There are many diets on the market, and one of the newest—the GOLO diet—is gaining traction. But what exactly is the GOLO diet, and does it work the way it claims? Here’s an overview of the GOLO diet, including a rundown of the meal plan, price and commitment it requires.
FEATURED PARTNER OFFER
Partner Offers feature brands who paid Forbes Health to appear at the top of our list. While this may influence where their products or services appear on our site, it in no way affects our ratings, which are based on thorough research, solid methodologies and expert advice. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services
Enjoy a 14-day free trial at sign up
Noom Sustainable Weight Loss Program
- Prioritizes a balanced relationship with food
- Uses a quiz to create a custom plan and estimated timeline
- Weight, food and exercise logging tool to manage your health
- $70/mo or $209/year with alternate options available
- Over 45 million downloads and 45k+ 5-star reviews
On Noom's Website
What Is the GOLO Diet Plan?
Unlike other diets, such as the keto dietorMediterranean diet,the GOLO diet isn’t so much a way of eating as it is a specific diet plan. While there is some flexibility in what you can eat on the GOLO diet, the plan requires a specific supplement from GOLO, LLC, the company that created the diet in 2009.
The theory behind this diet is to achieve weight loss by speeding up your metabolism by reducing insulin resistance—which causes an increase of blood sugar—in order to prevent health conditions related to weight gain.
As for the creators, the company’s website says the team consists of “dedicated doctors, pharmacists and researchers.” However, the only specific individuals listed include the CEO and president, both of which have sales and marketing backgrounds and are not doctors or registered dietitian nutritionists themselves. In fact, the website doesn’t identify any specific healthcare personnel.
“The GOLO diet is an approach to weight loss designed to be used short-term,” says certified functional medicine practitioner Vikki Petersen, who’s also a certified clinical nutritionist and founder and executive director of Root Cause Medical Clinic, which has clinics based in California and Florida. “Its goal is to manage your insulin levels, thereby normalizing your metabolism and hormones.” Programs range from 30 to 90 days.
The website offers limited information about the specifics of the GOLO diet. Instead, you must purchase their supplement, Release, in order to access materials they refer to as the “Metabolic Plan.” As Petersen notes, the aim of the GOLO diet is to address and lower increased blood sugar levels that are caused by insulin resistance, which is associated with the eventual development of cardiovascular disease. By addressing insulin resistance—in part with the supplement—GOLO claims to speed up your metabolism, resulting in fat loss.
How Does the GOLO Diet Work?
GOLO says on their plan, you actually “stop dieting.” Instead, you simply take Release, which the company claims helps regulate insulin, prodding your body to lose weight without calorie counting or restrictive eating. There are a few recommended foods—and some discouraged foods—which is common for many diets.
While the website does list studies confirming the safety of Release and efficacy of the GOLO diet for weight loss, it’s worth noting that both pilot studies and those published are funded or sponsored by GOLO in some way and the subject pools were very small.
People on the GOLO diet receive booklets outlining the metabolic program, which recommends consuming 1,300 to 1,800 calories a day across three meals (and each meal is followed by a Release capsule). While everyone has the same food guidelines, your specific caloric intake recommendation is based on your gender, age, current weight and activity level. GOLO also provides eating guidelines, encouraging you to eat more whole foods (including fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs and grains) while avoiding sugar and processed foods. It reassures you can eat out while on the plan as well. A minimum of 15 minutes of exercise a day is also encouraged.
Before starting a diet plan, special considerations should be made if you have pre-existing conditions.
“Important considerations include kidney function—you don’t want to do too high protein if kidney function is impaired,” saysMelina B. Jampolis, M.D., who maintains a small private nutrition practice in Los Angeles and is a Forbes Health Advisory Board member. “And if you are taking insulin or an oral medication for diabetes, it may need to be adjusted as you are losing weight or if you are making major changes to your diet to avoid your blood sugar dropping too low.”
What Is the GOLO Diet Supplement?
