One of the first things my nutrition clients learn, is that any diet program which eliminates or vilifies a food group is a red flag for two main reasons:
1. Totally eliminating any food group is not healthy (or necessary) for successful long term fat/weight loss.
2. Targeting certain food groups and creating fear around them via pseudoscience and hype is a psychological disaster.
Programs like the WHOLE 30, in my opinion are waving neon red flags. During the month of programs such as this, we are to believe that MANY whole food carbs and even dairy products are evil. Have we learned nothing from the thousands of dusty fad diet books over the decades, or are we still addicted to quick fix "magic" programs that leave us chasing our tail?
Programs like the Whole 30 eliminate grains, beans, dairy, and certain fruit. We've seen versions of this over and over again from Atkins to South Beach. This strategy MIGHT make sense if a person had totally out of control diabetes, was morbidly obsese AND/OR was bedridden, but for a person whose blood sugar is normal AND/OR does any form of movement during the day (let alone exercise) this is a recipe for short term water weight loss, muscle weight loss and a long term weight loss battle.
Two of my clients did the Whole 30 a few years ago. Both of them lost about 15lbs. Both of them lost only 2-3% body fat (should have been more like 7-10%) and both of them gained 20+ pounds afterwards. Both were also suffering from insomnia, lethargy, and nausea throughout the day while on the program. The worst part was that it took MONTHS to get their metabolism back in order and reverse the damage.
WHY would this happen?
1. Water loss and Muscle loss: When you remove carbohydrates from your diet in a big way, you lose water weight. This is because carbs break down into glucose and then glycogen which attracts water. Water weight loss is not fat loss and depending on how overweight you are, it can be deceiving as you can lose 5-10lbs relatively quickly. Ever had a stomach bug and lost a bunch of weight? Ever keep it off? I didn't think so. As far as muscle loss; if you are active at all while on the whole 30, you won't have the energy to put into your workouts and you'll find that your fatigue causes you to move less overall throughout the day. You can also expect to BONK during almost any workout. If you can manage to push through the fatigue for a few workouts, you won't have the carbs needed to help you refuel properly for the next ones. So bonk now, or bonk later, you will lose muscle because you won't be able to push yourself as you normally would. If you're not exercising at all during the month, you will lose muscle. Additionally, when we don't have enough carbs to fuel muscles during workouts, we are also more susceptible to injury and fiber damage.
2. In 16 years of working with clients on fat loss I have met maybe (2) people in 1000 who were overweight because they were overeating whole foods. However 998 people out of 1000 are overweight because of processed foods; (sugar, flour, alcohol in their many forms) and a lack of exercise or strategic exercise.
3. When you eliminate or vilify food groups, you fall right back into the mental cluster F*CK of misunderstanding nutrition and worse; creating more distrust with your body. I wish that nutrition 101 courses were part of everyone's education since we all need to eat. Unfortunately, many of us pick up fad diet books and expect to learn our facts there.
Do yourself a favor, and steer clear of ANY diet which suggests eliminating an entire food group unless you have an allergy or disease that warrants this decision. Have you seen all the gluten free diets coming under the axe lately? All the rice everyone is eating is leading to toxic blood levels of mercury and lead. As I can understand feeling frustrated and wanting change NOW, you can get this without losing your mind, damaging your metabolism, and following pseudoscience.
If you are interested in trying a logical WHOLE FOODS program which includes ALL of the food groups and will yield lasting changes, trust with your body, and FAT loss, join the REFRESH. We have your back!