The Paleo and Whole30 Diets Are Actually the Worst Popular Diets


Look, if all you eat is bacon dipped in tubs of garlic butter, you're gonna love life. But your life won't be long. That's why you can't do that. With the head-spinning number of diets out there, however, it's hard to know what diet is really best. Fad diets periodically pop up -- remember how hot Atkins was 10 years ago? -- and right now, Paleo and Whole30 are as hot as any.

Except they're both total crap.

US News and World Report analyzed 38 popular diets using a panel of health experts, weighing a diet's effectiveness based on short-term and long-term weight loss; easy of following the diet; how well it fit current nutrition standards; health risks it may pose; and its ability to combat diabetes and as a heart disease. Of the 38 diets included in the "Best Diets Overall" ranking, the Whole30 Diet came in dead last, while the going Paleo tied for second-to-last with the Dukan Diet. That's the one where you eat nothing but Ryu's fireballs for a month (it's not).

If you're unfamiliar with Whole30, well, it basically puts you on a cleanse for a month, with no cheat days, and eliminates sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, processed foods, cheating substitutes (think vegan cookies), and basically anything you enjoy. Paleo, meanwhile, has many similar guidelines, eschewing dairy and carbohydrates of all sorts and focusing meats and vegetables. It's also the diet of choice for Crossfitters, the workout fiends who love talking about how they eat nothing but steak and greens while they show you blisters they developed while doing 70 kip-ups in a row.

Now, nothing wrong with being on a diet and being in shape. Let's take a joke, people. But per the criteria, these diets proved ineffective and difficult for many people. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the DASH diet ranked no. 1, the MIND diet ranked no. 2, and the TLC diet ranked no. 3. Note to aspiring diet-book authors:

1. Develop diet
2. Give diet all-caps acronym name
3. ????
4. PROFIT!!!

Anyway, you can read the whole ranking over at US News & World Report, along with other diet rankings, such as the best weight-loss diets and the best heart-healthy diets. Notably absent: the butter-dipped bacon diet.

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Ryan Craggs is Thrillist's Senior News Editor. He's on the seafood diet. He sees food, and he eats it. Follow him @ryanrcraggs.