According to U.S. News and World Report, the Whole 30 is the worst diet ever. I certainly wasn’t impressed with it when it was first released, but I wasn’t expecting this from this report, which is completely bogus in its own right as we will discuss.
This report has several lists for ranking diets. It has a list for overall health, diabetes treatment, weight loss potential, heart-health, and several more. The Whole 30 showed up as number thirty-eight for overall, health (last place) and thirty-six for weight loss in a tie for second-to-last place. The paleo diet came in last place for weight-loss, which is fascinating.
In contrast, this “world” report ranks the TLC diet as the fourth best diet overall. “Not a fad diet – it’s government-endorsed” they say. Since when is something government-endorsed a good thing?
A government-endorsed diet is the last diet you should think is healthy. The government gave us the food pyramid, which was designed to have readers like you support food corporations like General Mills and Monsanto, since the bottom of the food pyramid was full of GRAINS. “Heart-healthy” grains. They lower cholesterol. LDL cholesterol specifically. Vegetable is good for you. Ask your doctor about statins, even if you’re five years old.
What I did there above is describe the government’s narrative. Due to powerful corporations and their lobbyists, they have gotten the government to support them. They are being bailed out every single day, because if it wasn’t for their support, and things were left to a free market, people wouldn’t be prescribed as many statins I would guess.
I’d personally recommend the Whole 30 over the TLC diet, simply because of this fact; the TLC diet has more corporate interests behind it than the Whole 30, which was devised by a couple of nutritionists.
Now, I found out again recently about this ranking, from this article. Let me clear up some confusion. That article features a couple anecdotes from people who tried the Whole 30 and were not successful. Well, I think we need to accept one basic fact. All diets will have non-responders. There are many factors that could influence this. I just spoke to a woman today who has a genetic predisposition to heart disease (she’s in her early twenties and already has vascular disease), and the only diet that works for her so far is the ketogenic diet, alternating with low-carb Paleo.
The ketogenic diet also has non-responders. Keto-enthusiasts know that the diet was used to treat epilepsy. Well what they don’t tell you is that it doesn’t work on everyone. I will make a separate post about this. Did you know that exercise has non-responders too? Some people do not see an increase in their aerobic capacity from regular aerobic exercise training. Same thing with vitamin D. Some people do not see an increase in their vitamin D levels despite consistent supplementation (I will link to those studies later and update this post or link to a future post).
There are likely plenty of people who didn’t lose weight and didn’t improve their health from following the TLC diet or the number one diet, the DASH diet. The best diet for weight loss on this list is Weight Watchers, which I find interesting because I’d rank is near the bottom for promoting disgusting food-like products.
Now the Whole 30 is similar to the Paleo diet. It involves elimination of similar food groups, and isn’t designed to be a long term diet. This explains why some people, like the person who submitted an anecdote for the article I linked to, binge after such restriction. If people don’t know how to eat things in moderation and follow their cravings once in a while, AND go on a very restrictive diet, they will have problems later. I personally have experienced this.
So, the Whole 30 is not the WORST diet. There is no WORST diet, because ultimately, the one thing this report did not do was discuss what the outcomes are. If we do not discuss outcomes, we will not understand why we are comparing things. The diets on the World Report list are designed for different purposes. Weight Watchers was specifically focused on health. The DASH diet was focused on reducing blood pressure. The TLC diet was focused on reducing LDL cholesterol. The Paleo diet can do all of those things, yet it’s ranked very low. “It’s one of the few diets that experts actually considered somewhat unsafe and only somewhat complete nutritionally,” the report says. There are far better referenced articles on other nutrition blogs that discuss the studies behind low-carbohydrate verus high carbohydrate diets. This report cited four studies, admitting that one can reduce blood pressure on this diet, but it is nutritionally incomplete because it does not contain wheat.
I’m not even a huge fan of the modern Paleo diet, because I feel that the reasoning behind eating low-carbs is not based on what humans actually ate in the Paleolithic era. The low-carb philosophy is also not intuitive, and can lead to a lowered metabolism, and subclinical hypothyroidism. But, if done right, and intuitively, it is likely much better than “government-recommended” diets which call for the consumption of grains and dairy, which have many lobbyists behind them fighting for their interests.
In addition, suggesting that the TLC diet versus the Whole 30 will have drastically different effects on someone’s LDL cholesterol is completely unsupported. There is no evidence to indicate this, yet people will end up believing it because of the way things are marketed. The TLC diet is endorsed by the American Heart Association, who recently recommended that we all increase our omega-6 to omega-3 ratio by eating vegetable oil (and board members get paid by producers of canola oil). Increasing your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is not a good idea, as most people tend to already have unnaturally high levels, increasing their levels of inflammation. Thus, they cannot be trusted to deliver truthful health advice. I will write a post on the coconut oil controversy soon; I’m in the process of obtaining a journal article from 1979 from a library that was not in the stacks.
Now, the nutritionists that wrote the Whole 30 put out a diet that involves a lot of restriction, and may not have realized what the consequences of this are. Perhaps they knew that people love some structure, and that creating a bunch of rules to follow would sell well. Rules in general are antithesis to eating naturally, following the rhythms of our body, and tuning in to what our bodies need. Perhaps this is why the anecdote included in The Independent involved binge eating. The best diet in my opinion is a diet that includes nutrient dense foods but accommodates cravings here and there.
I’m going to keep this post short. Do not worry about the rankings coming from U.S. News World Report (what a name), and be flexible with your diet. If weight loss is a major concern to you, find a pattern of eating that allows some wiggle room. There is a reason why most diets fail.