Cleanses, Apple Cider Vinegar & Whole30: The Truth Behind 9 Weight-Loss Gimmicks

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Cleanses, Apple Cider Vinegar & Whole30: The Truth Behind 9 Weight-Loss Gimmicks

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: There’s no silver bullet when it comes to weight loss. No gimmick, pill or cream will bring you a lifetime of satisfaction. Maintaining a healthy weight and happy heart requires diligence and a bit of work, but when done right, it will pay off and stay off. Don’t fall for the quick tricks that seem to flood our email and social feeds. Losing weight successfully and maintaining a healthy physique doesn’t happen by accident — it’s a lifelong commitment that requires a solid plan. That’s why we’re here to help debunk some of these “get-thin quick” weight-loss gimmicks.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

While it certainly won’t do you any harm to drink a shot of diluted apple cider vinegar each morning, the research isn’t compelling enough to support the weight-loss claims. It has, however, been linked to better blood sugar control. Acetic acid, which is found in apple cider vinegar, can help regulate blood sugar levels by lowering the glycemic response (in other words, causing less of a sugar spike). It leaves some starches undigested in the form of prebiotics which feeds good bacteria in the gut. A healthy gut microbiome can help support digestion, immunity and even brain function. If you like the flavor, adding it to your plate along with more fruits, salad and veggies certainly won’t do any harm.


READ MORE > 4 THINGS THE BEST WEIGHT-LOSS DIETS HAVE IN COMMON


DETOXES, CLEANSING & JUICE DIETS

While there can sometimes be a time and place for a one- or two-day cleanse if you’ve overdone it for an extended amount of time (say, over the holidays), cleansing as a long-term solution isn’t sustainable. Detoxes and juice diets are a fasting regimen that consists mainly of water, raw vegetables, fruits and juices. These regimens are missing a lot of key nutrients and lack the calories and energy you’ll need to maintain a good physical activity routine. Choose foods that require chewing to aid in weight loss — like fruits, veggies, lean proteins and whole grains — and use teas, infused waters and juices for hydration.


READ MORE > THE TRUTH ABOUT JUICE CLEANSES


THE BALLOON CAPSULE

Unlike gastric bypass, which involves a surgical procedure that shrinks the size of your stomach — and by default, the amount of food and calories you can eat and absorb — the balloon capsule method involves swallowing a balloon that expands in your stomach to help you reduce your appetite in order to eat less and lose weight. On the upside, there’s no surgery involved, and the balloon devices have received an FDA stamp of approval. The company behind the balloon also claims to promote and educate patients about healthier eating habits to help them keep the weight off once the balloon is removed. But there are risks. In addition to being expensive (each procedure costs between $6,000-$8,000 and isn’t covered by insurance), the balloons can cause nausea, vomiting and even ulcers. Ultimately, the decision to alter what you eat for long-term success is up to the patient. Like most other quick-fix solutions, there’s no guarantee of long-term weight management.

Photo Courtesy of Obalon

BULLETPROOF COFFEE

Drop a dollop of grass-fed butter and a splash of MCT oil in your coffee and you’ll shed pounds — so the claims say. This high-fat, calorie-dense coffee has been credited with higher energy levels, brain-boosting benefits and even weight loss. The idea is that short-chained MCT fats are metabolized more quickly than other fats and burned as fuel rather than stored. A single cup can contain nearly 450 calories — a hefty start that can have the reverse effect on your fat stores if the rest of your day doesn’t follow a clean-eating profile. There’s nothing wrong with a high-calorie breakfast, but there are plenty of other satisfying ways to fill your daily saturated-fat allowance than with coffee.


READ MORE > THE TRUTH BEHIND 5 HOT TRENDY BEVERAGES


INTERMITTENT FASTING

While there are several different variations, intermittent fasting is a feast-or-famine structured diet, where one eats normally some days, and little to nothing on other days. Proponents of this diet say that it’s a good way to shed pounds quickly as long as you resist the urge to overeat on “feed” days. The most popular version of this diet uses 5:2 fasting: Two days a week are limited to less than 500 calories while the other five allow you to eat as you normally would. The problem is that fasting may rob the body of important nutrients, and will likely rob your energy to exercise on the days with very few calories. There are also many unknowns with this eating habit, and it’s not a good solution (neither short-term, nor long) for anyone with certain health conditions including pregnancy, heart problems and diabetes.

