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Whole 30 vs. The Mediterranean Diet

Whole 30 vs. The Mediterranean Diet

Today we are doing a deep dive into two of the most popular diets out there...Whole 30 and Mediterranean Diet. Do they actually work? Is one better than the other? Let’s dive in. 

Whole 30 Diet

The Whole 30 diet was created in 2009 by Melissa Urban when she experimented with cutting out sugar, alcohol and processed foods from her diet for 30 days to see how she felt. The Whole 30 diet began as a way to improve performance in the gym and overall health. This diet was NOT created as a way to lose weight. However, most participants who took part in this 30 day challenge tended to see the scale drop a few pounds. 

In the Whole 30 diet, the allowed foods are fruits, vegetables, unprocessed meat, all unprocessed seafood and natural fats like olive oil, all nuts, and seeds. Foods avoided on this elimination diet are added sugar, grains, legumes (such as peas and black beans), dairy, meat alternatives, alcohol, and any MSGs or sulfites. Desserts and sweet treats are strictly off-limits, even if they are made with approved ingredients. The purpose of eliminating these ingredients is to reduce inflammation in the gut and allow for improved metabolism and digestion. Since this diet is quite opposite of the typical American diet, it can cause low energy and irritability in the first few weeks. This tends to clear up as your body adapts. 

While Whole 30 promotes eating some foods that are packed with nutrients, fiber, and protein,it is extremely restrictive. If you are searching for a long-term diet, this is not the best option. It is perfect for a 30-day reset if you just want to boost your healthy eating habits. However, when the 30 days are up, you can eat a diet based on the Whole 30 principles but still allow yourself room for an 80/20 approach. 

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the cuisines traditionally eaten in Greece, Spain, Italy, and France. There is a large focus on whole grains, healthy fats, fish, fruits, and vegetables. Unlike the Whole 30 diet, this way of eating allows for red wine consumed in moderation. The Mediterranean diet is considered a lifestyle diet and is intended for longevity and sustainability. It is meant to improve overall health, reduce risk for chronic disease, improve cognition, improve eye health and digestion, and even help improve fertility. This is a less restrictive diet as this approach focuses more on the quality of the food eaten, not necessarily dropping whole food groups. This can be more appealing to those who are just beginning a healthy eating journey and want to ease in. This diet can also help with slow, sustainable weight loss due to the increase in protein and fiber consumed in all meals, ensuring you feel full and satisfied after eating. However, as I mentioned this is more of a lifestyle diet aimed to be eaten for years to come, it is not a quick fix crash diet. 

So, which diet is better? The answer to that question will be different based on each person. The best diet out there is the one you can remain consistent with. Both of these diets focus on protein, healthy fats, fruits, and veggies which is ideal for weight loss and long term health. However, my choice is Mediterranean diet as Whole 30 is more restrictive and isn’t meant to be long term. If you love fish, olive oil, and veggies, then the Mediterranean diet will be a win for you!

Further Learning

For more insights into nutrition and healthy living, tune into my podcast RDs vs BS, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stay tuned for more tips in the coming months!

I’m currently offering a free nutrition intro session to all new clients. If you’re interested in improving your nutrition in a way that lasts, sign up for a session through my website.

Instagram: @emily_rd_

Stay tuned for more tips.

In the world of nutrition, it can often seem like there's a lot to figure out. It seems like everyone is trying to sell a specific diet or plan, but the truth is that everyone’s nutrition needs are unique. Know that you don't have to go on your nutrition journey alone. Sign up for a free nutrition intro session where we can talk about creating a nutrition plan that works best for you.


written by: Gabby Romero

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