Launched in 2009 by a team of unnamed doctors and pharmacists, the GOLO diet plan focuses on eating 1,300—1,500 calories per day while taking a dietary supplement called "Release." The diet is said to increase metabolic function, address insulin resistance, and balance hormones.

However, most people use the GOLO diet plan to lose weight, and the company claims that adherents can expect to lose several pounds per week. GOLO also encourages its users to increase their exercise, prep healthy meals and create a regular sleep routine. But does it really work?

Approved Foods

The GOLO diet plan encourages users to eat nutrient-dense foods in addition to their proprietary supplement. It tells users to cut out processed and refined foods while simultaneously increasing fresh produce, lean meats, and whole grains. However, the GOLO diet boasts inclusion—adherents can go out to dinner with friends and eat the foods they love without restriction, as Release, its proprietary supplement, will prevent users' appetites from getting out of control.

The company claims that most of the weight loss success and health benefits from this diet plan come from Release.

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GOLO Diet Claims

The GOLO diet makes many claims as to its efficacy. The company claims that following its proposed meal plan while taking Release will result in weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. It also claims users will experience increased energy, reduced anxiety, better blood sugar levels, and improved metabolism. There is no scientific evidence to support these claims; however, experts agree that eating whole foods in a caloric deficit and increased exercise are the best way to jump-start weight loss.

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There are many potential benefits to the GOLO diet plan, but most are unrelated to Release. Better food choices and being in a caloric deficit—consuming fewer calories than you burn—and increased exercise lead to weight loss, even without the aid of supplements.

However, while experts agree that Release has little scientific evidence to support its efficacy, it is generally not harmful. If the GOLO diet plan and supplement encourage users to move more and increase their consumption of fresh produce, then it could be a beneficial placebo despite the monthly cost.

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There seem to be few risks to the GOLO diet plan. Increasing whole foods and fresh produce while cutting out processed and refined foods is a step in the right direction for everyone. The GOLO diet plan also encourages regular exercise, which has been shown to improve heart health, blood sugar levels, and mental health. The greatest risk comes from the recommended calorie count. Eating 1,300- 1,500 calories per day, especially if one is physically active, is very low for adults. This is the recommended caloric intake for toddlers, so it is not sustainable long term.

The company does recommend that people with diabetes check with their doctors before beginning GOLO. Since people with diabetes can often have liver or kidney damage, it is important to speak to a medical professional before increasing protein intake or adding supplements.

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Cost Of The Diet

The GOLO diet plan is more expensive than simply cutting out processed foods and buying more produce and whole foods. The diet hinges on users purchasing Release. One bottle of 90 Release tablets costs upwards of $60, and the company suggests taking one capsule with every meal, so this would be a one-month supply of the supplement.

Purchasing the supplement also gives users access to an online forum, meal plans, and recipes.

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The "Release" Supplement

The cornerstone of the GOLO diet is the supplement called Release. Release contains “seven natural, plant-based ingredients and three minerals,” magnesium, zinc, and chromium. All the ingredients in Release are recognized as safe to consume by the FDA. The GOLO company claims that Release boosts insulin resistance, increases energy, boosts metabolic function, and reduces hunger and cravings.

It is important to note that the FDA regulates supplements as foods and not drugs; therefore, the FDA does not test health benefits or efficacy, only safety.

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Scientific Research

There is little scientific evidence to back up the claims of the GOLO company in regards to its supplement, Release. There is plenty of scientific evidence to support their meal plans and recipes, as whole foods and fresh produce are the central tenets of healthy eating.

The plan also encourages exercise and non-restrictive eating, both of which are backed by research, though not restricting and keeping to fewer than 1,500 calories may be difficult. However, there are few studies that support the claims made by the company about Release.

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There are many alternatives to the GOLO diet plan that yield proven results for both weight loss and insulin resistance. In general, a caloric deficit and increased exercise lead to successful weight loss.

A balanced menu of protein-rich, lean meats and leafy vegetables free of unnecessary processing tends to stabilize blood sugar levels, even without the addition of supplements. This study also suggests that hearty breakfasts of low-glycemic-index foods yield the best results for blood sugar stabilization and weight loss.

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Pros and Cons of Supplements

Supplements can be a great way to fill nutritional gaps in your diet, especially for those who may not get enough nutrients from food alone. They can boost your health, improve physical performance, and even aid in managing certain health conditions.

However, they're not without drawbacks. Over-reliance on supplements can lead to nutrient imbalances, and they shouldn't be used as a substitute for a balanced diet. Plus, some supplements can interact with medications, so it's always best to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new regimen.

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Fad Diets In General

Fad diets like the GOLO diet tend to promise quick weight loss and may seem appealing, but they're typically not sustainable in the long run. They often involve restrictive eating patterns, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies and harm your metabolism, as well as exacerbate disordered eating.

Plus, the weight lost is often regained once the diet is stopped. Instead of jumping on board these quick fixes, it's better to adopt a balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise routine, which promote long-term health and weight management.

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