WHOLE30 PROGRAM

On the upside, this diet embraces and glorifies foods in their natural, most whole form, and eliminates (or prohibits) virtually all processed foods, junk foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugar and gluten. What’s also missing are entire food groups, including whole grains, beans and dairy. That means no sandwiches, no hummus, no yogurt, no peanut butter, no heart-healthy wine … the list goes on. While it does require a tremendous amount of planning (which is good) and is a great way to both reset and jumpstart your journey, it can also severely limit your social life, which is essential to positive well-being. Diets that contain “off-limit” foods (including Paleo) focus too much on deprivation — an overall negative vibe — rather than balance and moderation. Instead of watching out for foods you shouldn’t eat, focus on what you should eat — lots of plants, seafood, heart-healthy fats, whole grains, nuts and beans.

NON-SURGICAL FAT REMOVAL

This body contouring process uses lasers to “freeze” and then “melt” abdominal fat. At about $1,500 per session, cooling plates are attached to the abdomen, followed by laser penetration that “heats up” and disrupts fat cells so that they are either excreted or absorbed as energy. Results (if any) can be expected in 6–12 weeks. Side effects include swelling, numbness and bruising. Most patients expect dramatic weight loss, but it’s more about re-contouring than dropping a few pesky pounds. Plus, there’s no guarantee the fat won’t redistribute itself in other areas of the body. The procedure teaches nothing about better eating habits, nor does it improve health outcomes that are associated with being overweight and obese.

VERY LOW-CALORIE DIETS

Cutting back on calories is the approach most people take to meet their weight-loss goals. But every once in awhile, people take calorie restriction too far, ultimately making weight loss slower and more difficult by slowing your metabolism. Very low-calorie diets often dip as low as 500 calories per day. When your body senses you’re not getting enough nutrients via food, it may slow your metabolism as protection against the possibility of starvation.

Generally speaking, most people need at least 1,200 calories to fuel their everyday activities, metabolism and bodily mechanisms. People who are more active and exercise regularly usually need more. A diet less than 1,000 calories may not only hinder weight-loss efforts, but could also make it difficult to meet daily vitamin and mineral needs, and have an overall negative impact on your overall health.


READ MORE > 4 SIGNS YOU’RE EATING TOO LITTLE WHEN TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT


EXCESSIVE EXERCISE

Believe it or not, you can overdo it on the cardio. Several studies, including one published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, found that burning more calories at the gym isn’t always related to better weight loss. The idea is that people who tend to over-exercise may compensate for the extra energy burned by eating more in the day or being less active throughout the rest of their day. It’s OK if you love to exercise, but don’t overdo it, and try mixing up your routine with high-intensity interval training (or HIIT), which involves alternating short, intense bursts of exercise with either less intense moves or complete rest in between.

Also important: Strength training. It may not burn as many calories during one session, but it builds lean muscle mass, which has a greater effect on your metabolism and ability to burn fat over time.


READ MORE > CAN YOU EXERCISE TOO MUCH?


4 TRUTHS THAT NEED NO DEBUNKING

Eat more plants. Unprocessed whole fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts are high in fiber and balanced with protein, vitamins and minerals to keep you fuller, longer.

Exercise. Aim to get at least 30 minutes a day. Mix strength training, cardiovascular training and interval training and choose activities you enjoy doing to ensure longevity.

Accept your body the way it is.  

Be in the present. Tune into your senses and taste your food, be aware of your muscle activity and mental clarity during exercise. Enjoy the people at the table with you or walking next to you. You’ll enjoy it more.


READ MORE: DO HAPPIER PEOPLE LEAD MORE ACTIVE LIVES?


 

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  • Whitney Brasel

    While I agree with some of the points of this article, I am vehemently opposed to the bash on Whole 30 and Paleo. For years in the U.S., we have grown up believing that grains are an essential part of our diet because of the food industry’s influence on the food pyramid. It is also not appropriate to even include Whole 30 in this blog post because if you actually read the Whole 30 book it is a lifestyle change and does not claim to be a weight loss tool. During the program, you are not allowed to weigh yourself or take measurements. The goal is wellness and for people to feel better. Have you researched the role Inflammation plays in the chronic illnesses of Americans today? Much of this inflammation is from unnecessary grains in our diets. The documentary Fed Up summarizes this well. The incidence of diabetes in the U.S. was almost non-existent in 1980, now it affects over 52 million Americans. Why? Added sugar, carbohydrates, and grains from the food we consume. The Agriculture industry has influenced the Food Pyramid over time to lead us to believe that grains are a necessary part of our diets- this is not a statement of truth. Watch the documentary and read the Whole 30 book. It will change your perspective.

  • Krista Dalton

    “Love your body the way it is”
    No. People should strive for their dream body and work hard for it.
    Who wants to be stuck looking like they are forever stuck in the shrivelled remains of their fat suit. I sure don’t. People shouldn’t just have to accept the remains of their journey when they are done.

