Whole 30 – one of the most popular meal plans on the market today – but does that mean it’s effective as well?
Our researchers did some investing in the Whole 30 diet to find out everything you want to know, including food lists, company history, any available research, and more. Make sure to check out the bottom line to read our verdict on this plan!
Whole 30 is a 30-day elimination-style eating plan. The goal is to revamp your eating habits by following a clean-eating diet. You’ll cut out sugar, alcohol, dairy, sulfites, soy, grains, MSG, and legumes for 30 days. After 30 days, you can slowly reintroduce the banned foods into your diet.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the studies regarding this style of dieting before exploring this meal plan any further:
Obesity: Research in this study suggests that it could take years for your metabolism to recover after completing a calorie-restricted diet that affects your nutrient intake.
Addictive Behaviors: Some research suggests that restrictive dieting may actually lead to an increase in food intake.
EWD: Restrictive dieting was associated with low body satisfaction in this study.
Paleo Vs. Whole 30
Whole 30 has a lot in common with the Paleo diet. Both diets require users to give up alcohol, dairy, grains, processed foods, and legumes. However, Paleo centers around lifestyle changes, while Whole 30 is a temporary reset. Plus, paleo is also less restrictive than Whole 30.
This is how much it costs to start on the respective program. We always recommend trying a product before making a large investment.
= Initial product cost is less than $5
= Initial product cost is between $6 and $50
= Initial product cost is between $51 and $150
= Initial product cost is $151 or more
Who Makes Whole 30?
In 2009, Melissa Hartwig Urban experimented with a restrictive eating plan for 30 days. She blogged about her experience, and her results inspired her to launch Whole 30.
Melissa Hartwig Urban has authored nine books, several of which are cookbooks that feature Whole 30 compliant recipes.
Whole 30 Customer Service
Whole 30 does not offer customer support. The company encourages users to refer to the official forums if they have questions about the program.
Scroll below for one of the best products we’ve seen over the last year.
Whole 30 Claims
Whole 30 promises its users that they will enjoy fewer food cravings, more energy, improved sleep quality, less anxiety, relief from chronic pain, better digestion, clear skin, weight loss, and an improvement in food allergies.
The Whole 30 Food List
We’ve heard a lot about what you can’t eat on Whole 30, but what can you eat? Overall, almost all fruits and vegetables are compliant foods that can be enjoyed liberally during your 30-day reset.
Whole 30 may work for short-term weight loss, but our researchers are concerned with the program’s dietary restrictions.
According to the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, it is incredibly difficult to meet your daily nutrient recommendations without eating dairy, legumes, and grains. When you’re lacking the proper nutrients to fuel your body, your metabolism slows down.
Additionally, one study published in Clinical Nutrition noted that certain populations may be at risk for undernutrition when consuming restrictive diets.
Another study from the International Journal of Obesity found that calorie-restricted diets that don’t allow for proper nutrition can slow your metabolism by 23%.
As for Whole 30’s other claims, we found no verifiable evidence that suggests this 30-day elimination-style eating plan will treat or improve the symptoms of any health conditions.
Whole 30 and Weight Loss
Whole 30 is basically a low-carbohydrate diet that allows some slow-digesting carbs. A clinical trial reviewed in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that following a low-carb diet for 12 months helped obese participants lose 7% of their body weight.
However, this only lasts for 30 days, and it can take up to two weeks to enter into ketosis as per PeerJ. So, you may not experience many of the benefits associated with a low-carb diet.
Whole 30 Side Effects
Subscribers have complained of fatigue, diarrhea, gas, bloating, difficulty concentrating, and intense food cravings during this 30-day program.
The Whole30 website has everything you need to get started. You’ll spend a few days studying the available resources to prepare for your 30-day program.
Once you’re familiar with the compliant foods, you’ll have to throw out all of your junk food, alcohol, processed foods, and dairy products. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a “cheat meal” on this diet. You have to follow the strict protocol for the entirety of your 30-day reset.
Upon completing the protocol, you’ll reintroduce one banned food group every two days. This is supposed to give your body time to readjust and help you identify any food intolerances you may have.
Cost and Where to Buy
Whole 30 offers many of its resources online for free. If you want to increase your chances of success, you can sign up for a Real Plan subscription.
Real Plan Subscription: $30 per month
Whole30 Coach: Varies by coach
The 30-day Guide: $15
If individuals want to become a Whole30 coach, it could cost them up to $1,000.
Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons
Promotes a clean-eating diet.
Plenty of free resources.
Elimination-style eating plans are difficult to follow.
You might regain all the weight you lost after reintroducing the banned foods.
Some users complained of moderate side effects while following the 30-day reset.
What Users Are Saying
What Users Are Saying
“Worked for me. Did a whole30 in March and since then pretty much keep it up with a few cheats. Lost 23 pounds so far. If you’re a good cook already like me some of the actual cooking advice will be rudimentary but all in all reading this helped me understand the principles of the program.”
“Easy to read, difficult plan to follow.”
“Nice and easy recipes with staples you have at home. It’s always frustrating when a recipe needs a ton of items but this one is not it. It’s very informative and educational about fixing your cravings.”
Bottom Line on Whole 30 Results
We like that Whole 30 promotes clean eating, but can you really revamp your eating habits in 30 days? It’s not likely. Forming healthy habits takes time, and we’re not even sure if we would consider this program “healthy.”
That’s why it’s good to choose a program that is more flexible and can stick with you for the long run, one like Noom.
Noom offers tons of personalized tools to help users learn about their eating habits, make healthier choices, and lose weight for good. Some of these tools include customized meal plans, 1:1 coaching sessions, daily goal setting, and even health tracking tools. Right now, all Dietspotlight readers have access to a free trial offer, so make sure to give these easy-to-use features a try!
Whole 30 focuses on eliminating foods that are commonly known to cause issues in the body. Individuals can eat most other foods, including all vegetables, certain fruits, seafood, nuts, unprocessed meat, black coffee, and oils.
Do you lose weight on Whole 30?
Although Whole 30 claims it isn’t a “weight-loss diet,” many people follow the diet for that reason. The goal of the diet is to reset the body for optimal health.
What is the point of the Whole 30 diet?
The Whole 30 diet plan is designed to act as a lifestyle change. By eliminating alcohol, grains, sugar, dairy, additives, and legumes, the diet claims to help return the body to better health.
What can't you eat on Whole 30?
Individuals following the Whole 30 diet are not allowed to consume sugar, alcohol, legumes, grains, dairy, junk food, baked goods, MSG, sulfites, or carrageenan. Users are also not allowed to use a weight scale.
Do doctors recommend Whole 30?
Most doctors recommend a more individualized approach to nutrition. Overall, it is best to consult with a physician to see if this is the right diet plan for you.
A ketogenic diet focuses more on limiting certain macronutrients, while Whole 30 eliminates certain foods without too much attention on macronutrients. Either way, it is best to consult with a medical professional to see which diet may be better for you.
Can you stay on Whole 30 forever?
Whole 30 is only designed to be followed for 30 days. However, users can choose to follow the meal plan for longer.
Can you exercise on Whole 30?
Although individuals can workout while on Whole 30, it is important to note the dietary changes may affect certain exercise routines.
Is Whole 30 actually healthy?
Whole 30 may be considered a healthy diet, as it encourages users to stop consuming foods that are commonly associated with irritation and other health problems.
How much weight can you lose with Whole 30?
This will depend on the individual. Some customers report no weight loss at all during the 30 days, while other users reported between 5-30 pounds of weight loss.