How Are You Going to Look in Your Vacation Photos? 

As a quick disclaimer, I want to say that at Zock Family Chiropractic, we fully believe every individual is beautiful. But I know that weight is something on many of our minds. If you fell into a winter lull and want to stop some bad habits in their tracks this spring, there are a number of things you can try! One of them is a dietary program called Whole30. Could Whole30 weight loss help you find confidence?

The Whole30 Program

Created in April 2009 by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, Whole30 is a restrictive dietary program that claims to “change your life” in just 30 days. The restrictive nature is due to the programs elimination diet nature, meaning you are not allowed dairy, grains, added sugar, alcohol, or legumes (so if you’re already following the Paleo diet, you have a leg up) for the 30 days on the program in hopes to find what foods trigger reactions in your body so you can adjust your diet accordingly in the future. But why eliminate so many food groups? According to the creators of the program, these foods can be problematic for some people as they can disrupt the gut or be inflammatory.

The idea behind the program is to eliminate and then reintroduce potential problem-causers so you can better understand how what you eat is affecting you. The program encourages the consumption of meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, oils, nuts, seeds and limited amounts of fruit, which is partly in line with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. However, the reality of this is a little more complicated than that. And with that said, let’s look into the pros and cons of this program to see if in fact this program could help you or get you even further off track.

PROS for Whole30 Weight Loss

As continually mentioned on the Whole30 site, “The next 30 days will change your life. It will change the way you think about food, it will change your tastes, and it will change your habits and your cravings. And it could, quite possibly, change the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body. But, it has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. We know this because we did it, and tens of thousands of people have done it since, and it changed our lives (and their lives) in a very permanent fashion.”

There are reported physical benefits of the Whole30 diet. A high percentage of participants have claimed to both lose weight and improve their body composition after 30 days. Participants have also reported consistently high energy levels, improved athletic performance, better sleep, improved focus, mental clarity, and even happier moods. In regards to psychological benefits, many have said the 30-day program helped them change their views on food. They noticed a dramatic reduction in their sugar and carbohydrate cravings. Many also thought Whole30 helped them change unhealthy habits related to food and even helped them to develop a healthier body image.

The Biggest Benefit

The biggest benefit of Whole30 though, in my opinion, is the number of testimonials in regards to improvement or “cure” of a number of lifestyle-related diseases and conditions. According to the Whole30 site, these include, but aren’t limited to:

High blood pressure • High cholesterol • Type 1 diabetes • Type 2 diabetes • Asthma • Allergies • Sinus infections • Hives • Skin conditions • Endometriosis • PCOS • Infertility • Migraines • Depression • Bipolar disorder • Heartburn • GERD • Arthritis • Joint pain  • ADD • thyroid dysfunction • Lyme disease • Fibromyalgia • Chronic fatigue • Lupus • Leaky gut syndrome • Crohn’s disease • IBS • Celiac disease • Diverticulitis • Ulcerative colitis

The Strictness?

Many find the strictness of the program helpful, as it provides clear guidelines on what participants can or cannot eat. The Whole30 site is filled with tools. These tools include recipes and shopping lists to help guide participants through the program. Many also enjoy that the program requires no calorie counting, measuring, or works off a point system. It encourages participants to eat whole foods in their natural, unprocessed states. It helps them avoid highly processed food that comes in cans and boxes in the frozen aisle. And helps with the process of reading labels and learning how to make more comprehensive food choices.

CONS of Whole30 weight loss

Like any diet or lifestyle, there are cons that come with it. The main complaint that participants have is how strict the diet actually is. Creators claim that the body needs to eliminate those specific foods for an entirety of 30 days. Then we can enter the reintroduction phase of the diet. Meaning that if you slip up slightly, you have to start the program again from day zero. Even if you put a teaspoon of creamer into your coffee on day 10 out of habit! You aren’t allowed any kind of cheat/treat meal during those 30 days either. This zero-tolerance policy is concerning. Especially for those who tend to fall off the wagon and quit a diet entirely. With Whole30, essentially you’ve removed all the mental safety nets. Safety nets that would normally allow a person to recover gracefully from a mistake or two.

Another Concern

Another concern is the elimination of dairy and grains. These are considered to be two of the five key portions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate recommendations. According to the USDA plan, dairy includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt. In regards to grains, the restrictions include wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.

This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn, and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch, and so on.  Deprivation of those whole grains will, in turn, reduce your consumption of fiber, vitamin E, iron, folate, magnesium, B vitamins, and even some protein – which are all nutrients we need in our diets. Whole grains have also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes just to name a few.

Just Be Careful

Unless you have been diagnosed with a specific allergy or intolerance, there is no real science-based nutritional reason to cut out all food groups at the same time. Just as we talked about grains, dairy is another food group that contains a plethora of nutrients such as protein, calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. Dairy has also been linked to improved bone health, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and lower blood pressure.  Similarly, legumes, which include beans, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, and soy-based foods, have a number of health benefits and also shouldn’t be avoided. According to a recent report in the British Journal of Nutrition, legumes, when consumed as a part of a healthy diet along with plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains, are linked with lower rates of pre-diabetes.

The Main Takeaway

There are some positive aspects of the program. Mainly the importance of eating “whole foods”. Yet, there are concerns that arise when eliminating a number of food groups entirely. If you are looking to reset your diet, I would rather recommend a focus on those whole foods. We’re talking lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats. And, rather than eliminating healthy foods, consider eliminating added sugars, and other manufactured elements.

Nutrition and Chiropractic Care

Nutrition is critical to our overall health. What we ingest is directly correlated to how we feel and how we perform on an everyday basis. Food should be seen as fuel. And as a way to keep our organs functioning, bodies moving, and brains operating as best as they can. This used to be a much simpler process. But as we have evolved over time, so have the foods we consume. We have become inundated with foods full of processed components, fillers, preservatives, and other harmful ingredients. And these are all things that can contribute to conditions and diseases.

Nutrition and your chiropractic hand go hand in hand, as, without proper nutrition, that care can only do so much. It is extremely important to pay attention to all aspects of your health. This way, you can ensure everything is working together to give you the best possible outcome. Proper nutrition is necessary as it encourages musculoskeletal health. Meaning your recovery time could be shorter. And you’d feel the effects more intensely than that compared to a nutrient-lacking diet. In a nutshell, nutrition and chiropractic care are so interwoven that even the smallest of nutritional slip-ups can hinder the progress you have been making with your chiropractor.

Let’s Work Together!

As mentioned before, there are pros and cons to every diet. There is a chance trying the 30-day challenge may benefit you greatly. But there is also the chance that it doesn’t. We will always encourage our patients to eat a nutritionally dense diet as they focus on their overall wellness. If Whole30 is too intense for you, perhaps try eliminating one food group at a time. Especially if you think you may be suffering from reactions from one specific food group. An example of this is dairy for the lactose intolerant or grains for those with celiac disease). To talk about this topic further, contact us today to schedule an introductory chiropractic session. We can discuss your wellness routine and nutritional needs as part of my initial chiropractic workup for you as a new patient to our practice.


* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.