  • whipdancer

    I don’t agree with the assessment of Whole30 or Paleo as focusing on “deprivation”. That’s like saying eating whole foods is focusing on “no more Hamburger-Helper”.

    The focus is on learning how to eat whole foods, and making whole foods central to nutrition. I credit Whole30 for completely changing my relationship with food in so many positive ways.

  • Lauren Reese Horton

    I think that Whole30 is over simplified in this article. It is not meant to be a long term thing or even a weight loss program. Although I have lost 85 pounds since doing my first round in May 2016. Those thirty days did so much to change my relationship with food in the healthiest way that I’ve ever known. It helped me to see that I can be in control of what I eat and when I eat it. It also helped me to realize that dairy made me feel terrible and I’m able to live my life happily without it. It’s not for everyone but no plan is. Once I finished my first whole30 I have maintained a healthy balance with food. I do try to follow most of its tenets most of the time but if I have a craving for a donut that just won’t quit for a few days then I let myself have it. I have lost a lot of weight but I still have more to go. This has been the longest that I have been able to sustain a weight loss journey. And I’m not miserable for once!!

    • Lauren Reese Horton

      And Whole30 does allow for caffeine.

      • Brian Thomas

        I agree with Lauren. Whole30 should be viewed as more of a research tool to find out the effects of everything you put in your body. You basically remove anything that could possibly cause problems for 30 days and then systematically add things back. Before Whole30, your body will somehow adapt to bad foods. However, after 30 days of only eating quality food, your body will revolt if you eat something with which your body doesn’t agree.

    • M Meador

      Agreed. The snippet about The Whole 30 isn’t portraying the entire picture. Dairy is not a real food group to start, and it’s absolutely not necessary for human consumption. We don’t need dairy in ANY way shape or form. And any adult can afford to chill on the wine or the excess coffee. The only thing I somewhat disagree on (the jury is still out for me) is the prohibition of beans. But they have their reason for that too. Again, it’s just for 30 days. Gluten also is inflammatory even for people who aren’t allergic or who have celiac. We certainly don’t ‘need’ gluten.

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    • cattail722

      Agree with this comment. I wouldn’t eat that way long-term because I really don’t believe in eliminating entire food groups permanently, but I found the Whole 30 changed the way I look at food, and also taught me that I actually do have willpower, something I didn’t think I possessed. I think when you are that strict, you find strength you never had. I lost 10 pounds on my first Whole 30, and while I’ve pretty much gone back to the way I ate before, I am much better about saying no to things I know I shouldn’t eat, and I’ve kept the weight off. It does limit your social life, but it’s for one month, folks. Not forever. I did do a few social things (even went to a concert and didn’t have a beer, which I always do) and I won’t say it wasn’t hard to resist temptation, but I did resist, and again, 30 days is totally doable. I’ve never been able to stick to a diet any longer than that, anyway. Easiest 10 pounds I ever lost and I will likely do it again as a reset, before the holidays. Maybe I can prevent gaining 5 pounds over the holidays!

  • spherescamp

    You really need to do your research before posting something like this. Nowhere does Whole30 claim to be a weight loss diet, so you certainly can’t call it a “weight loss gimmick”. Whole30 is about learning what foods cause a negative reaction in your body so that you can make a conscious decision to avoid them in the future. Doing the reintroductions after my first Whole30, I learned that legumes make me feel terrible. So I’ve cut out legumes, including peanuts and soy, and I feel great.

    Also, caffeine is allowed. So really, the Whole30 section of your article just makes you look like no one did research.

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    • Shanghaidilly

      You are my hero. Well said.

      • Melissa

        It’s also about a lifestyle change and your relationship with food which is central to what all diets talk about. It’s about creating a healthy lifestyle, not a crash diet. The only thing anywhere near “gimmicky” is the copyrighted name…smh, thank you for posting what you posted!

    • RRachie

      Thank you for your response. I did the Whole30 for 30 days. I read the book and it strictly says this is NOT a diet even though most people have lost weight on the program. One of the pledges you take is that you will not weigh yourself during the 30 days. They want you to change the relationship you have with food. The reason why you cannot have any kind of artificial sweeteners is because your brain doesn’t know it’s artificial. It’s trying to break the habit of that got you where you are today. I love the Whole30 for what it stands for. For the change it has on you mentally as well as physicality.

      • Juliann Moody

        Yes! Whole 30 changed my life. This mfp article is so ignorant and is going to keep people overweight. The reason they posted this is because once people develop a healthy relationship with food, MFP becomes obsolete. “Healthy whole grains” are a trigger food for most people.