You can’t discuss the GOLO diet without highlighting Release, the diet’s official supplement. The first thing to note is while the supplement was made in a laboratory regulated by the FDA, the agency cannot regulate dietary supplements and therefore cannot prove the safety or efficacy of their claims. The supplement itself claims to promote healthy weight loss by increasing your metabolism and balancing insulin levels, while providing added benefits such as improved energy, reduced hunger and reduced stress and anxiety.
Release contains “seven natural, plant-based ingredients and three minerals,” including:
- Rhodiola extract
- Berberine extract
- Gardenia extract
- Banaba extract
- Salacia extract
- Apple extract
These ingredients are generally recognized as safe by the FDA.
Petersen says the amounts of many of the minerals and ingredients in Release aren’t large enough to do much in the way of reversing mineral deficiency or adding impact. She specifically notes apple extract, which includes fiber, is the last ingredient in the proprietary blend ingredient list, indicating a smaller concentration of it in the supplement. “Maintaining optimal levels of these minerals is a good idea, but there is nothing particularly special or weight loss-stimulating in the formula,” she adds.
Just because these ingredients are generally recognized as safe doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise caution when taking the supplement. Especially if you have a pre-existing condition such as diabetes that you take medication to treat.
“For supplements in general, people should not assume that just because a supplement is natural that it is safe for everyone and won’t interact with other medications or cause side effects,” explains Dr. Jampolis. “They should talk to their pharmacist or [or physician] to make sure that what they are taking is safe for them.”
Analyze Your Glucose Levels in Real-Time with Nutrisense
Get invaluable data about your blood sugar response to food, exercise, and sleep in real-time with a Nutrisense Continuous Glucose Monitor
(Note: Product details and pricing are accurate as of the publication date and are subject to change.)
Foods to Eat on the GOLO Diet
Petersen breaks down the foods emphasized on the GOLO diet, which can be found in a booklet you receive for free when you first purchase Release:
- Animal protein:beef, chicken, pork, eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt
- Seafood:fresh or frozen
- Healthy fats:coconut oil, olive oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds
- Whole grains:brown rice and quinoa
- Legumes:pinto, black and garbanzo beans
- Other vegetables:potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash
- Fresh fruit:especially berries
- Green vegetables:asparagus, broccoli, kale and zucchini
- Nuts:almonds, walnuts and cashews
The encouraged foods consist of whole, unprocessed foods, and Petersen adds that the list is fairly encompassing of most general food groups. However, she has some issues with a few of GOLO’s recommendations, like how it emphasizes animal protein, yet doesn’t provide recommendations on the type and quality of that protein. Petersen also notes there aren’t any specifics on food quality emphasized in other categories, including seafood, which can sometimes contain high levels of mercury and be harmful for young kids, women who plan on becoming pregnant, are pregnant or who are breastfeeding, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Foods to Avoid on the GOLO Diet Plan
Foods discouraged on the GOLO diet include:
- Added sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Sweet baked goods and sweetened beverages
- Processed foods, such as sausages, lunch meats and plant-based meat substitutes
- Refined foods
- White bread
Overall, this list is inclusive of foods linked to poor health andinflammation. It’s worth noting that these foods are simply discouraged, as the GOLO diet emphasizes that they don’t restrict foods. However, even when discussing eating out, GOLO notes you should follow its guidelines so you don’t “sabotage your efforts.”
Indeed, Dr. Jampolis notes that added sugars can actually lead to insulin-resistance, which is, of course, a main theory behind the GOLO diet and its supplement. She notes that some of the top sources of added sugars include beverages—such as soft drinks and flavored juices—packaged snacks, breakfast cereals, sweetened fruit yogurt and dairy products.
How Much Does the GOLO Diet Cost?
The GOLO diet plan itself is “free;” however, you must purchase the Release supplement in order to access the details of the eating plan.
One bottle of 90 Release capsules costs $49.95, and GOLO encourages users to take one capsule with each meal. Therefore, one bottle lasts about four weeks. You can get a discount if you buy multiple bottles at once.
