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GOLO Diet: Is It Effective for Weight Loss? (+ Pros, Cons & Sample Menu)

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GOLO Diet - Dr. Axe

The GOLO Diet is a popular plan that claims it can help you lose weight while enjoying your favorite foods, without the need to meticulously track calories or micronutrients.

For some, it’s hailed as the best weight loss plan that works by balancing hormone levels and keeping blood sugar stable. For others, it’s  considered confusing, unsustainable and overly restrictive.

So what is the GOLO Diet plan, and does it really work? Keep reading for more about how the plan works, plus some GOLO Diet reviews, GOLO Diet shopping list ideas and a comprehensive meal plan.

What Is the GOLO Diet?

As one of the most popular diets to emerge within the last few years, the GOLO Diet is a weight loss diet plan focused on regulating insulin levels to optimize weight loss. The GOLO Diet was developed by a team of nutritionists, doctors and pharmacists and designed as a diet for weight loss, fat-burning and increased metabolism.

The diet focuses on foods with a low glycemic index to prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar or insulin levels.

According to the creators of the diet, enjoying these blood sugar-stabilizing diet foods can ramp up fat-burning and kick-start weight loss. They also promise that you can eat up to 30 percent more food than on a regular diet by giving your metabolism a boost.

Like other plans that use diet supplements, the GOLO Diet also sells a product called GOLO Release, which contains several minerals and plant compounds that are thought to increase energy levels, fight cravings and keep blood sugar steady.

The plan also includes access to the “GOLO Rescue Plan,” which is a comprehensive guide that helps teach you how to make well-rounded meals that fit your personal metabolic rate. With your purchase, you also receive access to an online community as well as personal coaches, discounts, meal plans and more.

How Does It Work?

What is GOLO, and does it work?

Much like other diet programs, the GOLO Diet uses a combination of dietary modifications, lifestyle changes and supplements to promote weight loss.

It’s similar to the low-glycemic diet, which emphasizes eating foods that won’t spike blood sugar levels. Foods like fruits, veggies, proteins, healthy fats and whole grains are encouraged, while refined grains, sugar-sweetened beverages and processed ingredients are limited.

The diet is based on the idea that stabilizing blood sugar and insulin levels can come with several benefits when it comes to your waistline and your health. Not only has the low-glycemic diet been shown to amp up weight loss, but it’s also been linked to improved cholesterol levels, increased metabolism and enhanced fat-burning.

The GOLO Diet is based around a “Metabolic Fuel Matrix,” which includes four “fuel groups” that you should plan your meals around, including carbs, veggies, proteins and fats. With each meal, you should aim to include one to two servings of each fuel group, paying special attention to the serving sizes specified by the diet.

It also uses a concept called “fit points,” which is a special points system that allows you to eat more with additional exercise.

When starting the diet, many opt to do a more restrictive, weeklong variation of the plan, such as the “Reset 7” or “7 Day Kickstart.” These short-term diets are claimed to promote detoxification for dieters before starting on the standard version of the plan.

What’s on the Menu?

So what do you eat on the GOLO Diet?

There are plenty of options that you can enjoy as part of a balanced GOLO Diet meal plan. Here are a few of the top foods to eat and avoid as part of a GOLO Diet menu.

Foods to Eat

On the GOLO Diet, you can mix and match between the different fuel groups to create balanced meals. Ideally, you should aim to include one to two servings of each of the following fuel groups in your meals:

  • Protein: meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy
  • Fats: coconut oil, grass-fed butter, olive oil, ghee, nuts, seeds
  • Carbs: fruits (berries, apples, oranges, etc.), sweet potatoes, white potatoes, legumes, whole grains (quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, etc.)
  • Vegetables: leafy greens, cucumber, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes

Foods to Limit/Avoid

  • Processed foods: convenience meals, potato chips, pretzels, cookies, crackers, pre-packaged desserts, refined grains
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages: soda, fruit juice, sweet tea, sports drinks
  • Artificial sweeteners: aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, ace-K, etc.