    • To be fair, the authors are talking out of both sides of their mouth when they claim the whole30 is “not about weight loss”. They mention weight loss as an advantage of their program 28 times in the book, It Starts With Food (see a sample below). Additionally, they also post before and after pictures on their social media platforms of people who have dropped weight on the Whole30, which is not something you would do unless you were promoting the weight loss benefits of your diet.

      But all that aside, my biggest issue with the Whole30 is that the information presented as “science” in the book is not even remotely accurate

  • JDK52

    About half of your points are factually incomplete or outright false. Do you even do research? Intermittent Fasting is not a diet, and 5:2 method is certainly not the most popular version of it. Also the people that try it thinking it’s for “rapid weight loss” are ignoring all the good advice about restricting the time in which you eat all your calories for a day, and would try any number of fads regardless of their efficacy. I practice daily IF and still count calories to maintain a deficit. I’m in the vast majority.

    It’s shameful that you would sell yourself as a registered dietitian and not do basic research about the “gimmicks” you supposedly expose.

    • Amy

      Thank you! I love IF. I do the 16:8. I am not binge eating in the evenings anymore and am satisfied. Most of this article irritated me.

  • Zoe

    “Accept your body the way it is” What terrible advice. So a morbidly obese type two diabetic with heart disease should just accept their predicament? Why would anybody bother to utilise the services or advice of a dietician if they had no desire to change?

    • Commenter

      Acceptance doesn’t mean you can’t have a desire to change. It means not hating yourself because of your body. Hating yourself is not productive in any way.

  • katie

    that’s not what intermittent fasting is

  • CathyC

    Paleo and Whole 30 are NOT based on deprivation. The focus is on whole foods and good fats. Not sure that I agree with you that whole grains are good for you either. For most people cutting gluten from their along with sugar leads to weight loss.

    • JeeHoo?

      I thought I had developed a gluten intolerance. Turns out Glyphosate (round up) was the culprit. I switched to eating all organic flours and grains, crackers, etc. and many I buy are tested for this toxin. I no longer have all the pain, discomfort, or other symptoms, and I was ready for another E.R. visit before doing this. Its been almost two years now and occasional I’ve been in a bind and had to have what was available at the time or pass out from hunger. I do notice the difference now. Also have had a few times I got to lax in disregarding this and started to go right back into those symptoms more and more. Again correcting to organic an tested organics and everything good again. I think many grain issues (gluten issues) are from this toxin that never used to be in and on our food. They dry the grain right in the field super fast by spraying this toxin on it and then harvest it and send it straight to the mill to be packaged up. Saves them a lot of money. No hanging dry time to wait for, no designated storage(hanging) building to dry it in, no losses to rodents or possibly some loss to moisture issues. But poison for the consumer.

  • AntonioTelles260

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  • Cliff Hansen

    Saying Whole 30 (and by extension Paleo) is bad because “it can also severely limit your social life” may qualify as the dumbest thing I have ever read. That is like saying an alcoholic shouldn’t quit drinking because “it can also severly limit your social life.”

    Perhaps the author should consider that social eating (i.e. donuts and birthday cake brought to work by others) as at least part of what led to a person being unhealthy and/or overweight.

    There are also NO nutrients in grains which can’t be found in a more bioavailable form in other foods. If grains are so good for losing weight, why, when a rancher wants to fatten a cow or pig or chicken, or any other livestock, do they fed it grains. It is because that is the one food that will fatten the animal faster and cheaper than any other.

    If grains are so “healthy” then why does nearly every grain product on the market have to be artificially “enriched” to add micronutrients?

    Perhaps following scientific evidence instead of the government advice would be where the author should start. After all, it wasn’t until after the first US government dietary guidelines were released that obesity and diabetes started to drastically increase.

  • Angelique

    I’m sorry but you are dead wrong in regards to your views on Whole 30 and Bulletproof coffee.

  • tham

    I don’t follow any structured diet except to generally limit carbs, including no wheat and little other grains or starches, higher protein and plenty of good whole fats. With exercise, I easily maintain my weight without sacrificing a thing. I can still enjoy some wine on the weekends and plenty of caffeine. I also feel much better and more energetic after dumping all those grains. Nothing “faddish” or “gimmicky” about this.

  • tham

    I haven’t read the thing so can’t say. I will agree that we’ve been fed BS about “healthy grains”. First, America is carb heavy on its diet and usually crap, but they’ll go for “diet” soda or non-fat milk for God’s sake. Ridiculous. All these grains shoot blood sugar levels through the roof, just a fact. Standard diet recommendations are just as full of junk science as some of these diet schemes.

