Pros And Cons Of The Whole 30 Diet

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Written By: Suzanne Kvilhaug

Diets come with rules and with those rules is a list of pros and cons. Eating is extremely individual so the same diet that works perfectly for someone could be someone else’s worst nightmare. And then some diets could be hell for most people and they read over the rules and see it more like “pick your poison.”

The Whole30 has been around since 2009 and has been pretty popular in the mainstream world. It was created by Doug and Melissa Hartwig and centers around eliminating the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days.

The Whole30 overview:

The Whole30 is described as a whole foods approach. It’s about stripping certain foods from your diet completely and eating foods with very few ingredients.

What can you eat on the whole30 diet:

Moderate portions of meat, seafood, and eggs; lots of vegetables; some fruit; plenty of natural fats; and herbs, spices, and seasonings.

What can’t you eat on the whole30 diet:

• Dairy

Processed foods

• Added sugar, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, etc.


• Grains, wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.

• No legumes, no beans of any kind, peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts (and no peanut butter).

• All forms of soy. Soy sauce miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame.

Why does the whole30 diet eliminate certain foods:

To let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. The idea is to push the reset button with your health, habits, and relationship with food, and the downstream physical and psychological effects of the food choices you’ve been making.

You will learn how the foods you’ve been eating are affecting your day-to-day life, long term health, body composition, and feelings around food.


will i get results on the whole30 diet?

The main goal is to change the way you think about food. It will change your tastes, your habits and your cravings. The whole 30 hopes to restore a healthy emotional relationship with food, and with your body.

Pros of the whole30 diet:

Quitting processed foods could change your life

When I wanted to start eating healthier, I knew I had to begin by eating less processed foods. It was difficult in the beginning but step by step, I lost the desire for them and everything shifted. And truly, I mean everything!

I’ve become someone who would be considered a really healthy eater and I credit letting go of processed foods as being the gateway that led to major change. Processed foods are unhealthy and unnecessary and if you stick to 30 days without them, you may never go back. And even if you do, you may eat way less.

You’ll start to see what foods you are sensitive and/or allergic to

Eliminating certain foods could show you what’s causing certain health issues like headaches, anxiety, exhaustion, digestion problems, mood issues and much more. By changing your diet, you’ll be able to notice important things you may have been overlooking before that could change your eating habits and health for the better.

Crash course in vegetables

Vegetables are a major part of the Whole30 program so if you’re slacking on your vegetable intake, you won’t be anymore. Not only will you start to eat more vegetables, you’ll learn about more and hopefully when the 30 days ends, you’ll stick with eating them on the regular.

Weight loss

Part of the rules is to ditch the scale during the 30 days. Even though you won’t be watching your weight, you’re likely to lose it during the Whole30 diet because of all of the junk you’ve stopped eating.

cons of the whole 30 diet:

Drill sergeant discipline is needed

The Whole30 emphasizes that the only way it works is if you give it the full 30 days. The reason behind that is the creators believe anything less and you won’t experience the full benefits the program has to offer. So that means absolutely no cheats or slips. They go as far as saying that one bite of pizza, one spoonful of ice cream, one lick of the spoon mixing the batter within the 30-day period and you’ve broken the “reset” button, requiring you to start over again on day 1. This could be extremely tough for many people for a million reasons. Maybe you’ll be on a roll but day 15 comes around and you’ve snapped and you’re eating a bowl of ice cream. And the next day isn’t day 16, it’s day 1. Oh, dang!

If you’re a social butterfly, you may need to turn into a hermit

When you read the list of what you can’t eat, it’s easy to see going out to restaurants or eating at social gatherings is pretty much not an option for 30 days. If you’re always out and about meeting people for drinks and food, you’re either going to have to cancel all your plans, find places that are Whole30 friendly or bring your own food. I have been known from time to time to bring my own food to meet people out and at the very least, it sparks conversation and makes you look like a thought leader amongst your peers.

Meat consumption is high

Yeah yeah yeah a vegan is writing this article but this is a major complaint amongst many. The Whole30 calls for a eating a lot of meat and if you’re not a big meat eater or avoid it completely, you technically can’t do the Whole30. Here’s what you can do though.

Got cravings? Too bad!

Yikes, the list of foods you can’t consume is pretty lengthy and many of them are foods people have likely enjoyed their entire life. Axing them entirely could be near impossible and remember, you’re back to day 1 with even one bite.

If fighting temptation isn’t your strong suit, you may find the Whole30 a bit torturous and wish it was more like Whole3.