If you decide to try the short-term variations of the diet, such as the “7 Day Kickstart” or the “Reset 7,” there are several other food groups to limit as well. Although these foods should be restricted during the first phase of the diet, they can be slowly reintroduced later when you transition to the regular GOLO Diet.

  • Red meat: high-fat cuts of beef, pork, lamb, veal, venison
  • Dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese, butter
  • Whole grains: rice, bread, buckwheat, barley, oats, quinoa, etc.

GOLO Release Supplement

If you’re just starting out on the diet plan, you may be wondering: What’s in GOLO release? And is GOLO release safe?

According to the GOLO website, GOLO Diet pills are unlike other prescription diet pills or metabolism pills because they are natural and plant-based. The supplement contains a blend of herbs and minerals thought to fight fatigue, promote metabolic health and support blood sugar control, including:

  • Banaba leaf extract
  • Rhodiola rosea
  • Zinc
  • Chromium
  • Salacia reticulata extract
  • Magnesium
  • Berberine
  • Gardenia jasminoides fruit extract
  • Apple fruit extract
  • Insolitol

Other ingredients found in the supplement include cellulose and dextrin, which are two types of fiber, along with citric acid, a common food preservative.

Unfortunately, research on the effectiveness of the supplement is lacking, and most available studies have been conducted by researchers receiving direct funding from the company. More quality studies from unbiased sources are needed to evaluate how much of an impact GOLO Release may have on weight loss and whether it’s safe for long-term use.

Can It Help You Lose Weight?

Does GOLO really work for weight loss?

While research on the effects of the GOLO Diet is limited, the diet is based on several solid principles for weight loss. In particular, the diet limits processed ingredients and sugary foods while encouraging the consumption of nutrient-dense, whole foods.

It also promotes regular exercise, which is an important component for any weight loss plan.

There are a few studies available on the effectiveness of the GOLO Diet, although it’s important to note they were all conducted and funded by the makers of the plan.

For example, one study of 54 people showed that pairing the diet with a lifestyle change plan and supplementation resulted in an average of 53.4 pounds of weight loss after 26 weeks. Another study showed that using the GOLO Release supplement and following the diet for 13 weeks caused significant weight loss and improved blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes.

However, more studies are needed to determine whether these results are caused by the GOLO Diet itself or whether they may be due to the combination of diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. Further research from unbiased sources us also needed to determine whether the GOLO Diet is any more effective than other weight loss programs that combine diet and behavioral modifications.

GOLO Diet Benefits

Although it’s unclear whether the GOLO Diet program has any advantage over other diet plans available, it may have several benefits that are important to consider.

For starters, the plan is based on several solid principles of weight loss and promotes filling your diet with healthy, whole foods while limiting sugary snacks, processed ingredients and artificial sweeteners. It also encourages regular exercise, which can support long-lasting weight loss and improve overall health.

Making these changes to your diet and lifestyle not only aids in weight control, but it may also improve blood sugar, heart health, energy levels and more. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in nutritious foods can also ensure that you meet your nutritional needs to protect against deficiencies and keep your appetite in check.

While the diet may not be necessary for those who are well-versed in health and wellness, it can be helpful for nutrition newbies looking for guidance to start planning out their meals. Membership also includes access to an online community and support from coaches, which could be beneficial for many as well.

Potential Downsides/Concerns

One of the biggest downsides of the GOLO Diet is the cost. In fact, following the plan can get pretty pricey in the long run.

How much does GOLO cost?

A three-month supply of the weight loss supplement along with access to the guidebook and online resources starts at $99. However, if you’re just looking to try it out for a month to see if it’s right for you, it will cost you a whopping $50.

The plan also includes many rules, regulations and points systems, which may be tricky and tedious for some dieters. Because of all the guidelines encompassed within the diet, many may also find it overly restrictive and confusing, making it hard to follow in the long run.

Additionally, while the GOLO Diet supplement does contain a mix of herbal extracts that may support blood sugar control and weight management, it also contains many minerals and micronutrients that can easily be obtained by simply following a healthy diet instead.