  • Claire

    I’m pretty sure, that last line in your article…”don’t focus on what you shouldn’t eat, focus on what you should” mirrors a line in the Whole30 book. I’m tired of dieticians and other industry leader’s critiques on Whole30. I’m not sure if its the sugar industry or the fitness industry as a whole. But in this case your critique of the Whole30 is inaccurate and obviously ill researched. Coming from a person who lost 50 pounds and kept it off with the help of the Whole30, I would like to tell you to read the book, try a whole30, and then give a review of the diet. Also in no way does the Whole30 limit your social life. You can cook chicken breasts and sweet potatoes every other night, just like every other run of the mill diet. You don’t have to cook a 3 hour long recipe every night. Yeesh. Frustrating.

  • Mackenzie!!!

    Wow, someone didn’t do their research. If you did any basic research you would know that the Whole30 does not claim to be a weight loss program. They’re very clear. It’s about redefining your relationship to food, and finding out how some food groups do or do not effect your body. I have done 2 rounds, and I am happier than ever. I went back to eating legumes, whole grains, but realized that dairy makes me bloat. It’s all about what is worth it for me. DO YOUR RESEARCH. This is just sloppy. I’m nourished, do not feel deprived because after the 30 days I can eat whatever I want whenever I want when it is “worth it” to me. Very disappointed. Don’t be mad at Whole30 just because we don’t have to obsessively “track” what we eat with your app.

    • Shanghaidilly

      I also did 2 rounds of Whole30. Why 2 rounds? Because I failed to really take note the first time, particularly after the round when slowly adding food back into my diet. And like other’s here, I didn’t do it to lose weight.

      After becoming more aware of my relationship to certain foods, and also how certain foods affected me, I learned that I am not as tolerable of gluten as I thought, so I avoid it entirely, and dairy is ok for me, but only in moderation. I also learned that I am easily addicted to sugar, and have to stay aware of this addiction and I do still have sweets occasionally.

      This is what Whole30 is about, and the knowledge I gained has helped me lose 45 lbs. of fat, gain 10 lbs. of muscle, sleep more soundly, and rid myself of GERD. And I’m 56.

  • William Caldwell

    This article itself is garbage. Whole30 does not pretend to be a weight loss plan, it is a 30-day diet of strictly vegetables, meats and fruits that eliminates all the crap from your diet so that you can determine if any of that crap has been contributing to negative health issues. It doesn’t pretend to be what you’re claiming it to be, so stop bashing it. I, and many others, also find that I did lose weight on it, because it strips out the junk (like grains which you seem to think are necessary but which are just a by-product of big-agra’s influence on our government), but weight loss is a dividend on the program, not the goal.

  • Rob Ogilvie

    This has got to be one of the worst articles I’ve seen in a long time.

    If the article being split up into several pages similar to spam-filled slideshows wasn’t enough of a clue, the utter lack of facts (instead substituting fallacies) put the nail in the coffin.

    Don’t parrot what companies that make money selling us crap food say. Research. Read. Learn. Experiment. See what works. Then tell us how a diet heavy in dairy and grains is going to save us. EYEROLL.

  • Morgan Black

    Complete misrepresentation of Whole 30. How about you try and do some real research next time? Thoroughly disappointed in this post.

  • Dan

    As a medical professional, I have to take issue with the premise of 9 weight loss gimmicks from this RD. As someone who treats patients with endocrine disorders and metabolic syndrome, in some circumstances, these diets and nutritional approaches to managing weight may be beneficial as supplemental approaches to dealing with the ever increasing incidence of metabolic syndrome in a “growing” America. The incidence of Type 2 diabetes in this country is rampant both in adults and children (in Peds, it was an anamoly 20 years ago ) I would much rather have a patient with GI issues try a course of apple cider vinegar or a probiotic than immediately putting them on famotidine or a PPI. My point being, call it what you want, but sensible approaches to eating and some use of dietary discipline and knowing how foods affect you (i.e. with gluten intolerance, metabolic syndrome, or other chronic disease management) are important cornerstones to medical management. Lifestyle modification and dietary compliance should be primary considerations before writing a script for something a patient can help to fix on their own….my 2 cents!

  • Adam Browne

    The book never claims to be science. It states it’s a science-y explanation.

