The Pros And Cons Of The Whole30 Program

The Whole30 diet is getting big. It has a ton of Instagram followers. It has dedicated adherents and critics. It’s been voted worst diet in U.S. News and World Report. And Wikipedia called it a fad diet. That’s how you know Whole30 has arrived. So let’s check out the pros and cons of Whole30.

Some Basics

First, it’s important to mention that the diet is meant to last for 30 days. Then you start to slowly add back the foods you eliminated, and take note of how you feel.

Whole30 is your basic elimination diet. It’s criticized for being restrictive, which it is. It’s that “E” word – elimination. For Whole30, for instance:

  • No dairy (except ghee or clarified butter),
  • No legumes (including peanuts),
  • No sweeteners (natural or artificial),
  • No grains (including quinoa, which is technically a seed, but still no),
  • No alcohol (not even to flavor the chicken).

They’re not kidding it’s an elimination diet. Psychologically as well. For instance, no faux junk food, even made with all Whole30-approved ingredients. It seems to be an attempt to interrupt the mini-addictions that keep us trapped in our habits.

Whole30 has its drawbacks. But the critics seem harsh given that any elimination diet is going to eliminate foods, and sometimes even entire food groups. If it works, that’s how you discover your sensitivities. And what might be unhealthy as a way of life is likely fine for 30 days.

Pros and Cons

Pro: The food is healthy, especially if you can afford the recommendations (organic and pastured foods are not cheap).

Con: The food isn’t necessarily convenient. No nuking a hot pocket. Washing, chopping, mixing, slicing, cooking – it’s all on you.

Pro: You know what’s in your food – just food – and it’s not unpronounceable.

Con: You have to know what’s in your food by reading every label until you know them by heart.

Pro: You may finally find the source of your discomfort.

Con: You may have to eliminate comfort foods.

Pro: It’s only 30 days.

Con: It’s 30 days!


We may have to wait for future research to give us the nutritional pros and cons of Whole30. Until then, we each have to determine what feels right in our own lives.

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