What Are Hormone Diets And Can They Really Help You Lose Weight Quickly
As a registered dietitian, I have found that my clients are increasingly asking about books and programs that claim you can adjust your hormones with a diet to lose weight quickly and easily.
Search for hormone diet and there are more than 30 recent books on the topic. The authors allege that the reason people over 35 struggle to lose weight doesnt have to do with eating too much or not exercising enough. They say its your hormones working against you.
According to these books, you can trick your metabolism and feed your thyroid. They claim that all you need to do is eat the right foods and take the right supplements, and youll unlock the secret to lasting weight loss.
But is there any evidence these diets work?
In researching hormone diets, I found some that are sold at weight-loss centers, created by wellness experts who have no recognized credentials. They claim to promote rapid weight loss by affecting hormones such as insulin, which moves sugar from your blood into your cells cortisol, the stress hormone sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen and thyroid hormones.
So, do hormone diets lead to quick and easy weight loss?
I dont know of any diet that will change hormone levels in a way that these hormone changes will be instrumental in promoting weight loss, Franck Mauvais-Jarvis, a professor of medicine at Tulane Universitys medical school, wrote in an email.
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Follow This Eating Pattern
Eating plenty of colorful vegetables and fruit along with heart-healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts as well as fish and vegetarian proteins appears to be one of the healthiest ways to promote weight loss and prevent chronic diseases. It may also make your cells more sensitive to insulin, reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
In particular, oily fish contains long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that may help reduce insulin resistance, a risk-factor for Type 2 diabetes.
Having healthy fats in your meals and snacks triggers the release of hormones that help you feel more satiated, which can support weight loss.
What Do The Reviews Say
Amanda Tsigonias, 36, of Meridian, Idaho, has lost 52.4 pounds on the GOLO diet in the past year, and tells WH, “I still have about 60 pounds to go, so maybe another year to go. But Im adding exercise this year. So I might have better results by next year.”
“The GOLO Release helps me feel full so I eat less, no more snacking, and I dont crave sweets as much,” Tsigonias adds. “I love how they allow delicious options, unlike other strict diets. I can still eat my favorite foods, like potatoes, pastas, and breads. Its just healthier options, like whole wheat and measured portions. They have an amazing recipe book, as well as hundreds of recipes online. The company is so great too. They help you along the way, reach out to you for support and follow-up. I even joined an empowerment group that meets on Zoom every couple of weeks to stay connected and motivated.”
Shanna Booher, 40, from Baldwin, Wisconsin, has enjoyed being on the GOLO diet. She tells WH, “I have been on MANY ‘diet plans,’ and this is the first to truly use real food, from all food groups. Fats and carbs are no longer off-limits. It’s very freeing mentally after diet culture has brainwashed so many of us into eating ‘fake food’ full of chemicals and replacements. The online community are so helpful and encouraging, and their vast recipe portfolio on the website is so good!”
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Dr Mindy Leroy Dnp Fnp
Mindy LeRoy, DNP, FNP-C is a board-certified, doctorate prepared, Family Nurse Practitioner with over 17 years of experience in the medical field, including traditional and integrative medicine. Mindy understands how the natural aging process can impair one’s ability to live life to it’s fullest, and she has dedicated her career to learning the most effective anti-aging strategies science has to offer.
Mindy’s approach to wellness and longevity consists of comprehensive lab testing that may reveal underlying imbalances which could be limiting your ability to function at your peak. She uses biochemical and holistic approaches for treatment to help her clients live with vitality, energy, and vigor as they deserve.
Mindy was originally trained and mentored by national hormone experts and is certified to test and balance hormones for men and women. She graduated with honors as a Doctor of Nursing Practice and Family Nurse Practitioner at Frontier Nursing University. Mindy is a member of the International Academy of Aesthetics and American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine where she has received training in peptide therapy, esthetic procedures, and longevity medicine.
What Our Hormones Do
While hormones provide so many functions in our bodies, for women, the sex hormones are the hormones that specifically cause issues and conditions, so well focus on those.
- Estrogen This is the primary female hormone that regulates the reproductive system, stimulates fertility and libido, and is crucial in female anatomical development .
- Progesterone This hormone helps modulate a womans cycle, menstruation, and pregnancy, and helps synthesize other sex and stress hormones. It also improves and regulates the sleep cycle.
- Testosterone This hormone is the primary male hormone however, women still produce a small amount. It is responsible for muscle growth, fat gain, body hair production, and libido.
What Are The Cons Of The Golo Diet
WH advisory board member Amanda Baker Lemein, RD, a nutritionist based in Chicago, says there are some cons to consider. While some people think a pro to the diet is that it doesn’t seem like a diet in the traditional sense but a supplement regimen, Lemein says this is actually a hurdle.
Supplements are not a heavily regulated industry, Lemein points outwhich means you need to proceed with extreme caution and research before using them. What’s more, the plan may not be sustainable. “As a nutrition expert who has counseled many weight-loss clients over the years, this does not evaluate any of the behavioral issues that need to be resolved,” Lemein says.
It’s also unclear what the long-term effects of taking the supplement are, and it’s possible that any ingredients in this supplement could interact with another medication or supp you are taking, Ehsani notes. So always check with your medical provider before starting a new supplement.
And Lemein recommends focusing on making long-lasting lifestyle changes that include healthy, balanced meals and the ability to allow all foods to fit in moderation.
She also points out that you wouldn’t know much about your hormones unless you worked with your doctor to get that information. “It is simply untrue to claim that everyone is insulin-resistant,” Lemein says. If someone has concerns about having a hormonal imbalance, they should consult with their physician, who can recommend proper therapies for their individual situation.
