Updated: May 13
Whole 30 is a popular 30-day diet that focuses on eliminating certain foods from your diet and focusing on whole, unprocessed foods. It was started in April 2009 as a 30-day experiment by founder Melissa Urban. While the main goal of Whole 30 is to improve overall health and wellness, many people have found that it is an effective way to lose weight. As it is presented Whole 30 is not a diet, detox, or weight loss program but instead a reset that will help boost your metabolism, lower inflammation, heal your digestive tract, and fix bad habits. In brief, Whole 30 eliminates processed foods and mild inflammatory foods and replaces them with fresh produce. Let’s take a closer look at why Whole 30 works and is an effective weight loss diet.
Elimination of Processed Foods
One of the main principles of Whole 30 is the elimination of processed foods. This includes things like sugar, artificial sweeteners, refined grains, alcohol, and processed snacks. These foods are often high in calories and low in nutrients, and they can contribute to weight gain. By eliminating them from your diet, you are reducing your overall calorie intake and replacing calorically-dense foods with nutrient-dense whole foods. According to a study published in Frontiers in Nutrition, more than 60% of caloric intake in the U.S. comes from ultra-processed food. Additionally, research indicates that 73% of the United States food supply is ultra-processed. Many foods that we consume unknowingly have these processed additives.
Focus on Whole Foods
Whole 30 encourages the consumption of whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These foods are often low in calories and high in nutrients, which can help you feel full and satisfied while consuming fewer calories overall. Additionally, whole foods are often more satiating than processed foods, meaning you are less likely to overeat or snack between meals. Highly processed foods have been found to be addictive with many people reporting intense cravings at least once a week. Whole foods such as fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber, which aids in digestion and satiety. On average, American adults eat 10-15g of total fiber per day, while the daily recommendation is 25-38g, varying by gender.
Elimination of Trigger Foods
Whole 30 eliminates certain foods that can be triggers for overeating or cause inflammation in the body. These include foods like dairy, grains, and legumes. A number of people may be intolerant to these foods unknowingly. Those intolerances cause inflammation and are taxing on the digestive system. While these foods may be healthy in moderation, they can also be overconsumed or cause digestive issues for some people. By eliminating them for 30 days, you can identify any potential food sensitivities and reduce your overall calorie intake. A staple of Whole 30 is re-introducing foods slowly to be able to identify those intolerances.
Increased Awareness and Mindfulness
Whole 30 encourages increased awareness and mindfulness around food choices. By eliminating certain foods and focusing on whole foods, you are more likely to pay attention to what you are putting into your body and how it makes you feel. Additionally, the 30-day timeline is manageable and encourages a sense of commitment and accountability, which can help you stay on track and achieve your weight loss goals.
Sustainable Lifestyle Changes
Finally, Whole 30 encourages sustainable lifestyle changes that can help you maintain weight loss over the long term. By focusing on whole foods and eliminating processed foods, you are building a foundation for a healthy diet that can be maintained beyond the 30-day program. During the program, you will quickly notice the benefits of eliminating processed foods, and additives, and be more mindful of portion control when eating trigger foods. Additionally, by increasing awareness and mindfulness around food choices, you are developing healthy habits that can support long-term weight management.
Whole 30 is an effective weight loss diet because it eliminates processed foods, focuses on whole foods, and eliminates trigger foods. While it may not be for everyone, many people have found success with Whole 30 as a way to jumpstart weight loss and develop healthy eating habits.
Before starting any fitness program or making dietary changes, including supplementation, please consult your physician for a thorough examination.