 days.

What does it do?

The reported benefits are varied. Followers have reported improved skin appearance, increased energy, reduced cholesterol and perhaps most importantly, a renewed relationship with food.

What it DOESN'T do:

You will likely lose a few pounds due to the foods you are cutting out but this is not a diet to follow if weighloss is your primary goal. This is a diet plan for those who are looking to see more overall health benefits.

Pros of the Whole 30:

  1. It is only a 30 day commitment. So, you know, you will be able to have a drink again one day!
  2. You don't have to count calories. You just have to eat Whole 30 approved foods and skip ones that aren't.
  3. You can have coffee! A very self explanatory pro.

Cons of the Whole 30:

  1. It is not sustainable. Unlike choosing veganism, for example, this diet is more of a temporary helper than a permanent fix.
  2. It is insanely restrictive. And it doesn't seem to make sense in its restrictions. Many nutritionists even disagree with the diet.  David L. Katz, M.D. told Business Insider, “The grouping [of off-limits foods] is both random, and rather bizarre from a nutrition perspective… If the idea is good nutrition, cutting out whole grains and legumes is at odds with a boatload of evidence.”
  3. You can't sweeten your coffee. Not even with stevia. Nor can you add creamer of any sort. So, black it is...
  4. You have to think carefully about your meals. No more care-free happy hour dinners with your friends.

About those nutritionists....

The push back against Whole 30 is legit. Nutritionist Keri Glassman spoke to Elle and said, "30 days is a long time and can be very restrictive, especially if you have to start over.” She's clearly talking about those times when you cheat or slip up and have to go back to square one. There is also the fact that although many of the banned foods are 'bad' for you, some of them aren't and cutting them out may actually be doing more harm than good. “Legumes provide a really great way to get in vegetarian meals,” Glassman said, “I don’t think you should drink milk all day, but there’s a really good place for Greek yogurt.” There is lots of evidence out there to suggest that legumes and yogurt are vital for healthy bacteria in your gut.

The verdict?

Well, this answer obviously depends on you. If you find you are eating your weight in sugar everyday, you may want to give it a try. It has been recommended by some that you ease yourself into it. Try a modified Paleo diet first or maybe try a Whole 7. For me, I don't think it would work. I'm 98% vegan (I need my coffee cream) and legumes are a huge part of my diet. I would be lost trying to prepare meals. Not so worth it to me. But you could be an entirely different story. Now that you've read some of the ins and outs, is this something you'd try? Have you tried? Tell us your story.

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