The latest diet craze is Whole30. It is a 30-day diet that focuses on whole foods and bans alcohol, grains, sugar, soy, dairy, and legumes from the diet. It is like the paleo diet but more restrictive. Participants are not even allowed to eat natural sweeteners such as maple syrup and honey. You are allowed to eat nuts, seeds, meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and eggs. During the course of the program, participants are encouraged to not count calories or weigh themselves. After the completion of the diet, participants are told to reintroduce banned foods strategically into the diet to find out which food sets of allergic reactions. The founders of WHole30 believe that grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, and alcohol affect energy, weight and stress levels. The program was made by sports nutritionist Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig. The participants in the program had shared over 1 million Instagram pictures using the #Whole30 hashtag by 2016. The Whole30 diet ranked last on a list of 38 popular diets analyzed by U.S. News & World Report in their 2016 Best Diets Rankings.
As discussed above, this diet encourages participants to eat more whole foods. Let’s take a look at the foods you are not allowed to eat on a Whole30 diet:
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Sugar is pretty bad for you. Eating a lot of sugar can increase your chances of dying from cardiovascular diseases. Sugar has a harmful effect on metabolism. Sugar has no nutritional value and it is pretty bad for your teeth. Added sugars (such as sucrose and high fructose corn syrup) contain a lot of calories with no nutritional value. This is why sugar is also called empty calories sometimes. Added sugar is also high in fructose which can be pretty bad for your liver. If you eat a little sugar, it’s ok but when the liver is full of glycogen, eating more fructose can overload the liver and make it turn fructose into fat. Excess of fructose in the liver can lead to fatty liver disease. Too much sugar can also cause insulin resistance which can lead to diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The insulin resistance can also change to type 2 diabetes. Sugar is also very addictive because it makes your brain release dopamine. Sugar can also lead to obesity, in both adults and children. In short, we see where the Whole30 is going with this. Your body needs a break from sugar for sure. Why ingest yourself with something with no nutritional value and tons of harmful effects? According to Whole30, you should give up ‘maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, etc’.
Alcohol is made by fermenting fruits and grains. It is highly addictive and toxic. Alcohol affects your brain and mood too. It can disorientate you. It can also decrease self-consciousness and shyness and make you prone to disruptive behavior. The liver metabolizes alcohol. Frequent consumption of alcohol can increase the fat inside the liver cells. This can lead to cirrhosis. Alcohol abuse can also impair brain functions. Alcohol can also lead t depression.
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Grains and legumes are the staple food for many people. They have numerous health benefit too. Why then is Whole30 banning legumes and grains too? The thing is, there is nothing wrong with grains and legumes but about the way they are milled in the industry. Milling often removes the nutritional part of grains. Some people can be allergic to grain too, especially if they have the celiac disease. People suffering from the celiac disease are allergic to gluten, which is found in many grains. By eliminating grains for 30 days, you will be able to see if something you were suffering from has gotten better. Apart from that, grains make ou feel pretty full. They leave little space for fresh fruits and vegetables. By avoiding grains for 30 days, you will be able to eat more fruits and vegetables. Legumes are considered a very healthy food by most people in the world but one school of thought thinks legumes are bad for you. They say legumes have toxic anti-nutrients called phytic acid and lectins. When cooked, lectins disappear from legumes. Similarly, low level of phytic acid can be tolerated by the body. So, to be honest, I am not sure why legumes have been banned in the whole30 diet. According to Whole30, you should avoid grains such as ‘wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat’. You should also avoid legumes like ‘beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin)’.
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Dairy products are full of calcium. Calcium is required for healthy bones. Unfortunately, we don’t really get fresh milk now. We don’t know how pure is the milk that is being sold in cartons. Some people also argue that milk is full of growth hormones as cows are not milked at the right time. Organic milk is free from these problems but it is hard to get. According to whole30, you should avoid ‘cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt’.
Soy is said to be a goitrogenic food by some which can suppress thyroid functions. A little amount of fermented soy sometimes is fine. Soy also has dietary estrogen. Soy also has phytates which can block mineral absorption in the digestive track.
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Tell Yourself It Is Not Hard
Well, nothing in life is hard, right? We make things hard. Most of all, there are things that are more difficult than the Whole30 diet that you have already done. Thie diet is just about eliminating some food, and that too just for 30 days. You can do it!
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Do Not Slip
Do not let yourself slip, not even for a day. You will be missing the whole point this way. One day of slip can make you slip again. Also remember you never really slip, you always consciously make a choice. Do not make the choice to fail and you will be all set.
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You are a grown up person. No one can force you to eat what you do not want to eat. So next time you make this excuse, tell yourself you can always say no.
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Put In Effort
Make an effort to succeed. Do grocery shopping, plan your meals, and explain friends and family what you are doing. It will be pretty frustrating sometimes to be not able to eat something you want to eat. Remind yourself about the reason you started the Whole30 diet in the first place.
Whole30 diet was said to be the worst diet on the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking. First of all, Whole30 focuses meat consumption. While it is essential to eat meat, too much of it is not recommended. Whole30 also discourages healthy food groups like dairy, legumes, and grains. Whole30 is low in calcium and sodium too. Whole30 also allows too much cholesterol. Whole30 is unsustainable can be potentially unhealthy because for 30 days you are depriving your body of many vital nutrients. The benefits of Whole30 are short term. When going on a diet, you should always assess what it will do for you in the long term. Short lived results are achieved by fad diets. Whole30 has also banned grains. Grains should be a part of a healthy diet. Obviously, if you are allergic to gluten you would want to avoid grains with gluten. But the rest of us need gluten. Gluten free diet can lead to diabetes too, according to reports.
The biggest turn off about the Whole30 diet for me is the elimination of grains and legumes. While some grains and legumes might not be good for you, if you are allergic to them, eliminating all of them defies logic. Of course, you are better off without white flour which has no nutritional value. And of course, too much of any food group is bad. But why eliminate all legumes and grains? Apart from that, I don’t get why the Whole30 diet has excluded natural sweeteners, especially honey too. Honey is one of the most healthy foods of the world. Why would you want to eliminate it for 30 days? The Whole30 diet has been made too hard to follow. Sure you can eliminate sugar, white bread, white flour, and maybe even dairy, but all legumes and grains? Apart from that, the debate about soy is still ongoing. We still cannot say for sure that soy is bad for health. The Whole30 diet seems to be based on incomplete information.
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If you are thinking about going on a cleanse, there are a lot of ways available online. Whole30 doesn’t seem too enticing to me. A better way to check food allergies is to eliminate one food group at a time for two weeks. This will let you check which foods you are allergic too. The Whole30 diet seems way too difficult to follow and I personally do not recommend anyone to go for it. I am neither a nutritionist nor a dietitian. What I am saying is based on the knowledge accumulated over the years. What you want to follow or not, is entirely up to you of course. In the end, your health and fitness matter too much and you should not sabotage it by following a fad diet. On the other hand, our bodies often know what they want. If you believe you can benefit from Whole30, you can give it a go. You are under no restriction to follow it for 30 days. If you feel off, you can always quit it before reaching the 30 days mark.
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What are your thoughts on the Whole30 diet? Is it worth following> Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
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