Health Benefits of the GOLO Diet
The ingredients in the Release supplement are considered safe by the FDA—and following the “Metabolic Plan” may help establish sustaining healthy habits for individuals after they stop taking Release. However, as with any diet, an individual’s results and benefits will vary from person to person.
“Certainly emphasizing whole foods and healthy fats and encouraging exercise are all well-established healthy lifestyle elements,” notes Petersen.
Explore Our Featured Diet Partners
|Get the #1 doctor-recommended weight loss plan||JOIN NOW||On WeightWatcher's Website||https://weightwatchers.pxf.io/c/1955282/1532020/16605" rel="nofollow"|
|Take a psychology-based approach to sustainable weight loss||TAKE YOUR QUIZ||On Noom's Website||https://noom.8utb.net/c/1955282/1685551/8591?sharedid=diets" rel="nofollow"|
|Dietitian-designed meals||GET STARTED||On Factor's Website||https://greenwebbs.com/?a=630&c=14686&s1=" rel="nofollow"|
|Weight loss meal delivery program||FIND YOUR PLAN||On Nutrisystem's Website||https://greenwebbs.com/?a=630&c=12588&s1=" rel="nofollow"|
(Note: Product details and price are accurate as of the publication date.)
Potential Risks of the GOLO Diet
There are no true risks with the GOLO diet (aside from some risks for people with diabetes). However, as with any diet, individuals should talk to their doctors before they begin. The biggest problem with the GOLO diet is the lack of concrete evidence of its efficacy—all relevant studies are funded by GOLO—so weight loss claims of 1 to 2 pounds a week are unverified. Still, weight loss at this rate is safer than diets that promise rapid and massive weight loss.
“Most health websites include a statement that the product/website is ‘not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease,’” explains Petersen. “The GOLO site includes this statement, but it also claims to ‘heal metabolic dysfunction,’ which could be misleading.”
Additionally, due to lack of research, there’s no indication as to how long weight loss results (if any) will last. GOLO notes that most people take Release for about three to six months, and it’s unknown whether any weight loss is sustained beyond that time period.
“Generally, reducing calories overall—the program decreases the average man’s intake by 700 calories and a woman’s by 500 calories—eliminating ‘empty calories’ associated with sweets and baked goods and increasing your exercise will likely create weight loss for many who try it,” says Petersen. “But whether it will be stable and long-lasting is another question, and there is no research on this particular program to provide that data.”
In terms of ending the diet, GOLO’s website states that since Release is safe for long-term use, “you can take it as long as you want or phase out as your metabolism improves and you reach your goal weight. Some people choose to continue at a lower dosage once they reach their goal.”
Is the GOLO Diet Right for You?
As with any diet, you should consult your physician or nutritionist to determine if the GOLO diet is a fit for your current health and wellness goals. While the diet recommendations and ingredients in Release are generally safe, there’s no concrete evidence that the GOLO diet is a more effective diet for weight loss than other diets.
Eat Smarter With Noom
Powered by technology, coaches and psychology, Noom teaches you tips and tricks to develop a positive relationship with food, so you can enjoy the foods you love without guilt or shame.
On Noom's Website
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Where can you buy GOLO Release pills?
The GOLO Release supplement can be purchased on GOLO’s website. Currently, the company offers one bottle of 90 capsules for $49.95, two bottles for $79.90 and three bottles for $99.90.
What is the main ingredient in the GOLO Release pills?
The GOLO Release supplement features seven plant-based ingredients and three minerals. Specifically, it includes magnesium, zinc and chromium, as well as a proprietary blend of ingredients containing rhodiola extract and apple extract.
How many GOLO release pills should you take a day?
GOLO recommends consuming one capsule three times daily during or at the end of each meal, though dosage may differ depending on how much weight you’re aiming to lose. Full dosage instructions are included with the purchase of the supplement, according to the company.
