Everything You Need to Know About the GOLO Diet

From benefits and drawbacks to the cost, we've got you covered.

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Looking for a new diet? Maybe you've considered GOLO diet. With so many different options out there, it can be difficult to know whether you’re doing the best thing for your body. A great diet should encourage you to eat a variety of foods without too much restriction on any particular food group. It should also allow enough calories so that you don’t lose weight too fast, or alternatively, burn out and quit.

For the most part, the GOLO diet checks those boxes and more, providing a healthy, balanced option for people looking to better their health while losing weight. This diet is accompanied by a supplement that you pay for, which can often be a red flag. But all things considered, the GOLO diet is a relatively simple diet that most people can adopt without trouble or complications. And since it isn’t too exotic or restrictive, it’s pretty sustainable, as well. Thinking about trying it? Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the GOLO diet, from cost to how it actually works.

What Is the GOLO Diet?

The GOLO diet strives to be the diet for non-dieters, or at least those who have trouble sticking to a diet. First, it’s less restrictive than some other diets out there, allowing a reasonable number of calories each day and even green-lighting a snack every now and then. There are three basic components to this diet: calorie control (you’re expected to consume between 1300 and 1800 calories daily), 15 minutes of exercise each day (preferably high-intensity interval training) and a proprietary blend of herbs and minerals called Release.

GOLO does not appear to be an acronym for anything, but simply a catchy term—the website encourages you to "Go Lose Weight" and "Go Love Your Life."

Through recipes, coaching and guides for improving overall health, the GOLO for Life Plan aims to help you redirect overeating and issues like emotional eating. Instead, you’ll be encouraged to make healthier choices by selecting recipes from the guides that are simple to make and stick with, thus avoiding yo-yo dieting.

How Much Does GOLO Cost?

You can sign up for the Gold Diet on the website, where you can purchase Release in 30-day, 60-day or 90-day increments, at a cost ranging from $60-120, respectively.

How Does the GOLO Diet Work?

At the heart of the GOLO diet is insulin resistance, a condition the website claims can be exacerbated by starting and stopping different diets without success. Dr. Lindsay Malone, registered dietitian and adjunct professor of nutrition and wellness at Case Western Reserve University, says, “When insulin is high, the body is burning sugar instead of fat, so if fat loss is the goal, high insulin can get in the way of that. Insulin fluctuations can also contribute to hunger, which is problematic if you’re trying to eat healthy and lose weight.”

According to the GOLO website, “Insulin is one of the most important hormones in your body because it directly affects metabolism, weight gain, aging and overall health.” Aside from causing your body to store excess fat, insulin can lead to conditions like heart disease, diabetes and even Alzheimer's. That’s why the GOLO diet aims to get your metabolic health on track through healthy eating and supplementation.

Daily use of the diet’s proprietary supplement is strongly encouraged. It’s formulated primarily with magnesium, zinc and chromium, with herbs like rhodiola, banaba and gardenia also included. Many of these herbs have been shown to support weight loss, but it’s important to check with your doctor before taking any supplements.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Prediabetes, Who Gets It and How to Avoid It

What Foods Can You Eat On the GOLO Diet?

Like any diet worth spending any amount of time considering these days, the GOLO diet encourages whole, minimally processed foods. According to Malone, the key foods you should be incorporating on a daily basis include vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, lean protein and healthy fats. GOLO diet shopping lists are simple, and include whole foods along with just a few spare seasonings like parsley, garlic and ginger.

Looking for some GOLO recipes to try? You can find a bunch on Pinterest. It’s a great way to determine whether the GOLO diet is the right one for you. And here’s some good news: the GOLO diet does allow for treats every now and then. You’ll simply add them into your daily caloric intake and compensate elsewhere for them. As long as you’re staying within your calorie range and avoiding the foods the diet advises you to skip, you can eat pretty much whatever you’d like.

What Foods Should You Avoid On the GOLO Diet?

So which foods are considered a no-no on the GOLO diet? They’re the typical baddies that most diets ask you to avoid, including soda, fried food, fast food and artificial sweeteners. And while the list of foods to avoid completely is quite short, the diet does provide a much longer list of foods that should be severely limited on a daily basis, including ice cream, crackers, deli meat, bacon, beer, wine and condiments.

Related: 150+ Approved Foods for the Keto Diet

Benefits of the GOLO Diet

The GOLO diet website claims numerous health benefits from trying this diet, including resolution of diabetes, lower cholesterol, improved sleep and reduced symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). And while the diet would have to be followed on a long-term basis in order to enjoy most of those benefits, Malone says the biggest benefit, especially for those struggling to stick to a diet, is the fact that the GOLO diet brings awareness to portion sizes and food choices.

In addition, “the food options the diet sets forth helps control insulin in the body, which requires controlling blood sugar. Not only does this help with weight loss but it also helps with reducing inflammation and triglycerides. Keeping blood sugar and insulin in healthy ranges also reduces risk for other chronic diseases such as dementia, heart disease and kidney disease,” Malone says.

Drawbacks of the GOLO Diet

While the GOLO diet seems to provide sound advice and guidelines for healthy eating, it’s important to note that much of the information on their website hasn’t been substantiated by medical experts, or in peer-reviewed journals. This could mean that the doctors and nutritionists behind the diet haven’t yet performed a significant amount of studies on the claims they make, or that their studies have primarily been small-group studies.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the diet is bad, just simply that consulting with your own physician before embarking on the GOLO diet is probably a good idea. Unsubstantiated claims make it necessary to review your own unique medical situation and discuss how the GOLO diet may affect you.

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