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Is the Whole30 Diet for you?

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What is the Whole30 diet?

A lot of diets have been becoming popular in the recent years. There’s the ketogenic diet, the dash diet, the vegan diet and the paleo diet. We have blogs on our site talking about the ketogenic diet and the paleo diet, so if you want to know more about them, head on over there. 

Today, I’ll be talking about the Whole30 diet. Is it just another fad diet? Does it really work?

What is it?! 

If you know about the paleo diet, it’s basically similar to that, just without certain foods for 30 days. These foods include, grains (including wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, bulgar, sorghum, sprouted grains and all gluten-free cereals like quinoa, amaranth and  buckwheat), any form of sugar (yes, artificial sugar, honey, maple syrup and agave are excluded as well, but fruit juices used as sweeteners are fine), dairy and legumes (including all kinds of beans, black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney and all the other legumes out there). Oh and no soy as well. So no soy sauce, tofu, tempeh, edamame and lecithin. Now I know what you’re thinking, “just”! How is all this exclusion, “just”?! But wait for it, you’re also not suppose to create any healthy versions of your favorite foods, which means no pizza with a cauliflower base and no healthy cookies, muffins, cupcakes, cakes, pancakes, waffles…. The thought process behind it is that you can remove the psychological desire to eat junk food/comfort food and have a healthy relationship with food not only physically but also psychologically. 

Whole30 diet is supposed to be a reset 

If you haven’t realised already, this is a very restricted diet. The ideology behind this diet is that it’s a reset for your body. By avoiding all these foods for 30 days, it is claimed that your body will have time to heal, your gut will have the chance to balance out, your digestion will improve and your skin will feel detoxified. It’s a 30 days diet to help you possibly jump into its sister diet, the paleo diet.

Is it a fad diet?

Not a lot of scientific research has been carried out on this diet however there have been a couple of research papers that have been published on the paleo diet. So extrapolating from the benefits of the paleo diet you could infer whether or not the Whole30 Diet is for you. 

The paleo diet can result in weight loss, improve glucose tolerance and improve blood pressure control. These results are only the short-term impacts, however the long-term benefits have not been stated (Klonoff, 2009).

Are all grains and legumes really that bad that they need to be eliminated? Well, processed grains do negatively impact our body, but unprocessed grains can be good for you. They’re a good source of insoluble and soluble fiber which can aid in your digestion. Studies have also shown their preventative effects on chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer (Jonnalagadda, Harnack, Liu, McKeown, Seal, Liu & Fahey, 2011).

As for legumes, the reason why they’re eliminated is because they’re believed to have anti-nutrient effects in the form of phytates and lectins. 

Is this true? 

Well, they do contain phytates and lectins but most of the time cooking eliminates them. Not to mention, they come loaded with vitamins and minerals such as  B-vitamins (especially folate whose adequacy in especially the prenatal diet is crucial for the health of the foetus), iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium.

Should I follow this diet?

If your diet has been especially heavy in processed foods and you feel that your body needs to heal itself from all the junk you’ve been stuffing into it, this diet might be a quick reset for you and maybe even workout to make you feel great internally. In my personal opinion, if you do feel like switching to a wholesome diet and showing some tender, love and care to your body, you don’t have to do on a strict diet.

First of all, you will have to be realistic with yourself! Will you really be able to eliminate all the food groups that are not allowed in this diet? If yes, then with adequate research you could try it out. However, a more sustainable way of switching to a healthier diet would be to just eliminate all the processed foods you have been hogging up! It’s really as simple as switching to having more fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meat and fish! It’ll be easier for you to obtain adequate amounts of nutrients from a balanced diet and this will keep you feeling satiated and content, without the paranoia of not being able to eat most of the food available in the market and in your favourite restaurant! 

In Hong Kong, you can get the Whole30 diet conveniently delivered to your door daily by www.eatologyasia.com

Remember eat healthy, live easy! Health doesn’t have to be so complicated and daunting!

References:

Klonoff, D. (2009). The Beneficial Effects of a Paleolithic Diet on Type 2 Diabetes and other Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease. Journal Of Diabetes Science And Technology, 3(6), 1229-1232. 

Jonnalagadda, S.S., Harnack, L., Liu, R.H., McKeown, N., Seal, C., Liu, S. & Fahey, G.C. (2011). Putting the Whole Grain Puzzle Together: Health Benefits Associated with Whole Grains—Summary of American Society for Nutrition 2010 Satellite Symposium. The Journal of Nutrition, 141(5). 1011S–1022S