The GOLO Diet can be expensive, confusing, and difficult to follow. Additionally, given the lack of research available, it's unclear whether it has any additional benefits over regular diet and exercise.What do doctors think of GOLO? ›
Bottom line: Experts say the GOLO diet isn't worth your money. “This is the TB12 of dieting plans,” Keatley says. “There is enough science to make this seem like a great idea but has all the hallmarks of pseudo-science.” And the fact that you have to pay for this at all is a sticking point with Upton.Can you lose weight just by taking GOLO pills? ›
There is no evidence to suggest that taking GOLO pills alone will lead to weight loss, and it may not be a sustainable or healthy long-term approach.Does GOLO really reduce belly fat? ›
While visceral fat can be reduced by regulating daily sugar intake and creating an individual exercise program — GOLO Release pills can help reduce belly fat and can assist in managing a healthy metabolic rate and abnormal hormonal activity that may be contributing to the accumulation of excess fat in the abdominal ...What do you eat for breakfast at GOLO? ›
- Breakfast: two eggs (two proteins), a piece of whole grain toast with butter (one carb and one fat) and a fruit (another carb)
- Lunch: Leafy greens (one veggie) with three ounces of chicken (one protein), dressing (a fat) and a whole wheat roll (a carb).
While GOLO claims that there are no known side effects that come from using its GOLO Release pills, some users have anecdotally claimed that they have experienced issues like diarrhea and bloating after using their pills.Does GOLO have side effects? ›
Many diet pills, including Golo Diet Pills, contain various stimulants, such as caffeine, that can increase heart rate and blood pressure, leading to potential adverse effects such as heart palpitations, anxiety, and insomnia.What kind of meals do you eat on GOLO? ›
What are some food examples that show up on the Golo diet menu? Fruits and vegetables (frozen and fresh), carbohydrates (rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, beans), meat (chicken, beef), coconut oil, and full-fat dairy are just some examples of foods you'll eat when following the Golo diet.How long does it take to see results using GOLO? ›
When following the GOLO for Life® Plan, most people start to see results sometime within the first 2-4 weeks. Some will lose pounds first and others will lose inches. It is important to remember that both tools are important and that everyone loses weight differently.Why am I gaining weight on GOLO? ›
The GOLO diet suggests that spiked insulin levels are the cause of slow metabolism, which, in turn, is responsible for weight gain.
The GOLO diet plan is popular for several reasons: Emphasis on Whole Foods: The GOLO diet emphasizes consuming whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. This makes it healthier and more sustainable than diets that rely heavily on processed foods and packaged meals.Which is better GOLO or keto? ›
Both of these diets focus on high fat, moderate protein, low carbs to achieve weight loss goals. The main difference is that while those following a keto plan have more wiggle room in terms of carbohydrates when they break their fast at night, someone on the golo diet must stay below 600 calories until dinner time.Why is GOLO not helping me lose weight? ›
Our Customer Service staff at GOLO reports that not following the Plan and taking Release as the number one reason why customers stall in their weight loss journey.Can GOLO cause stomach issues? ›
What are the potential side effects of Golo pills? The potential side effects of Golo pills include headaches, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, stomach pain, insomnia, increased heart rate, and low blood sugar.Can I eat peanut butter on GOLO? ›
Conventional peanuts have a very high pesticide rate and have also been noted to contain high rates of other chemicals as well. If you have read through your GOLO Rescue Plan, you've probably noticed that we do not recommend the use of peanuts or peanut butter at all and these are just a few of the reasons why.Is bacon on the GOLO diet? ›
And while the list of foods to avoid completely is quite short, the diet does provide a much longer list of foods that should be severely limited on a daily basis, including ice cream, crackers, deli meat, bacon, beer, wine and condiments.What snacks can you eat on GOLO? ›
A Golo diet plan includes three meals per day and two snacks. Each meal should contain a Golo Release capsule with enough protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. You can also eat a handful of almonds or a cup of Greek yogurt as snacks if needed.Who should avoid GOLO? ›
Who should not try the Golo diet? Those with a history of disordered eating shouldn't try the Golo diet, since being too restrictive with calories can lead to unhealthy eating habits. People with diabetes should also avoid the diet since the Release supplement may lower blood sugar.Can I eat cheese with GOLO? ›
The GOLO for Life Plan is a flexible and easy to follow meal plan where you get to choose the foods you like to eat. The focus is on whole, affordable foods like butter, eggs, whole milk and cheese, meats, fruits, vegetables and grains, including bread and pasta. There is no starvation dieting or food restrictions.Why does GOLO make me dizzy? ›
Rhodiola: This root extract may help to reduce fatigue and improve exercise performance but may also cause dizziness or dry mouth.
