What’s the Problem With Whole30?

Heard about that hot new diet Whole30 that’s so popular on Instagram? Turns out it’s not so favored by the nutrition experts who rank food programs for U.S. News & World Report.

Whole30 is designed so that you can “reset” your relationship with food by kicking certain items to the curb for 30 days.


Your diet during the 30 days should include meat, seafood, eggs, veggies, according to Whole30. You can add in small amounts of fruit, seeds, nuts and oils. Swear off dairy, grains, beans and legumes, and any foods made with added sugars. Focus on whole foods and lose those with processed ingredients.

Sounds pretty nutritious, right? Yet U.S. News & World Report puts the Whole30 plan dead last after 37 other diets. The top three were the DASH DietMediterranean Diet, and MIND Diet. Commercial diets such as Slim-Fast, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig ranked higher than Whole30.

So what’s the problem with Whole30? Meat. And the potential for nutritional deficiencies.

The nutrition experts who anonymously evaluated the 38 diets said the Whole30 plan advocates eating meat while turning dieters off other healthy food groups. Critics said Whole30 is potentially unhealthy with its high levels of permissible salt and cholesterol. They say Whole30 can help with short-term weight loss but does not assist with long-term weight maintenance.

Labeling Whole30 as a program that relies too heavily on meat consumption is inaccurate, counters Whole30 co-founder Melissa Hartwig. The certified sports nutritionist points out that Whole30’s recommendation on protein from meat fall within government guidelines.

When it comes to deficiencies, Hartwig says fruits and vegetables can supply the nutrients that are lost in the temporary restriction of grains or legumes.

U.S. News & World Report relied on a panel of more than 20 registered dietitians, medical doctors and academics. They ranked each diet on short- and long-term weight loss, nutritional completeness and simplicity. They also judged the plans on safety and the ability to prevent disease.

Read More: Whole30 Is Actually the Worst Diet You Could Do. To learn more about Whole30 from the program, go to the website. For another point on view on Whole30, check out this article in Woman’s DayWhat Is The Whole30 Diet?


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