Hey there friends! It’s been a minute since I wrote a science/nutrition type post. Life has been crazy and all over the place. But let’s not dwell upon that. Let’s talk about the Whole 30 diet. A lot of people ask me about Whole 30. But what is the Whole 30 diet? Is Whole 30 Good for you? Today, we will look at the science behind the Whole30 diet?
PS: Video version at bottom of post or watch here.
What is Whole30?
I never learned about the Whole 30 diet in my masters of nutrition program, nor in my undergraduate nutrition classes. The Whole 30 diet is not included in my Clinical Nutrition textbooks, nor is it in my nutritional biochem textbook (granted, these books are a couple years old, but still).
So, I turned to the internet to find see what was out there about Whole30.
I couldn’t find any scientific studies on Whole30 on PubMed nor Google Scholar.
Thus, I turned to regular Google. According to the Whole30 official website, Whole30 is a 30-day diet that emphasizes whole foods and the elimination of sugar (real or artificial, including maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, date syrup, Splenda, Stevia, etc) alcohol, grains including wheat, corn, rice, millet, etc, legumes of all kinds (ie: beans, peanuts, and peas), soy, dairy, and carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites.
The Whole30 program also forbids consuming baked goods, treats, or junk foods made with “approved” ingredients, as well as stepping on the scale or measuring one’s body during the 30 days.
According to the website, you must completely adhere to the full program “exactly as written 100% for the full 30 days.” If you have any “slip ups,” (even a bite of pizza) you “have” to start over again on Day 1.
Whole30 is also a lifestyle brand, of sorts. The website offers a couple Whole30-related books, and seems to work with brands on “Whole30-approved” certifications for certain products.
What Does Whole30 promise?
The Whole30 website claims that completing the Whole30 program will lead to “stunning, life-changing results.” According to their website, Whole30 can cure digestive ailments, seasonal allergies, skin issues, inflammation, and improve your immune system.
The Whole30 also advertises itself as a “nutritional reset” to help you “end” unhealthy cravings and habits.
There are no links to any scientific studies to support these claims on the Whole30 website. There are, however, links to Whole30 books available for purchase, written by the Whole30 founders.
Who Designed Whole30?
According to the Whole30 website, the diet was founded by Melissa Hartwig Urban, who obtained a sports nutrition certificate from ISSN (according to her LinkedIn page). ISSN is an online nutrition certificate site,sponsored by Bayer, bioPro, CBD+oil, Muscletech, and many other companies.
I can’t speak about the quality of the program as I have never taken the exam.
What Does the Science Say About Whole30?
As I alluded to above, I couldn’t find a single scientific studies on Whole30 and the diet’s impact on health on PubMed nor Google Scholar, nor did I ever learn about it in any academic nutrition setting. It’s not in any nutrition textbook I own, etc.
So, every health claim made by the Whole30 website lacks scientific data. Normally, when researching a diet or trend, I try to weigh the evidence and sift through the science available to determine the validity of claims made. However, in this case, all I can say is, there is no evidence to support any health benefits of the Whole30.…