THE GOLO DIET: ANOTHER OVER-HYPED WEIGHT LOSS PLAN

According to its promoters, as constantly bombarded on TV, on the Golo plan you’ll reduce your caloric intake through a standard diet combined with a supplement that is purchased from the producer. The Golo diet, also known as the Golo Metabolic Plan, was launched in 2009. According to the diet’s official website, it was developed by a “team of dedicated doctors and pharmacists,” but it’s unclear exactly who they were. To follow Golo, you eat “1,300 to 1,500 nutritionally dense calories” per day, and take a dietary supplement called Release. The goal, according to the website, is to “maintain lean body mass, reduce risk of disease, and look and feel better.”

The plan hinges on the idea of regaining control of your “metabolic health,” which includes making your metabolism “more efficient,” and addresses insulin resistance (insulin is a hormone that plays a role in fat storage, and insulin resistance is a hallmark of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes). Insulin resistance appears to be the most important target of the Golo program. The company states that this dietary supplement stops weight gain by reversing insulin resistance, thus allowing your body to “release stored fat.” Golo makes some really big medical claims, including that its customers have reported being cured of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, and, in addition, have lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol.

PROS OF THE GOLO DIET

One positive aspect of Golo is that you are encouraged to eat healthy foods, exactly those that have been recommended by all knowledgeable authorities. The plan consists of whole-foods, prioritizing fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, and whole grains over refined grains, This plan, combined with regular exercise, is a way to promote a lower weight and positive health outcomes. With this focus on whole foods, there’s also less reliance on unhealthy processed foods..

CONS OF THE GOLO PROGRAM

This program relies on a supplement called Release. According to the company, it is made of seven natural plant-based ingredients and three minerals:

  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Chromium
  • Banaba leaf extract
  • Rhodiola rosea
  • Berberine extract
  • Salacia extract
  • Gardenia extract
  • Inositol
  • Apple extract

Of the list above, Berberine may help to combat Type 2 Diabetes, and it is touted as a supplement that appears to prevent insulin levels from rising. Some evidence shows that banaba leaf extract may also lower blood glucose (sugar) levels in people with diabetes. Rhodiola rosea is a flowering plant that may affect cells that store fat, particularly in the midsection, per a study in the May 2015 issue of Molecules. Still, this preliminary study provides no solid evidence that this supplement — or any other supplement with these listed ingredients — are very effective. In fact, there has never been a supplement that materially and meaningfully boosts your weight loss or belly fat for any sustainable or long-term period. Moreover, there are potential safety issues with the Release supplement, which may be included with many such products that are insufficiently studied for potential toxicity.

By contrast, Metformin (GlucophageR etc) is a prescribed drug commonly used to control blood sugar in type 2 diabetics, and this drug possesses similar, but scientifically validated, qualities claimed for Releae, i.e. reduction of insulin resistance. Metformin has a long, well studied history of efficacy, and it possesses a good safety profile. In comparison with Release, whose potential toxicity is not well known, metformin would provide a better choice for type 2 diabetics. In all cases, however, anyone that is diabetic should consult first with his/her personal physician before going on a Golo plan, for it can be potentially dangerous to start a diet that claims to impact insulin levels without medical supervision.

GOLO DIET “REVIEWS”

It’s entirely possible you will lose weight on the Golo diet. But experts attribute that more to the calorie restriction than to the Release supplement, which seems to effect insulin resistance to some degree. Moreover, there is no convincing evidence that reducing insulin resistance per se will reduce belly fat. When reducing calories, most people will lose weight that includes belly fat.

It’s easy to find a number of rave reviews on the Golo website, with people displaying their “before” and “after” bodies. But such anecdotal evidence is basically useless.

PRICING FOR THE GOLO DIET

To start the diet, one will order the Release supplement. Along with the supplement, you will receive the Golo for Life plan (a guidebook) and free support (meal plans, coach support, exclusive products), which the company says is a $199 value.

How much Release you purchase appears to be tied to how much weight you’d like to lose. This is what’s currently listed on their website:

  • 30- to 60-day supply of Release, to lose 10–20 pounds (lb): $49.95
  • 60- to 90-day supply of Release, to lose 21–40 lb: $79.90
  • 90- to 150-day supply of Release, to lose 41–60 lb: $99.90

CONCLUSIONS

The Golo diet is a calorie-restricted and basically nutritious diet, which is likely why anyone can lose weight on it. The money you spend is for the Release supplement, a formula containing herbs and minerals, which is designed ostensibly to help you control your blood sugar and belly fat(?). But this agent, while increasing company’s profits, is not supported by any evidence that calorie reduction combined with exercise can, by themselves, achieve the same results in the long run. For control of blood sugar, standard prescription drugs are a time-honored and preferred effective choice.

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