Moreover, the makers said that the supplement doesn't interact with any medications. That includes oral contraceptives. However, if you have existing health problems, don't take this pill yet.Does GOLO make you hungry all the time? ›
When you start GOLO and follow the GOLO for Life Plan while also taking Release, you should be getting hungry every 4-5 hours. This is completely normal and what you want to happen.How long can you take GOLO? ›
How Long Do I Take Release? Release is safe for long-term use; you can take it as long as you want or phase out as your metabolism improves and you reach your goal weight. Some people choose to continue at a lower dosage once they reach their goal. Most people take Release between 3 and 6 months.Can I eat chips on GOLO? ›
The GOLO diet restricts consuming sugar, sweeteners, and as processed and refined foods—be it chips, cookies, meat, or white bread.What is reset 7 on GOLO? ›
The Reset 7 is an optional one-week plan that can help enhance your weight loss journey. It is designed to temporarily remove some foods that may hinder weight loss. You can do the Reset at the beginning of your journey or anytime you feel you need a kickstart such as after the holidays or a vacation.What are the 2 vegetables that destroy stomach fat? ›
Spinach and other leafy green vegetables like kale, lettuce, etc. are great for burning belly fat and are very nutritious as well. There have been some studies done on the subject of the fat burning capabilities of spinach and the very healthy veggie has come out a winner in this category.What drink burns belly fat? ›
- Mar 29, 2023. Detox drinks and juices to lose belly fat. ...
- Beetroot juice. Whole beets are low in calories and high in fibre, which can support regularity, slow stomach emptying, and prolong satiety to support weight management. ...
- Carrot juice. ...
- Celery juice. ...
- Cinnamon water. ...
- Fennel water. ...
- Ginger water. ...
- Green vegetable juice.
Such fat-burning foods include eggs, nuts, and oily fish. The term “fat-burning foods” may apply to those that produce fat loss by stimulating metabolism, reducing appetite, or reducing overall food intake. All foods stimulate metabolism.Does GOLO cause inflammation? ›
Benefits of the GOLO Diet
Not only does this help with weight loss but it also helps with reducing inflammation and triglycerides. Keeping blood sugar and insulin in healthy ranges also reduces risk for other chronic diseases such as dementia, heart disease and kidney disease,” Malone says.
When you start GOLO and follow the GOLO for Life Plan while also taking Release, you should be getting hungry every 4-5 hours. This is completely normal and what you want to happen. Letting your body feel hunger means that it's in fat burning mode, which will help you lose weight.
The GOLO diet suggests that spiked insulin levels are the cause of slow metabolism, which, in turn, is responsible for weight gain.How long does it take GOLO to start working? ›
When following the GOLO for Life® Plan, most people start to see results sometime within the first 2-4 weeks. Some will lose pounds first and others will lose inches. It is important to remember that both tools are important and that everyone loses weight differently.Is GOLO FDA approved? ›
Unfounded health claims: The GOLO website includes a statement required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explaining that "GOLO is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and has not been evaluated by the FDA." This may be confusing for some consumers who also see statements on the page ...What is the difference between GOLO and Noom? ›
If you're looking for a program that focuses on balancing hormones and insulin levels, the GOLO Diet may be the best fit for you. If you prefer a more flexible approach that emphasizes healthy habits and a positive relationship with food, the Noom Diet may be a better fit.Does GOLO balance your hormones? ›
GOLO focuses on balancing the hormones that affect weight and repairing metabolic health. By targeting the cause of your weight gain, you can get real sustainable results.