The Paleo diet is the most popular diet around today, but the Whole30 Diet, an extreme version of the Paleo plan, has been making headlines for its claims to produce quick weight loss and promote optimal health.
Like the Paleo diet, the Whole30 Diet emphasizes high-quality animal proteins, healthy fats, and vegetables, and excludes gluten, sugar, dairy, legumes, starches, alcohol and processed foods.
Unlike the Paleo diet, the Whole30 Diet does not allow any cheating for 30 days. If you do cheat, you have to start all over again from day one.
"It is not hard," Whole30 Diet creator, Melissa Hartwig, wrote on the company's website. "Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard."
According to Hartwig, you sabotage your body's healing process on the Whole30 Diet by cheating. "You need such a small amount of any of these inflammatory foods to break the healing cycle," she wrote.
The plan calls for eating three meals and no snacks and forbids dieters from weighing or measuring themselves for the month they're on the diet. Meal plans look like this:
- Vegetable soup topped with a fried or poached egg
- Ham burritos stuffed with egg and avocado and seared in coconut oil
- Broiled grapefruit with basil and coconut
- Roast beef over kale and cauliflower, tossed in lime juice
- Baked sweet potato with lettuce, chicken and grilled onions
- Jalapeno halves stuffed with shrimp and wrapped in bacon
- Poached salmon, blanched beans and squash mash
- Bacon, heirloom tomato, and basil frittata
- Fig and balsamic roasted chicken
Melissa said the Whole30 Diet has helped thousands of people lose dramatic amounts of weight and reverse digestive problems, diabetes and heart disease.
Paleo Diet Proven Twice as Effective for Weight Loss
Meanwhile, the popularity of the Paleo diet continues unabated, as studies show it's twice as effective for producing weight loss and melting belly fat as low-fat diets.
A two-year study conducted by scientists at Cambridge University and Umeå University in Sweden tracked 70 overweight, post-menopausal women who either followed a low-fat diet or a lower-carb (and higher-fat) Paleo diet.
Study participants were measured for weight, cholesterol and blood sugars after six months on their respective diets, and again after two years. The results showed the Paleo dieters lost more than twice as much weight (14 pounds) as the low-fat dieters (5.7 pounds). What's more, the low-carb, high-fat Paleo dieters lost 4 inches from their waists after six months, compared to just 2 inches for the low-fat dieters.
In previous studies, the Paleo diet has routinely beaten other diets for controlling cholesterol and diabetes. Proponents say the low-carb Paleo diet promotes rapid weight loss, lowers blood pressure, and prevents cancer, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and even Alzheimer's.
Research shows the Paleo diet works well for women because it reduces the blood sugar spikes and hormone surges that fuel overeating, mood swings and weight gain, said Nell Stephenson, author of Paleoista: Gain Energy, Get Lean.
“Clinical trials have shown the Paleo diet is the optimum diet that can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, markers of inflammation, help with weight loss, reduce acne, promote optimum health and athletic performance,” said professor Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Answer and The Paleo Diet Cookbook.