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Whole30 diet has pros and cons, dietitian says

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - At some point in their lives, many people go searching for a diet to help them lose weight. Some are more restrictive than others, limiting the types and amount of foods more than others. One of the most trendy diets out there...

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GRAND FORKS, N.D. - At some point in their lives, many people go searching for a diet to help them lose weight.

Some are more restrictive than others, limiting the types and amount of foods more than others.

One of the most trendy diets out there is the Whole30, which, for 30 days, challenges the user to hit the reset button by eating nonprocessed foods and getting rid of dairy, sugar, grains and legumes.

Omitting those foods "will help regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life," according to the Whole30 website.

But do metabolic reset diets, such as Whole30, work?

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Linda Bartholomay, a licensed registered dietitian and manager of Sanford Health's Diabetes Education and Outpatient Nutrition Therapy, said she sees both advantages and disadvantages to taking on these types of diets.

Most diets, such as Whole30, eliminate carbohydrates from a person's diet while focusing on higher intakes of meat and protein. It's very likely a diet like this will help a person lose weight, Bartholomay said, because it restricts so many different food groups, similar to how a vegan or vegetarian eliminates meat and other things that aren't necessarily healthy.

"Any diet that makes you go toward more whole foods and less processed foods, you'll probably have better luck at losing weight," Bartholomay said.

These diets are particularly useful when getting rid of high-calorie meals as well as junk food and sugar-filled drinks.

"Once you start restricting almost any food category, you're likely cutting out a fair amount of calories," she said.

Eliminating food types

Though eliminating some types of foods can be a good thing, sometimes a person can do more harm than good by getting rid of those foods, such as when you remove dairy, whole grains and legumes from your diet.

Eliminating dairy, for instance, would mean a person needs to find calcium and vitamin D from other sources. Though a person can get them in vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, Bartholomay said she's never seen anybody meet the amount of calcium they needed from those foods alone.

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By getting rid of whole grains and legumes, fiber becomes a concern. Many Americans already are not getting enough fiber to begin with, so eliminating those sources can be harmful.

When deciding on diets, such as Whole30, Bartholomay recommends talking to a health-care professional to learn the pros and cons. A lot of diets can be custom-tailored to a person's needs and what they need to cut out of their eating habits, even if that's just eliminating sweets and eating the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables.

"Most of the time, taking the junk food out of the diet is going to make them feel a whole lot better and help them lose weight," she said.

The American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association both have good websites and guidelines to help people who are looking to eat better, she said.

Related Topics: HEALTHFOOD
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