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  • Steven Reinberg
  • Posted January 7, 2019

Trying Whole30 Diet? Watch Out for Weight Regain

Thinking of eating healthier in 2019? Kickstarting with the Whole30 diet may be a good choice, a dietitian suggests.

But you have to be careful when you start a diet that restricts foods. These diets can be risky, according to Ohio State's Lori Chong, a certified diabetes educator.

The Whole30 program is only supposed to be used for 30 days. The diet requires you to cut out added sugar (real or artificial), alcohol, grains (including quinoa, corn and rice), legumes, dairy and carrageenan, MSG and sulfites, which are found in many processed foods.

"Eating whole, unprocessed foods and making an effort to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables is a great goal for anyone," Chong said. So is cutting out sugar, she added.

Many people will lose weight on a diet like Whole30, but weight loss isn't the only goal. The diet can also help if you are at risk for diabetes, and help with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.

But after a 30-day wonder diet like Whole30, it's likely weight will return if you don't follow a few rules. Keeping the weight off is a matter of adding foods back into your diet with moderation and balance.

"However, in my experience as a dietitian, most people have difficulty maintaining that balance when they go off a restrictive diet. The restrictive phase is often so restrictive that rebound overeating occurs," Chong explained in a university news release.

Moreover, these diets aren't for people with a history of eating disorders, pregnant women or frail folks.

These diets are great, however, for people who are willing to put in the time and effort to shop, cook and make healthy food choices.

Tips to keeping the weight off after your 30-day program include:

  • Reintroduce foods one at a time and in small amounts. Don't go crazy with sugar. Reintroduce it slowly and keep amounts small.
  • Stick to whole grains -- don't use white flour products.
  • Slowly reintroduce dairy, with foods like unsweetened or plain yogurt, and keep cheese to a minimum.
  • Stick to moderate drinking -- up to one drink a day for women, up to two drinks for men.
  • Add legumes (beans, lentils, peas, etc.) back to your usual diet. Legumes are nutrient-dense and high in fiber. Eat them every day.

"Every small step toward eating more vegetables and other whole foods -- as well as fewer sugary and processed foods -- is a step in the right direction," Chong said.

More information

For more on healthy eating, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

SOURCE: Ohio State University, news release, Dec. 27, 2018
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