Why Some Experts Are Saying the Whole30 Diet Is Actually the Worst Diet You Could Do

You might have heard of the Whole30 diet, but for all the wrong reasons. This popular diet, which [...]

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You might have heard of the Whole30 diet, but for all the wrong reasons. This popular diet, which cuts out whole food groups, like dairy, grains, beans and legumes for 30 days in order to "reset" your body's relationship with food, could actually be doing more harm than good. Case in point: It ranked at the very bottom of U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of diets.

In fact, the report even went so far as to give this scathing review: "No independent research. Nonsensical claims. Extreme. Restrictive. The slams against Whole30 came in strong from our panelists, and it tied with the Raw Food Diet as the worst of the worst for healthy eating."

"This diet did not fare well in the rankings overall, and certainly did not fare well with me," David Katz, MD, told Cosmopolitan. He was only one of more than 20 registered dietitians, medical doctors and academics on the panel that ranked each diet according to the following seven categories: effectiveness in short- and long-term weight loss, safety, ability to prevent disease, nutritional completeness and simplicity.

Massaged Kale Salad - Serves 4 (or 2 entree sized salads) • Let's talk kale. Kale is everywhere! Kale smoothies, kale chips, the KALE/YALE-style shirt - its ubiquitous! It's such a nutrient-rich powerhouse of healthy greens. And I know getting yourself or family members on board with eating kale can sometimes be a challenge. I've found that even self-proclaimed kale haters love this version! • Massaging the kale takes a little TLC, but gives it a softer texture and flavor without cooking it. Add in some crunchy pecans, yummy avocado, top with a simple vinaigrette and BOOM! You've got a delicious side! You can also top a larger portion with your favorite protein - grilled salmon is amazing with this - for a full meal! ~Sean & Suz | @pasturedkitchen • INGREDIENTS • SALAD • 2 bunches dino kale, stems removed and roughly chopped • 1 tsp sea salt • 1/2 cup chopped pecans • 1 avocado, cubed • DRESSING • 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil • 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (check labels!) • 1 garlic clove, minced • Sea salt & Pepper to taste • INSTRUCTIONS • Add chopped kale to a large bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. • Using your hands, begin to massage the kale until it breaks down and becomes wilted. • The salt aids in the wilting. This will take a few minutes. Don't be afraid of getting in there! • In a mason jar with a lid, combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard garlic, salt & pepper. Cover and shake well until combined. You can also blend this in a blender or with a stick blender. • Pour desired amount of dressing over salad and toss to mix well. • Add pecans and avocado, gently toss and serve. • If you try this recipe, let us know what you think! And follow us at @pasturedkitchen for more Whole30-friendly recipes! • #Whole30 #Whole30Recipes #pasturedkitchen @pasturedkitchen

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According to the panel, there are over 37 other diets you should try before Whole30.

So why is every nutrition expert and their mom throwing shade at the popular diet?

Whole30 cuts perfectly good food groups from your diet, under the pretense that they contain added sugars. Panel members that rated the study complained that the diet was high in sodium, low in calcium and allowed way too much cholesterol. For many, the Whole30 diet could lead to nutritional deficiencies—and that's not good.

Melissa Hartwig, co-creator of the Whole30, disagreed with the panel's analyses, and stands behind her program's principles.

"How are diets based on calorie restriction, processed foods, supplements and meal replacement shakes 'healthier' than an approach that encourages participants to eat real food to satiety without counting calories?" she said. "Our program's efficacy speaks for itself, as evidenced by the countless medical doctors who successfully use our program with their patients, and the hundreds of thousands of life-changing testimonials we've received."

Katz agrees that the diet shows results, but only in a short term weight loss effort. He does not recommend the Whole30 for long-term weight maintenance or a diet to benefit your general health long term.

And while the report agrees that you will "probably" lose weight while on the plan, it also has its doubts about once the 30 days are over: "Experts worry that restrictive diets with no room for error [like Whole30] can set followers up for failure and prompt them to put the pounds back on – and then some – once the diet is over."

Think you'd still try the Whole30 diet? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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