  • masaldr

    Would love to see if the author of this article does a follow-up after all of these totally legit comments on Whole30. I’m on day 9 and I’ve truly never felt better. No weight to lose, just want to cut the crap out of my diet – mostly processed foods. No feelings of deprivation, whatsoever. The social life statement made me truly laugh out loud…

  • CautiousScienceTeacher

    I have been working on “The Whole 30” for the last two months and it has made my skin tighter, waist smaller, body firmer, and I feel wonderful. I have been gluten free for two years, but giving up all grains and dairy have made an even bigger difference. I don’t miss anything, and you can eat with friends and still be compliant. I even found protein bars that are compliant. I will probable add in chickpeas, kidney, and black beans, I really do miss them in a salad. My plan is to add back in oats for fiber in a smoothy, and to add one item back in every two weeks starting next month. This way I will know if any item has a bad effect on me. Coffee is fine but I limit to two cups per day and use unsweet cashew and almond milk as creamer. Yes, I have lost 13lbs also.

  • Timikeb81

    Fairly useless “cliff notes” assessment of a program like Whole30. Its not a diet as others have said. In my case I had developed fairly severe eosinophilic esophagitis. My gastro Dr just recommended Prilosec (which is not a daily regimen for anyone) because what causes your system to react can be difficult to diagnose. My GP offered that his patients used fluticasone because the source can be difficult to diagnose. Allergy testing showed only a mild reaction to dairy. Under Whole30 I was able to identify what food groups impacted me. I also lost 20 pounds my first time and 15 pounds of that was body fat. I now live with moderate dairy, still enjoy good cheeses and judicious use of bread. My off meals (usually weekend outings) are balanced with good choice days. I need no medication. I think you’re wrong on the usefulness and purpose of a program like Whole30.

    • Alisa

      My son had the same eosinophpilic esophagitis and it was also seen in his duodenum. Nothing really came up allergic though (in his allergy tests) with the exception of a couple of little flares of things he rarely (if ever) consumes and cats (which he isn’t eating…lol… thank goodness). It flares up less now but will show up out of no where. His Gastroenterologist thought it might be a sensitivity to gluten but going gluten free didn’t seem to help. He doesn’t eat a ton of dairy either (just cheese). He’s very think already and tried variations of gluten and dairy free but it didn’t really help at that point. It has over the past few years subsided…but may put him on Whole30 if it happens again…he’ll not necessarily like that.

  • Eva Pepitone

    To come in on the negative side, Whole30 IS a totally limiting program. I tried to take a road trip while doing Whole30, and nearly starved. I was doing it for the right reason – but many people are using it for weight loss. I’m allergic to seafood, and chicken and eggs, along with nightshades, are prohibited if you have inflammatory conditions such as mine. Really, I was left eating beef, bacon, and some veggies, fruit, and nuts. What I hate most about Whole30 comes out loud and clear here – its worshipped like a religion and people are so focused on what they can and can’t eat, it becomes ALL they discuss. I don’t want to talk about food constantly – what has gluten and what doesn’t. People are doing Whole30, meant to be a 30-day, as their entire lifestyle. All the jokes about vegetarians apply here as well. If you want to obsess about food, please do so with others who also like obsessing about what they can’t have. Its just not interesting conversation. While on Whole30, I had severe intestinal issues, my thyroid disorder became so violent that it took a full year to get it back in order, which led to weight gain for me, and worst of all, it didn’t make me feel better in any way. All those claims about inflammation being reduced – not for me. I put myself through all that planning and eating things I am not crazy about, spending lots of money, for no benefit. But, the caffeine thing – its true. I could drink my morning coffee with nothing added in. And that’s the way I prefer it.

  • Alisa

    Though I do question many of the diet gimmicks…as many have said Whole30 is not that. It’s a life style change and looking at food differently. I’ve actually stayed on it (mostly) now for 3 months and though I had hoped to lose some weight I really wanted to cut a lot of the crap I was eating out of my diet. I have lost 23.5 lbs in that time and is probably the most I’ve lost ever (even when I was doing Weight Watchers) and feel great. Pains I was having in my hip and plantar fasciaitis has gone away. I’m sure the loss of weight have helped that a lot. I also know anytime I have had most of those foods that are eliminated during the 30 days after the 30 days were up, I regret consuming them the next day. My stomach either feels bloated, I have heartburn, nauseated, got a headache or just don’t feel well. I noticed it the first time I had something the week after the first 30 days and pretty much have felt that way since when I decide to eat dairy/beans/wine/sugar etc. If it’s only a tiny taste which I’ve allowed myself it’s been okay but too much and I realize that it’s not worth consuming. I’ve felt better GI wise these past 3 months and have the very positive effect of losing some weight. I don’t think I’m losing out by not consuming grains…I also think it’s by far healthier to eat non-processed foods as much as possible. Eating fruit, veggies, non-processed meat, nuts etc…getting more healthy foods in my diet than ever and getting those food groups…with exceptions of grains. Not sure I need those if I’m getting my protein, carbs, and fats my body needs how many grains I really need.

