I am one of the few health and wellness authors who also does research on the impact of dietary interventions.
We used rigorous scientific methods to explore this question: does the Wahls™ diet increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies?
The short answer is no.
Though concerns have been raised that the Wahls™ Diet may create deficiencies by excluding certain foods, these papers prove that is not the case. These peer-reviewed publications are crucial to changing clinical practice—they use methods that are taken seriously by registered dietitians, whose work directly impacts the health of Americans.
By showing the Wahls™ diet is safe according to standards of the Academy of Registered Dietitians as well as nutritionally sound, we are on our way to changing how our nation’s health practitioners treat their patients.
The first published paper discussed the rationale Dr. Swank used to develop the low saturated fat recommendations for the Swank Diet as well as the scientific rationale that guided the development of the Wahls™ diets. This important paper also reviewed the published scientific papers that explore the potential benefits of the Swank and Wahls™ diet.
The second paper assessed the quality of the Swank diet by analyzing recipes and the 7-day menu plan published in Swank’s diet book, and the third paper did the same for the recipes and the 7-day menu plan in The Wahls Protocol. Both of these papers used the Nutrition Data System for Research Software to conduct their analyses, comparing the nutrients in each diet to the nutrients that would be obtained by consuming the Healthy Eating Plan recommended by the governmental dietary guidelines. The Swank diet nutrient level matched the nutrient level of the government’s Healthy Eating Plan, though I think it is important to note that the dietary reference ranges show that Healthy Eating Plan (governmental dietary advise plans or my healthy plate) do not reliably provide all the nutrients needed—careful selection of foodstuffs is required to meet those nutrient goals.
(And that’s why I think the government food plan should be revised to better meet the recommended nutrient intake).
The Wahls™ diet performed very well, exceeding many of the nutrient levels of the government’s Healthy Eating Plan. Dietitians have expressed concern that excluding whole food groups, as the Wahls™ diet does, increases the risk of serious nutritional deficiencies. These papers address those concerns using scientific methods that registered dietitians use in their research. These papers will be cited in our grant proposals and are a huge step in dietary intervention research.
If your medical team is concerned that adopting the Wahls™ diet is not nutritionally sound, you can tell them that the diet has been analyzed by the high-impact nutrition scientific journal Nutrients. Give them a copy of the paper that analyzed the Wahls™ diet and reassure them that the diet has been proven to be as good as, and in some measures, nutritionally superior to the U.S. government’s Healthy Eating Plan and the average American diet.
More and more physicians are seeing the link between diet quality and health. And more and more are recognizing that the Wahls™ diet plans are nutrient-dense and can be an essential part of creating more health and vitality in their patients.
You can download a copy of these three papers here.