What Is the Whole30 Diet? Foods to Eat & Foods to Avoid

Medically Reviewed on 1/25/2022
What Is the Whole30 Diet
The Whole30 diet is a 30-day elimination diet that focuses on eating whole, unprocessed foods and avoiding potentially problematic foods

The Whole30 diet is a 30-day elimination diet that focuses on eating whole, unprocessed foods and avoiding potentially problematic foods. Unlike other diets, Whole30 encourages mindful eating as opposed to restricting calories.

After the 30 days, you can gradually begin to reintroduce eliminated foods into your diet. This can help you identify which foods may be irritating your stomach or causing allergic reactions.

The Whole30 diet may be beneficial for you if you have poor gut health, and it may also help you shed some extra pounds along the way.

What foods are allowed on the Whole30 diet?

Foods you can eat on the Whole30 diet include:

  • Lean meat:
    • Poultry
    • Beef
    • Pork
    • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Some legumes:
    • Green beans
    • Sugar snap peas
    • Snow peas
  • Healthy fats:
    • Olive oil
    • Avocado
    • Coconut oil
    • Ghee
  • Nuts and nut butters:
    • Cashews
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Almonds
    • Almond butter

You should also pay attention to where your food is coming from and buy organic and free-range when possible.

What foods do you need to avoid on the Whole30 diet?

Foods you need to avoid on the Whole30 diet include:

Check ingredient labels to make sure there are no harmful additives or hidden sugar.  Avoid pre-made, ready-to-eat foods as these are full of processed ingredients.

How to stick to the Whole30 diet

Since the Whole30 diet requires sticking to some fairly strict rules, it can be challenging to sustain. Breaking bad habits can be tough on your first try, and you may have to start over if you give in to your cravings. 

Think of it as a short-term challenge that will help you change your lifestyle and improve your health in the long term. By avoiding processed, unhealthy foods for the full 30 days, you will be more aware of what you are eating and able to identify which foods are making you feel bloated, tired, or uncomfortable.

Who should avoid the Whole30 diet?

While the Whole30 diet has benefits,it may not be suitable for everyone:

  • Nutritional deficiencies: If you are prone to nutritional deficiencies, talk to your doctor before starting the diet. Completely avoiding foods you normally eat may mean you are losing out on important nutrients. This may increase your risk of nutritional deficiencies. 
  • Eating disorders: If you have a history of an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa, avoid this diet, as it is very controlling and restrictive. 
  • Vegetarians and vegans: Eating meat is a major part of this diet, and grains and legumes are restricted. This means that if you are vegetarian or vegan, following the diet puts you at risk of not getting enough vitamin D and calcium and other nutrients.
  • Diabetes: The Whole30 diet could make your blood sugar levels fluctuate. So if you have diabetes, you may want to consult your doctor about whether this diet is right for you. 
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Since the Whole30 diet can trigger inflammation in your gut, you may want to avoid the diet if you have IBS.


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Medically Reviewed on 1/25/2022
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Cleveland Clinic: “Should You Try the Whole30 Diet?” https://health.clevelandclinic.org/whole30-diet/

Is the Whole30 Diet Healthy? https://www.healthywomen.org/your-wellness/nutrition--movement/whole30-diet-healthy