  • Jeff Neiman

    Well, what can we REALLY expect from an SEO listicle click-bait blog post?

    Whole 30 is not a ‘diet’ nor was it intended for losing weight, although it can and will result in weight loss in a very healthy and sustainable way. In the same light, Paleo shouldn’t be on here either. Unless you don’t understand thermodynamics and ‘paleoify’ your dessert cravings and shove calorie bombs of fig and butter down your pie-hole, then yeah it’s a crappy way to eat healthy.

    Last, that’s not intermittent fasting; that’s intermittent starvation. IF uses ‘feeding windows’ of anywhere from 4 to 12 hours during the day while the remaining time is fasted.

  • Kristin Berry

    Whole 30 is not a weight loss diet. It is meant to get you eating clean and to give you a “reset” of sorts. It does not say you can’t have caffeine. Also, there is research about why it doesn’t include whole grains and beans and dairy. I suggest you read it. At the end of the Whole 30 it teaches you how to reintroduce the groups you eliminated to see if you have any negative reactions to it. If you don’t then you eat it; if you do then you now know what to stay away from. The Whole 30 is an excellent way to reset, begin eating clean, and teaches you a great deal about foods and how your body reacts to or processes foods. Buy the book, try it. It does require will power and planning but so does any lifestyle change.

  • Ashlie

    Wow…you might try actually reading about Whole30 before you bash it. Your section about it is clearly uninformed. Yes, it eliminates food groups, but for 30 days only and so you can add them back in to see how they impact you personally. It also pushes the reset button on your unhealthy relationships with certain foods. And if you’d bothered to even visit their web site you’d see it clearly states over and over that Whole30 is not for weight loss. Obviously it’s not sustainable, which is why it’s only 30 days. Also repeatedly stated on the web site. Super disappointing, MyFitnessPal.

  • nssdiver

    Weight loss is, quite simply, all about the carbs.
    The junk ones especially.

  • Alexa

    I’m really disappointed in this, and from reading the comments it looks like I’m not the only one. The Whole30 is 100% not a “weight-loss gimmick,” and if you classify it as that, you clearly didn’t do your research. If you read any of the Whole30 book or any of Melissa Hartwig’s books, you would have a better understanding that the Whole30 has nothing to do with “deprivation” or focus any negativity on diet. It teaches you about your relationship with foods to help you better understand YOUR body. The creator of the Whole30 clearly states multiple times that if you’re doing the Whole30 for weight loss purposes, you’re missing the entire point. It isn’t meant to be a long term “diet.” It is a reset, so that you’re able to reintroduce foods and create a plan on what works best for you. It is the exact opposite of deprivation. It’s finding “food freedom.” You definitely need to do some better research before posting things like this.

  • Christy Smith

    Science junk??? Really?!!! Get a clue dude! You’re an idiot!!!!

    • karenrice

      Junk science. Different meaning all together. Like “fake news” – it’s not scientifically sound – that’s what he’s trying to say. Not that science is junk

  • Dave M.

    I’m a Whole 30 believer. I’ve done two, each in month of January, and it has changed my outlook on food, allowed me to lose weight, and feel better. If it’s a gimmick, it works. I’ve tried my fitness pal, and the idea of counting calories and activities is a total gimmick, it can only last so long. Eat the right foods and you see it works. So you cut out whole grain and dairy? I’m healthier for it.

  • KD

    Whoever wrote this clearly has not done their homework on the Whole30. It is not a weightloss diet. It’s a program designed to help people change their health, habits, and relationship with food. There are also a virtually limitless amount of resources designed to help you succeed, including full-on scripts and hypothetical scenarios from the creators to help you foresee what issues might arise and tacks them without draining your willpower. There are also countless “holiday” recipes that anyone could make & serve at a dinner party or bring to a potluck & be completely satisfied without being deprived. Anything restricted during the 30 days has its reasons, and the Whole30 team always makes a point to say that none of the restricted foods are bad in and of themselves, but they do prove to be problematic in most individuals, hence why it’s beneficial to cut them out and then reintroduce one food group at a time to truly see how your body is affected.
    The funniest thing about this is that I’m pregnant and thought I needed more structure in my diet so I downloaded MyFitnessPal and was logging everything. For months I was hitting the nail right on the head, getting all of my nutrients in, logged, and my macro split was spot on according to this app. I felt AWFUL even though I was in the second trimester. I’m now 11 days into the Whole30 (not my first round) and my inflammation has virtually disappeared, my energy levels are back to normal, and I’m not hungry every 2 hours.
    We’ve got to change the dialogue when it comes to health and nutrients. You are not missing anything by cutting out grains, legumes, be dairy, especially if you’re eating a varied diet centered around whole, natural foods.
    Don’t turn the Whole30 into something it’s not. It is not now nor has it ever been about weightloss.

