The Wild Diet Review – 80 Twenty Nutrition

The Wild Diet Review

If you’re looking for a diet plan to help you get healthy, join the club. Chances are you’ve read descriptions of countless theories on weight loss and fat burning – many of which contradict each other. This confusion is the basis for an ABC reality show – My Diet Is Better Than Yours, which pits diets against each other to see which eating plan can help contestants lose the most weight and body fat in 14 weeks. The Wild Diet was made popular by the show, since the contestant following it came in second place, losing about 25% of his body weight throughout the series. But is it a diet you should try? Here’s my take on the Wild Diet.

–> Click here to pin this image to save for later!

What is the Wild Diet?

The Wild Diet is an eating plan developed by blogger, author, and podcaster Abel James. The diet focuses on eating real, whole, unprocessed food with a emphasis on vegetables, meats, wild game, and fats. It cuts out processed and packaged food, grains, and refined sugars, focusing on the quality and source of foods just as much as the ingredients list. The diet plan also addresses eating habits, rather than just providing a list of foods to eat – paying attention to hunger and fullness cues and enjoying food with friends and family are both encouraged.

image: Pixabay

Is the Wild Diet different from the Paleo Diet?

When you look at the list of foods encouraged and banned, the Wild Diet and paleo diet are fairly similar, although the Wild Diet doesn’t ban dairy products. They both emphasize vegetables, high quality meats, and unrefined fats like coconut oil or butter as main dietary components. James claims that the Wild Diet is superior to the paleo diet because it makes food quality a main focus and encourages at least half your plate to be plant-based, rather than the meat-heavy meals often found on the “popular paleo” diet.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”hGArl” via=”yes” ]#WildDiet vs #paleo – what’s the difference? Find out on #80twentynutrition: @80twentyrule[/ctt]

How do you follow the Wild Diet?

For the full story, you’ll have to purchase James’ book or buy into his 30-day program, but here are some basic steps to “eating Wild”:

  • Don’t count calories; focus on the ingredients list instead and make sure all the ingredients are real food
  • Avoid sugar, grains, and processed “diet” food.
  • Eat high quality fat like grass-fed butter, unrefined coconut oil, pasture-raised bacon and steak, and free-range eggs.
  • Eat wild seafood, pastured animals, and wild game.
  • Buy local, organic, and non-GMO when possible. Get to know your farmers and producers and form relationships with where your food comes from.
  • Eat when you’re hungry, don’t eat when you’re not – it’s okay to skip meals if you’re not hungry.
  • When you make a plate, fill it up in this order: non-starchy vegetables, protein, fat, everything else; make at least half of your plate plant-based.
  • Make room for indulgences like dark chocolate that are grain free and low in sugar

image: Pixabay

Does the Wild Diet work for weight loss?

Let’s start with the great aspects of the Wild diet. If you need some structure in order to cut out “empty calories” from sugary drinks, refined carbs, and processed junk food, then having a definitive list of “do’s” and “dont’s” at your fingertips can be helpful. Switching from a diet full of junk food and refined grains to one full of nutrient-dense, real food is always a good move for weight loss.

One of the biggest perks to the Wild Diet is the advice to fill at least half your plate with produce. That means you’ll be getting in plenty of filling fiber, vitamins, minerals, and lots of satisfying volume without tacking on unnecessary calories. Another sound piece of advice from the Wild Diet is the notion of intuitive eating, where you pay attention to your hunger and satiety cues rather than counting calories. Eating intuitively leaves you with a more sustainable eating plan and has been correlated with lower body weight and cardiovascular risk.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”t8jNp” via=”yes” ]The #WildDiet focuses on intuitive eating & quality of food – but does it work for weight loss? @80twentyrule[/ctt]

While there is no research looking specifically at the Wild Diet’s effectiveness, there’s a bit of research suggesting that the paleo diet was more effective for weight loss than the Nordic diet, which focuses on produce, whole grains, lean meats, fish, and low-fat dairy.

