The GOLO Diet was the most searched diet on Google in 2016. Even if millions of people have been seeking out information on it, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a diet worth trying. The GOLO Diet claims to optimize insulin levels to fight insulin resistance and help you lose weight fast – but does it work? Here’s my GOLO Diet review, and a closer look at the Release supplement they sell.
What is The GOLO Diet?
The GOLO Diet was coined by Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist who specializes in addressing depression and anxiety and testifying as a witness in legal cases involving psychiatric issues. So what kind of nutrition education does he have? Like many doctors who write diet books or create diet plans, next to none.
GOLO is marketed as a diet that “optimizes and controls insulin” to help you lose weight – but you won’t get too much more info on the diet itself until you part with your hard-earned money. Here’s what we do know about the GOLO Diet:
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The GOLO Diet seems to consist of three main parts: taking the “Release” supplement, following the “Metabolic Fuel Matrix” eating plan, and using the “GOLO Roadmap”, which coaches you through your weight loss. The Roadmap includes a one-year MyGOLO.com membership to provide you with recipes, shopping lists, meal plans, workout suggestions and online support from staff and other dieters.
As far as I can tell, GOLO doesn’t rule out any foods or mandate that you eat weird food combinations to lose weight (like the Military Diet does). According to the GOLO Diet website, it focuses on “fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats – and of course fresh breads, pasta, and butter.” That sounds like a decent plan to me, but you won’t get the specific guidelines on portion sizes, recipes, etc. until you buy their Release supplement.
GOLO Release Pills – What’s In Them?
As for the Release supplement? The GOLO website doesn’t list all of the ingredients or supplement facts, but here’s what I could dig up about what’s in Release:
- Magnesium – 30 mg
- Zinc – 5 mg
- Chromium – 70 mg
- Proprietary Blend – 405 mg
- Banaba Extract: an extract from the leaves of the crepe myrtle tree, which is native to southeast Asia. Banaba is traditionally used to lower blood sugar.
- Inositol: a vitamin-like substance holistically used for restoring insulin sensitivity
- Rhodiola Extract: an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine as an anti-fatigue agent
- Berberine HCl: an extract from plants used in traditional Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic agent
- Gardenia Extract: an extract from the fruit of the gardenia plant, holistically used to treat insulin resistance
- Salacia Extract: an herb native to India and Sri Lanka, traditionally used to treat diabetes
- Apple Extract: holistically used as an antioxidant agent for skin health
- Traces of other natural ingredients
When you buy into GOLO, you pay for either a 30, 60, or 90 day supply of Release (which costs $50-$100) and get the meal plan along with it (which is branded, but seems to just be an outline of a healthy diet).
So to me, it looks like they’re encouraging you to eat a healthy diet but want you to buy the program to reap the benefits of Release, which raises the questions: Does Release work? And does the combination of the GOLO Diet and the Release supplement work to manage insulin resistance and promote weight loss?
GOLO Release Pills Review
The GOLO website says that, “The purpose and function of the Release supplement is to provide powerful metabolic support, while your body is in the process of healing metabolic dysfunction, and help you feel better during that time.” GOLO claims that the ingredients in Release are backed by numerous studies supporting their efficacy, but no links to these studies are provided.
There’s some evidence that the minimal amount of zinc in Release could benefit blood glucose control, but there’s also research saying that both zinc and chromium have no effect on blood glucose levels.
What GOLO claims really has the big benefits in its Release pills is the Proprietary Blend, a mix of seven plant-based ingredients. Of these ingredients, there’s some evidence that Salacia, Berberine, and Banaba Leaf extracts help lower blood glucose – but since we don’t know how much of each is in the blend, it’s impossible to gauge the dosage of each in Release.
As a whole, Release hasn’t been proven effective, except in studies funded and released by GOLO. Red flag!
[bctt tweet=”Release pills have only been studied by #GOLO & not published in peer-reviewed journals. #redflag ” username=”80twentyrule”]
What is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance is a health concern for many people, especially those who are obese. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body absorb glucose – when glucose is in your bloodstream, insulin essentially acts like a key, opening doors in the cells throughout your body to allow the glucose to be absorbed and used for energy.
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When you eat, the glucose broken down from food is released into your bloodstream and your blood glucose levels rise, triggering the release of insulin to help get the glucose out of your bloodstream and into your muscles for use or liver and fat cells for storage. In a healthy person, this system helps keep blood glucose and insulin levels in a normal range.
Excess weight, lack of physical activity, and chronic inflammation are major contributors to insulin resistance, which occurs when cells don’t respond properly to insulin and therefore can’t easily absorb glucose from the bloodstream.
At that point, your body basically calls for backup and releases more insulin to help get the glucose out of your bloodstream. Over time, if your cells continue to respond improperly and require lots of insulin in order to receive glucose, your body can fail to keep up with that increased need for insulin and diabetes can occur.
From there, the cycle continues – insulin resistance can further cause obesity and high blood sugar. The good news is that insulin resistance is reversible – as you exercise more (to use up extra glucose as fuel) and lose weight, your cells can become more sensitive to insulin and your blood sugar and insulin levels can fall back into normal ranges. The GOLO Diet claims to reverse insulin resistance in order to break the cycle and help you lose weight.
Does The GOLO Diet Work?
According to GOLO, “The GOLO Release supplement and Metabolic Fuel Matrix help control glucose spikes so that insulin is kept in the insulin optimization zone to help you stop storing fat, maximize fat utilization, and maintain energy levels throughout the day.”
The plan seems to emphasize choosing foods low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) basically measures how much a certain food raises your blood sugar. Foods that raise your blood sugar drastically (think white bread, soda, foods high in simple sugar) clearly aren’t great for insulin resistance, while foods that don’t drastically raise your blood sugar (think beans and lentils, high fiber grains, vegetables, etc.) don’t wreak havoc on your insulin signaling.
I like to think of the low GI foods as “slow carbs” because they provide slow and steady energy. Pair them with lean proteins and heart healthy fats and you have a meal that’s fantastic for overall health and weight loss.
All in all, following a diet that doesn’t throw your blood sugar out of whack is a win in my book, so GOLO gets a thumbs up from me in that respect. You can follow a lower glycemic index diet like this without joining GOLO… and there’s no need to pay for unnecessary supplements. If you’re interested in a low GI meal plan, I’d love to help you.
Does The GOLO Diet Work for Weight Loss?
But here’s the catch: those studies were funded, carried out, and published by GOLO – not in a peer-reviewed research journal – so the results remain questionable. With what little is public about the “diet” part of the program (aka the Metabolic Fuel Matrix), it seems it’s on the right track with setting a healthy and achievable goal of 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week.
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If you were to buy into the GOLO Diet, my guess is that you’d probably lose some weight. Maybe not as fast as other fad diets would advertise, but you’d also be eating real food, be encouraged to exercise, and have support from other people trying to lose weight – all key elements to set you up for sustainable healthy lifestyle changes.
GOLO Diet Review: The Final Word
The GOLO Diet seems to provide guidelines for a healthy diet that incorporates protein, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in a way that manages blood sugar, which is a great way to go about weight loss. Aiming to lose 1-2 pounds per week is definitely a sustainable goal, so I’m a fan of that as well.
The main hang-up I have with the GOLO diet is with the supplement, which is pricey and not well-researched. If you’re looking for a healthy diet plan to help with insulin resistance and weight loss, I’d stick to one that isn’t so gimmicky (or costly) and doesn’t rely on bold supplement claims to prove its success.
Have you or someone you know tried the GOLO Diet? I’d love to hear what you thought.