  • Anna someone

    It’s not just the whole 30 – whatever that is – it’s the majority of the article, save a few words of wisdom, that was poorly written, filled with astounding presuppositions that assumes the reader shares in. Ugh! Poor taste!
    What really bothered me is the idea that if I did whole 30 – I don’t – and am typically not into anything like this – my social life could possibly suffer. As IF my social life revolves around food?! Maybe that’s the attitude that makes people unhealthy!!!!!

  • Victoria Cross

    The author is incorrect about gastric bypass; it does NOT shrink the stomach, as the name would imply, it bypasses the stomach and you lose weight from the malabsorption of calories (and nutrients). A vertical gastric sleeve shrinks the stomach by removing most of it, you’re left with a small pouch about the size of a banana; nothing is “moved around.” Both surgeries involve the stoma (opening in to the stomach) being reduced meaning you can only eat small portions at a time or you’ll get very sick. You still have to watch what you eat. I had the gastric sleeve done 2-1/2 months ago and have so far lost 40 pounds, but that’s also b/c of the very low calorie diet (950 daily) I’m on. Some insurances will also cover bariatric surgery (mine did) if you have underlying health problems due to your weight.

  • Frank

    I followed an amalgam of paleo, bulletproof and intermittent fasting starting in January 2014. I weighed 390 lbs. My a1c was 13.7.

    I lost 180 lbs, my most recent a1c was 4.2 and I’m running a marathon on May 21.

    I’m not trying to say the way I did it was the only way. But who do you think you’re helping by branding these methods as “gimmicks” in need of debunking? They might work for someone who really needs a bold approach. Certainly did help me.

  • Don Reitsma

    Well Sidney, you certainly have your opinion but there are people who have lost weight and kept it off using some of these called gimmicks, myself included. Is the only thing that’s not a gimmick the ‘eat less move more’ advice or ‘calories in < calories out' counting technique? Please. I really wish you so called experts would actually research the science instead of just throwing out opinions because it really does you no credit. Are you real or just fabricated by MFP to drive people to the website?

  • Tammy

    I don’t agree with MOST of this article. Please do your research!! Type II Diabetics can be helped greatly with intermitten fasting and a Ketogenic diet!! The point is to not be insulin resistant anymore and burn up our extra fat and get off meds. It is a dietary disease that is curable! We need to turn ourselves into fat burners instead of burners of sugar and high carbs. Please look up Dr. Jason Fung online. He speaks about myths when it comes to diabetes, insulin, glucose, and fasting!! We have had it ALL WRONG!! I learned a lot. I am fixing my problems with nature’s nutrition (whole organic foods, nothing processed) and intermitten fasting. Man has ruined our food, make your own! Don’t trust prepackaged nom-food! hope you did not turn people off of the programs that could/were working for them!!! Do your own research people, everyone is different, find what works for YOU! 😉

  • Rosy

    Eating more healthfully – a gimmick!… This short caption on juicing and cleansing is completely off-base. If anything, most people who try juicing for an extended period of time see major health issues subside or disappear altogether (why…the concentration of nutrients available in juice). The premise that you must have other foods because of the fiber is also debunked given that juice still contains soluble fiber. Is juicing ONLY, a way of life that is sustainable? No. Is it possible to get huge health/weight benefits by having a juice fast and by keeping a daily juice or 2 in your routine? Yes, Absolutely. There are tons of accuracy issues with this article.

  • Paula

    Bulletproof coffee is not meant to be drunk by people who get most of their calories from carbohydrates, but for the people who are fat adapted (that eat Low Carb High Fat or keto diet).
    Besides, this is the first time I ever read that it claims to have some miraculous powers. LCHF diet followers will consume it as a substitution for a latte or capuccino, which contains 160 cal on average from the lactose (another form of sugar) present in the milk.

  • unfiltered apple cider vinegar is a miraculous drink and i personally have tested it along with honey and lemon for 2 days and reduced my gout pain.

  • Shelley Murray

    I can only see the Apple Cider Vinegar page… How the heck do you navigate to the other article items??

    • Shelley Murray

      Eh, I read most of the comments and apparently I’m not missing anything but a load of dog turds anyway.

  • Sally Michaels

    How do you read the entire article? All I can get is the bit on Apple Cider Vinegar… This Happens to me with most MFP blog posts..