Furthermore, while the plan includes several important components of a healthy diet, there’s a lack of unbiased, peer-reviewed studies on the GOLO Diet itself. Future research is needed to determine whether the GOLO Diet is more effective than other weight loss plans out there.

GOLO Diet Reviews and Complaints

There are plenty of GOLO reviews available online, which range pretty widely. While some reviewers praise its effectiveness and report experiencing significant GOLO weight loss, others claim that the plan is expensive and ineffective, citing negative side effects linked to the supplements themselves as well.

Common complaints among GOLO Diet reviews include feeling jittery and fatigued. Some also say that the app used to track intake is not user-friendly and can be hard to navigate.

Meanwhile, another review of the GOLO Diet noted that it caused side effects like anxiety and a fast heartbeat, which could potentially be dangerous.

Sample Meal Plan

You can find many GOLO Diet recipes and meal plans directly on the company’s website. The online resources provided also include ideas for GOLO Diet snacks and menus, making it easy to plan out your week.

Need some inspiration to help you get started? Check out this sample three-day GOLO meal plan to see what a typical day on the GOLO Diet plan may look like:

Day One

  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs, broccoli sautéed with grass-fed butter and sliced apples
  • Lunch: almond-crusted salmon with brown rice and roasted asparagus
  • Dinner: grilled chicken with sweet potato wedges and side salad with GOLO dressing

Day Two

  • Breakfast: hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes with olive oil and mixed berries
  • Lunch: beef stir-fry with toasted cashews, mixed vegetables and quinoa
  • Dinner: turkey stuffed bell peppers with sprouted brown rice and handful of pistachios

Day Three

  • Breakfast: veggie omelet with almonds and orange wedges
  • Lunch: baked grouper with walnuts, herbed chickpeas and sautéed kale
  • Dinner: roasted chicken, steamed cauliflower drizzled with olive oil and fruit salad

Alternative Diets

There are several other diets that rely on the same principles as the GOLO Diet. The Metabolic Diet, for example, is aimed at increasing your body’s metabolism to increase weight loss naturally.

Meanwhile, the Insulin Resistance Diet swaps out processed and refined ingredients in favor of whole foods to maximize insulin sensitivity. Other diets like the Atkins or South Beach also limit carb consumption to enhance weight loss and stabilize blood sugar.

However, although many search for the best diabetic diet, the best diet pills or the best diet to lose belly fat, you don’t necessarily need to follow an expensive fad diet or purchase pricey products to achieve the results you’re looking for. Instead, including a variety of healthy whole foods in your diet, limiting your consumption of processed foods and getting regular exercise in your routine are all it takes to attain better health.

Precautions

It’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any diet, especially if you have any underlying health issues or take any medications. This is crucial because the diet incorporates exercise and a weight loss supplement, both of which are important considerations if you have any other health conditions.

There is also limited evidence on the safety of the GOLO Diet for children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. For this reason, it’s best to focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet to provide your body with the nutrients it needs and avoid taking GOLO Release unless cleared by your doctor.

Final Thoughts

  • The GOLO Diet is an eating plan designed to stabilize insulin and blood sugar levels to increase metabolism and enhance weight loss. It uses a combination of diet and exercise, along with a supplement that contains a mix of several herbal extracts and minerals.
  • With the plan, you eat one to two servings of carbs, veggies, fats and protein foods per meal and limit consumption of processed foods.
  • Does the GOLO Diet work? Most research on the GOLO Diet specifically has been conducted by researchers receiving funding from the makers of the diet.
  • However, the diet emphasizes many healthy foods and encourages exercise, so  it could potentially work for weight loss.
  • On the other hand, the plan is also somewhat restrictive, confusing and expensive, making it difficult to follow in the long run.
  • There are also a range of GOLO Diet reviews out there. While some have experienced positive results, others claim the plan is ineffective, expensive and difficult to follow.
  • Fortunately, you can achieve better blood sugar levels, increased weight loss and improved overall health by simply following a healthy diet rich in whole foods and getting plenty of physical activity.

Read Next: Low-Fiber Diet Pros & Cons + How to Follow It


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