In 2009, Melissa Urban created the Whole30 diet. The diet is based on the principle of eating unprocessed foods. Typically, dieters follow the plan for 30 days. Meat, fruit, vegetables, seafood, eggs, and healthy fats are all encouraged. However, the diet eliminates dairy, soy, grains, preservatives, and added sugars. They are eliminated to reduce cravings and improve metabolism and digestion. The diet also claims to improve immune system function. During the program, patients are not required to count or restrict calories, and they are encouraged to avoid weighing themselves.
Many individuals follow the Whole30 diet for weight loss. Some individuals even say it helps identify certain food allergies. Others use a combination Whole30 keto meal plan. Of course, many beginners try Whole30 frozen foods or a cheap Whole30 meal plan to make following the diet easier.
Dairy products are often associated with an inflammatory response in the body. They can sometimes make individuals feel bloated. Additionally, individuals who are especially sensitive to dairy could experience fatigue or frequent sinus infections after consuming dairy products. These products may also worsen acne, eczema, and other inflammatory skin conditions. During the Whole30 program, it is essential to avoid all types of milk. This includes cow, goat, and sheep milk. Cheese, sour cream, yogurt, and kefir must also be eliminated during the diet.
Individuals can consume dairy-free milk alternatives if they do not contain carrageenan or soy. Patients might want to consider consuming dairy-free products fortified with calcium to ensure that they are getting enough calcium. Collard greens and sardines are excellent sources of calcium too. Patients who currently take a calcium supplement should continue taking this during the Whole30 program. They may want to ask their doctor about adjusting their dosage while on the Whole30 diet.
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The Whole30 diet eliminates all grains, including oats, corn, rice, wheat, rye, and barley. Quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth are eliminated as well. Patients on the Whole30 program are not allowed to consume foods that contain cornstarch, wheat germ, or other grain-based additives. Many of these are common in processed foods. When grains are eliminated, some individuals report feeling less bloated and sluggish, and some experience improvements in their mood.
Since processed foods are one of the major dietary sources of grains, eliminating these products typically helps Whole30 followers with weight loss. Grains can be hidden in many foods. Thus, patients need to be vigilant about reading labels to check for these. Instead of using grains as the basis for meals, it is helpful to build meals around vegetables. For example, a baked potato is an ideal substitute for rice. If patients notice symptoms that they feel could be connected to a grain sensitivity, they should ask their doctor about celiac disease. This is especially important if the symptoms return after grains are re-introduced at the Whole30 program's conclusion.
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Followers of the Whole30 program are advised to eliminate most legumes, including beans, peanuts, peanut butter, and peanut oil. Tofu, tempeh, miso, soy protein, and soy lecithin are also not allowed. These legumes contain saponins and lecithins that can increase inflammation and trigger leaky gut syndrome. The protease inhibitors in legumes may be associated with allergic reactions. Some individuals could develop leaky gut syndrome or chronic inflammation due to the protease inhibitors as well. Phytates are found naturally in legumes, and they can decrease mineral absorption.
Some types of legumes may contain phytoestrogens. These could cause the body to produce too much estrogen, leading to hormonal imbalances. Since legumes have carbohydrates, some patients find that they can cause weight loss to stall. This is a major reason why they are eliminated in the Whole30 program. Currently, the only legumes allowed on the Whole30 diet are green beans and peas. Split peas, yellow peas, green peas, snow peas, and sugar snap peas are all permitted. Eliminating legumes may be particularly difficult for some individuals. Cooking at home could make the elimination process easier.
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Studies have shown that added sugar is associated with obesity, cancer, heart disease, and premature aging. When sugar is consumed, heart rate and blood pressure both increase. The patient's insulin and triglyceride levels also rise. Consuming added sugar can cause individuals to feel tired and unable to focus. Some individuals may notice that they experience higher anxiety after eating sugary foods. Patients who consume sugar could experience more frequent or intense cravings for certain foods.
Followers of the Whole30 program are not allowed to have added sugar in any form, even if it is a natural sugar. For example, stevia, monk fruit extract, maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, and coconut sugar need to be eliminated. To make it easier to find added sugar in store-bought items, patients should check the 'added sugar' section of the nutrition facts. If the amount listed is anything more than zero, it is not considered compliant with the Whole30 diet. Fruit juice and recipes that use fruit juice as a sweetener are allowed during the program. Patients can have coconut aminos that contain coconut nectar or coconut syrup.
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MSG and Sulfites
MSG and sulfites are food additives that are common causes of allergies. MSG is used as a flavor enhancer in food. It has been associated with headaches, dizziness, hives, and weakness in some patients. Some studies suggest that frequent consumption of MSG could play a role in the development of obesity, inflammation, and diabetes. Sulfites are added to food and beverages to prevent the growth of mold and improve its shelf life. Sulfite sensitivity occurs in an estimated one out of every one hundred individuals, and it can trigger an allergic reaction that may be severe. Patients with this sensitivity could have headaches, breathing problems, diarrhea, dizziness, and vomiting. During the Whole30 program, individuals should carefully read all food labels to avoid consuming any sulfites or MSG. Sulfites sometimes appear on food labels as sulfur dioxide, potassium bisulfate, sodium sulfite, or sodium bisulfite.