image: Pixabay

All in all, you’ll likely see weight loss any time you back on processed foods and eat more nutrient-rich foods, though the Wild Diet cuts out food groups like legumes and whole grains that we know are nutritious! Both legumes and whole grains are “slow carbs” that are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

The Wild Diet claims you’ll be eating like your grandmother, since our grandmothers knew that eating “carbohydrates like grains, starches and sugar makes us fat.” I don’t know about you, but my grandmother wouldn’t swear off whole grains – and if you’re in the paleo mindset, there’s no evidence that cavemen did either. The Wild Diet guidelines talk a lot about how bad for us refined grains and sugars are, but not so much about whole grains or legumes – despite them being cut from the diet. Perhaps that’s because there’s plenty of evidence showing us that they’re healthy? I can get behind cutting out processed foods, but cutting out entire food groups that are good for you just becomes a restrictive diet that can set you up for failure.

Should you try the Wild Diet?

I like several aspects of the Wild Diet, and they fall in line with what I work on with my counseling clients – cutting down on processed foods and focusing on real, whole foods, upping vegetable intake, shopping local and sustainable, eating mindfully and taking time to enjoy the process of eating, and making room for indulgences. These guidelines set you up for a sustainable healthy eating plan, rather than a fad diet that you’re likely to quickly spiral out of.

However, the Wild Diet falls short in a few places – namely cutting out healthy food groups like whole grains and legumes. If you’re set on buying into a diet program, the Wild Diet at least guides you towards mindful eating and emphasizes high quality foods. If you want to save the cash and steer clear of gimmicky promises, though, stick to a less-restrictive eating plan that doesn’t cut out healthy foods unnecessarily.


Have you heard of or tried the Wild Diet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Did You Make this Recipe?

Tag @80twentyrule on Instagram and hashtag it #80twentyrule

Share Your Thoughts!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Paul Silvester says:

    Call me old fashioned but when I need to lose some weight, I just cut back on the calories I’m consuming in my food and drink. After a stressful start to the year, I weighed 167 pounds on May 1. When I weighed myself on Sunday July 23 I was down to 152 pounds. I didn’t use any of the myriad diets that are so prevalent these days. To me it was quite simple. Eat less, lose weight. So, how did I go about eating less?

    The first thing I did was cut down on when I could eat. I tried to eat within a 10 or 11 hour window. If I had breakfast at 8 am, I tried to be finished eating by 6 or 7 pm. Of course it doesn’t always work out neatly but I tried to stick to those timelines and most of the times I succeeded.

    I did try and cut out empty calories, food that had no nutritional value apart from calories. Once again, most of the time I was successful but occasionally I allowed myself some ‘junk food’. But only as a treat, not a meal.

    The other thing I did was change my perspective of what food is. Food is one of the three things the body needs to survive, the other two being oxygen and water. I found that if I considered food to be just an element of survival, it didn’t seem to have as great a hold on me. These days we are bombarded by advertising exhorting us to eat, though why it is necessary to advertise food is beyond me. Do the producers think we’ve forgotten about eating? Also, it seems that all social occasions have to be accompanied by huge amounts of food. This may have been of no great consequence hundreds of years ago when most people did manual labour and the number of these social gatherings was probably a lot fewer than we experience today.

    I know the current thinking on weight gain is not to blame the individual. It’s the food industry or genetics or something else. Maybe I’m lucky and can lose weight easily but I find it hard to accept that taking in fewer calories than we need will not lead to weight loss. My diet book has four words: Eat less, move more.

    1. Hi Paul, thanks so much for sharing your weight loss success. It sounds like you have the best approach out there: small changes that are realistic and sustainable over time. We have grown so disconnected from our hunger cues and what “healthy” eating looks like that for many people, it’s hard not to be sucked in by the latest fad diet. Your way is the better way… and I hope you can help more people find it!