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The “No White” Diet

 

Submitted By: Amy Sercel

Edited By: Marcia Bristow MS RDN CSSD CD

“Eat the rainbow!”  It’s one of the most common pieces of advice for healthy eating.  In general, the more colorful your plate is, the more nutrients you’ll eat.1 One diet trend takes this suggestion a step farther: the “No White” diet recommends that people remove all white foods from their eating patterns.  The only exceptions to the rule are cauliflower, onions, and garlic, egg whites, parsnips, milk, and white meats.  Specifically, this means avoiding white rice, white beans, white potatoes, white flour, refined sugar, and solid fats like butter and cheese.  Instead, choose whole grain products like brown rice or oats, sweet potatoes, and liquid fats like olive or avocado oil.2

Advocates of the “No White” diet claim that it will help speed up weight loss and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.  The colorful, fiber-rich foods promoted by the “No White” diet are considered to have low glycemic indexes (GI).2,3 In other words, they will not raise blood sugar levels as drastically as refined items, partially because of their higher fiber content.  People with or at risk for diabetes are already encouraged to choose low GI foods because they create less of a demand for insulin.  It is also thought that low GI foods promote fullness, reducing food cravings after eating.  Additionally, high blood sugar and insulin levels prevent the breakdown of stored fats; since lower GI foods do not increase blood sugar as much, they are thought to encourage fat usage.4

One of the downsides of the “No White” diet is its restrictiveness.  For example, it may be difficult to follow the diet if your friends invite you out for a pizza night!  Additionally, some people have experienced weight gain after finishing the diet and re-introducing white foods into their eating patterns.2 If you are interested in the “No White” diet, you could try following it for a few meals per day or week, and still allow yourself to occasionally enjoy some white foods.  To get started, try this recipe for BlackBean Wraps or these Rosemary Roasted Carrots.

Whether or not you follow the “No White” diet strictly, its main message applies to all healthy meal plans: eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and limit your intake of processed, sugary foods.

References:

  1.  Eat A Colorful Variety Every Day. Fruits Veggies More Matters. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/eat-a-colorful-variety-of-fruits-and-vegetables. Accessed May 6, 2016.
  2.  The Eat Nothing White Diet. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/eat-nothing-white-diet-9371.html. Accessed May 6, 2016.
  3.  What Can You Eat on the No White Diet? | LIVESTRONG.COM. http://www.livestrong.com/article/301871-what-can-you-eat-on-the-no-white-diet/. Accessed May 6, 2016.
  4.  Brand-Miller JC, Holt SH, Pawlak DB, McMillan J. Glycemic index and obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;76(1):281S-285S.

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