What is 30-30-30 Diet for Weight Loss?

What is 30-30-30 Diet for Weight Loss?
10.02.2024
  • A weight loss method known as the 30-30-30 approach has gone viral on TikTok.
  • The diet involves eating 30g of protein during the first 30 minutes of your day before completing 30 minutes of low intensity exercise.
  • Experts say exercising and increasing your protein intake in the morning may contribute to a calorie deficit and help you make healthier choices throughout the day.
  • However, the 30-30-30 approach won’t be right for everyone, and creating a more flexible and personalized weight loss plan may be better.

Another new diet is gaining popularity on social media. The 30-30-30 method has gone viral on TikTok, with many content creators claiming this approach has helped them lose weight sustainably.

Proponents claim that, unlike other diets that have garnered attention in the past, the 30-30-30 approach isn’t another fad; it’s a lifestyle change.

The 30-30-30 diet involves eating 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking up, and then completing 30 minutes of low intensity exercise.

This method first appeared in Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Body in 2010 but was recently popularized by nutritionist and wellness podcaster Gary Brecka.

So, is the 30-30-30 trend an effective approach to weight loss, or just another fad?

How the 30-30-30 diet can help you lose weight

Let’s start with the positives.

“The good news about the 30-30-30 regimen is that it’s relatively sensible in comparison to some of its predecessors and, undoubtedly, the trends that will follow it,” says Sophie Medlin, consultant dietitian at City Dietitians. “Having a high protein breakfast is a good idea as it is more satiating than some of our typical breakfast options.”

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In lay terms, that means you’ll feel fuller for longer.

Natalie Burrows, nutritional therapist and founder of Integral Wellness, agrees. She points to a 2014 study published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal. It found that people who ate 30g of protein at breakfast consumed fewer calories at lunch.

Burrows says stabilizing blood sugars for the first meal of the day – as you would by eating a high protein breakfast – is fundamental to your food choices throughout the day.

In addition, Burrows notes that protein has a thermogenesis effect. That means you use more energy to metabolize it than you would, breaking down carbohydrates and fat.

Combining both of these effects may mean you create a calorie deficit. That’s good news if you’re trying to lose weight.

What about movement? Burrows says there are many benefits to completing 30 minutes of low intensity exercise in the morning, and improved weight management is one of them.

As well as increasing your daily calorie expenditure, which can contribute to weight loss, Burrows says some low intensity exercises are beneficial for muscle mass and cardio fitness.

In turn, these support sustainable weight loss.

Shortcomings of the 30-30-30 diet plan

One potential drawback of the 30-30-30 approach is that it could clash with people’s busy routines.

“In my experience, most people’s morning routines involve school runs, rushing around, and generally just about managing to get out of the door on time,” says Medlin. “This means that for the vast majority of people, having 30 minutes in the morning to exercise, as well as the additional time to prepare and plan a high protein breakfast, is unsustainable.”

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Medlin says when a habit change is unsustainable, it’s usually a good sign that it’s a fad.

Another potential problem with the 30-30-30 trend? It doesn’t offer any guidance on how to eat or exercise during the rest of the day.

Medlin says it’s a sensible approach if you have enough time to commit to it in the mornings, but, she points out, that if you do the 30-30-30 regimen and then eat fast food for lunch and dinner and are sedentary for the rest of the day, you are likely won’t experience much weight loss.

“As always, weight loss is about energy balance and creating a deficit which this regimen may not result in,” she notes.

Add to that, we’re all different; not everyone can stomach a protein-heavy meal early in the day.

Medlin notes if you don’t consider yourself a morning person and typically don’t feel hungrier until later in the day, this might not be the best approach for you.

Likewise, Burrows isn’t sold on the 30-minute window.

“Due to their sleep-wake cycle, the majority of people are not in a position to consume food within 30 minutes as melatonin, the sleep hormone, is still present in the first 30-90 minutes of waking,” she explains.

She says eating too soon can result in feelings of nausea.

As for exercise, it’s important to remember that moving your body is valuable and important no matter what time of day you do it.

However, Medlin believes finding an exercise schedule that fits your lifestyle is more important than working out when you wake.

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Adjustments to the 30-30-30 diet that may work for you

Both experts recommend tweaks to this approach that may make it more sustainable.

“I would advocate having your breakfast after your exercise or half before and half after so that you can further regulate your appetite through the morning, as exercise can increase our appetite,” says Medlin.

Similarly, Burrows recommends relaxing the “eat within 30 minutes of waking” rule. Instead, she says you should aim to eat breakfast within the first two hours of your day.

Food quality matters, too.

“Get friendly with fiber and load your plate with vegetables to help you achieve your 30g a day of fiber,” says Burrows.

Takeaway Note

The 30-30-30 diet may be a more sensible and sustainable approach to weight loss than many other trends – but that doesn’t mean it will be effective for everyone.

Ultimately, Burrows says, “There is evidence to suggest that the 30-30-30 method will work, but what truly works for someone is a method that is achievable consistently over the long term.”

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