As we are starting to head into late spring, you should not be surprised that a large percentage of your patients are diligently trying to get in shape for summer.
If this is the case, they are not alone. Rather, they are part of 97 million Americans who are actively on a diet.1 This translates into $66 billion dollars of revenue, overall. Approximately 80 percent of these dieters are taking a DIY approach, rather than using a structured, commercial weight-loss program.1 However, fewer people are actually saying that their interest in a wellness lifestyle is for dieting. A poll in Fortune magazine found that 77 percent of Americans are making active efforts to eat healthier.2
At the same time, only 19 percent of survey respondents said that they were actually on a diet. Instead, people appear to be more focused on improving their health, rather than strictly counting calories or losing weight. Furthermore, this trend was more pronounced for women than for men.2
What does this mean for your patients?
Odds are good that your patients are asking you questions about how to eat better or get the best nutritional benefit out of their food. It also means they will be looking at lifestyle eating systems that not only are designed to improve the quality of the food you eat, but are meant to also get you to rethink your relationship with food itself.
Whole30 is one of the most popular of these lifestyle eating systems, so you should expect questions from your patients as to how it works and whether or not it will work for them. Read on to find out what goes into the Whole30 program and its pros and cons.
What is Whole30?
As the name implies, the Whole30 program requires you to consume only whole foods – no packaged or processed food – for 30 days. However, it goes further than just that. Whole30 also completely eliminates beans, legumes, dairy, sugar (including honey and maple syrup), alcohol, grains, and starch from your diet.
By completely eliminating these food groups, and then gradually re-introducing them one at a time, your body undergoes what is known as a nutritional reset to rebalance your immune system, reduce inflammation, and increase metabolism. The program also claims to help stop your craving for unhealthy foods.
Pros of Whole30
If your patients are the types who thrive on challenges, Whole30 may be a great system for them. At its core, Whole30 is built on the premise of challenging yourself to change your eating habits. This would make it a great system for your patients who already have a reasonably fit lifestyle, but know that they can do better if they can get out of their rut with regard to food choices.
Patients that are almost at their fitness goals may benefit from getting that extra bit of a motivational push. It can also be a good motivator for patients who work well with a buddy system. Recruiting a team of friends, family, or co-workers can be great for motivating each other to stay on track with eating properly and getting enough exercise.
Cons of Who30
Perhaps the biggest drawback to Whole30 is that it is designed to disrupt normal food routines. While this may be great for some people, it can be very difficult for your patients who have other dietary restrictions for health, religious, or ethical reasons. It can also be challenging for patients who must prepare or buy their own food separate from the rest of their family. Eating out at restaurants may also be difficult, as it is almost impossible to have control over the ingredients.
Ultimately, whether or not Whole30 will work for your patients will depend upon their lifestyle and personality. If they are very self-motivated and up for a challenge, the program may be ideal. However, patients who must also manage food shopping and preparation for other family members may find Whole30 too cumbersome. You should make sure that your patients understand the pros and cons of Whole 30 before they decide to take it on.