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So How Can We Win This Battle With Hormones
There are two keys to winning the battle of balanced hormones:
It is seldom fair to say a person that is struggling with weight control just needs to eat less. This is why fad diets and counting calories typically produce dismal results. Or if there is some weight loss we gain the weight back within a short period of time. Trying to lose weight when our hormones are out of balance can be just as frustrating.
The factors that influence hormones in the body have to be addressed in a comprehensive manner to allow the body to return to optimal metabolism and burning fat for energy. Once normal metabolism is restored our bodies can return to a wonderful state of hormone balance.
What Does The Golo Diet Release Supplement Do
The GOLO diet relies on the program’s Release supplement, which was “designed with plant-based ingredients,” according to the company website. You take it with every meal, or possibly less often depending on how much weight you want to lose.
The website lists all of the ingredients in the supplement, which include minerals like zinc, chromium, and magnesium and plant extracts like Banaba leaf extract and rhodiola rosea), and cites that “over 30 studies on the Release ingredients showing both the safety and efficacy of the GOLO Release dietary supplement.”
In one 2018, 13-week randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study that’s mentioned on the website , overweight people who took Release lost significantly more weight, inches around their waists, and lowered their health risk markers more than folks who took a placebo. GOLO, however, does not provide further information on this study or the other 30 studies it has conducted.
The natural ingredients in the supplement “work together to address the underlying cause of weight gain and helps to repair your metabolism,” according to the website. The site also states that the supplement does not interact with other medications and does not cause a jittery feeling .
Plus, “there are no real studies that werent company-funded that will indicate whether or not this supplement will effectively help manage ones insulin levels thus resulting in weight loss or from following the diet itself,” adds Ehsani.
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Focus On Diet Quality
Overall, diets that are high in a variety of whole foods that are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and phytochemicals promote healthy hormone levels.
Hormones such as insulin, cortisol and sex hormones can be negatively affected by a lower-quality diet, such as one that has lots of refined carbohydrates along with hydrogenated and saturated fats from fried foods, fatty meats and highly processed foods.
To reduce elevated insulin levels, eating better-quality carbohydrate sources and less carbohydrates overall may help.
Higher-quality carbohydrates tend to be lower on the glycemic index, minimally processed and higher in fiber. Examples include whole grains such as 100 percent stone-ground whole wheat, rolled or steel-cut oats and barley, pulses such as lentils and chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and berries.
There is also some evidence that low-carb diets can help lower elevated insulin levels.
Eating too much or not enough is also not desirable from a hormone perspective: Overeating can cause insulin levels to rise, while undereating or chronic dieting negatively affects levels of cortisol and sex hormones.
So Should You Try The Golo Diet Or Program
Dr. LePort doesnt see anything harmful about the balanced meals that incorporate healthy servings of carbs, proteins, and fats, but, again, the overview of what GOLO meals are made up of is limited unless you pay for the program assets. And, as for the supplements, he cant speak to their safety or benefits.
If you want to lose weight, your best bet is to eat whole foods and maintain a caloric deficit that is appropriate for your age and weight, says Dr. LePort.
The bottom line: Some of the GOLO diet principles are straightforward weight-loss methods, such as eating whole foods and aiming for a caloric deficit appropriate for your age and weight. But there’s not a ton of data on the GOLO diet or the supplements it uses, so proceed with caution.
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Can You Lose Weight On The Golo Diet
It’s unclear. As mentioned, GOLO cites multiple studies on its website as proof that the diet program really worksbut the studies were paid for by the company and weren’t found in the peer-reviewed National Library of Medicine database, Crandall says.
It’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet and monitor your caloric intake when trying to lose weight, and the GOLO diet seems to follow these key weight-loss principles. The GOLO diet does encourage a healthy diet of fruits, veggies, fats, and lean protein, says Ehsani.
“People may claim to have lost weight following this diet, but we arent able to determine if it was from them starting and following the healthy diet, or starting exercise, or a combination of both or the GOLO supplement,” she says. “Therefore, we are unable to state whether or not this specific diet can help you lose weight.”
It’s also important to be cautious about GOLO’s claims regarding insulin, warns Dr. LePort. Here’s the deal: When your body releases insulin, you start to feel hungry, says Dr. LePort. GOLO’s Release supplement, however, aims to keep insulin levels from rising and essentially trick you into eating less frequently. What Dr. LePort didnt get from the site was how these plant extracts and minerals actually balance hormones and help you lose weight.
How To Fix Your Hormones And Lose Weight
Ive hit a stubborn weight-loss plateau, writes this weeks house call, even though I seem to be doing everything right, like eating the right foods and exercising. How can I overcome that obstacle?
Ive discussed different reasons for weight-loss resistance in past blogs. Many obstacles have nothing to do with what you eat or how much you exercise. Instead, they involve things like nutritional imbalances, chronic inflammation, metabolic challenges, leaky gut, changes in your microbiome, environmental toxins and your genes.
One huge but often-overlooked reason for weight-loss resistance involves hormonal imbalances.
No contest: The monster hormone that causes weight gain, inflammation and chronic disease is excess insulin. Think of this hormone as your fat cell fertilizer! My new book, Eat Fat, Get Thin, discusses how to naturally regulate insulin so you can shift your body from fat storage mode to fat-burning mode.
At the same time, insulin isnt the only player other hormones also affect your weight and health. Three big disruptors are: thyroid, cortisol and sex hormones. I discuss these hormones in-depth in The Blood Sugar Solution, however, lets briefly look at each of them here.
A common cause of hypothyroidism is gluten intolerance.
Sex Hormone Imbalances
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