Perhaps you’ve heard of this diet trend, but what is the Galveston Diet exactly? Carrie Gabriel, MS, RDN, explains this eating plan for middle-aged women and outlines its pros and cons.
There are plenty of diets focused on weight loss for athletes and young women. However, there aren’t nearly as many specifically geared towards weight loss for middle-aged women. Enter: the Galveston Diet, created by board-certified OB-GYN Mary Claire Haver, MD, which dually aims to help reduce the symptoms of menopause.
Here’s a comprehensive list of the Galveston Diet basics, including what you can and can’t eat, and how intermittent fasting is integral to its success. Plus: a dietitian’s review of the Galveston Diet.
What Is the Galveston Diet?
The Galveston Diet was designed to help reduce issues middle-aged women experience during menopause, such as slower metabolism, inflammation, and hot flashes. The theory is that you can curb these symptoms by eating the right foods, limiting eating hours, and cutting out ingredients that trigger inflammation.
In order to get all of the details of the Galveston Diet, you must pay a one-time $59 fee. From there, you’ll get access to a curriculum covering hormones, inflammation, and other topics that impact women’s health around menopause. There are also meal plans, recipes, and shopping lists available.
What to Eat on the Galveston Diet
In short, this specialized diet plan prizes lean proteins, low carbohydrates, healthy fats, and select produce. Here’s a closer look at the Galveston Diet macros and approved foods to eat.
Only lean proteins are allowed on this diet for the sake of avoiding excessive saturated fat, which is linked to weight gain. Galveston Diet-approved sources of lean proteins include:
- lean grass-fed beef, turkey, and chicken
In addition, Greek yogurt is the sole recommended dairy product because it has twice as many amino acids as other yogurts. Further, it’s a great source of probiotics and calcium. Lastly, it’s worth noting that quinoa is the only grain-like food allowed on this diet, since it has all nine essential amino acids and helps with muscle maintenance.
You can eat unsaturated fats on this diet, as they’re a healthier choice for anyone trying to lose weight and support overall health. The best sources of healthy fats include:
- nuts (walnuts, almonds)
- seeds (pumpkin, pine nuts, sunflower)
The ideal vegetables for this diet are those that are low in starch and high in anti-inflammatory antioxidants, such as:
Fruits that are low in sugar and rich with antioxidants get the green light on the Galveston Diet, including:
- tomatoes (yes, they’re a fruit!)
What Not to Eat
The Galveston Diet recommends you steer clear of the middle aisles of the grocery store, as they tend to shelve the most processed, carb-heavy foods. They’re also abundant with foods loaded with sugar and gluten, the two major forbidden ingredients of this regimen.
When to Eat on the Galveston Diet
Perhaps even more important than what you can and can’t eat on this diet plan is when you eat.
The Galveston Diet advises that you do a daily version of intermittent fasting. You restrict eating to an eight-hour period, such as between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and fast for the remaining 16 hours of the day.
Intermittent fasting has gained popularity due to promising research on its ability to reduce inflammation and encourage fat burn, so it makes sense that it’d be touted for this regimen.
Pros and Cons of the Galveston Diet
Now that you understand the Galveston Diet basics, is it worth trying out? Here’s a summary of its pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the best diet plan for you.
It Prizes Healthy Eating Habits
Most importantly, the Galveston Diet advocates consuming whole foods, healthy fats, and lots of vegetables. It also promotes preparing and cooking your own meals and snacks, which I’m a big fan of. As a registered dietitian, I believe these practices should extend to pretty much any quality nutrition plan.
It Addresses Changes in Metabolism
Another key point is that as we age, our metabolisms slow down. For that reason, it’s best that we eat less and move more. While there aren’t clear recommendations for exercise on the Galveston Diet for non-paying viewers, it appears to be a component of this plan.
It Currently Lacks Proof of Success
One piece of this diet that stands out is the use of intermittent fasting to promote weight loss, for which there’s compelling evidence of this benefit. But does the Galveston Diet work in particular? There’s little research that proves it’s successful for weight loss. A nutrition plan like the Mediterranean diet may be just as effective, if not more; it also doesn’t eliminate as many foods.
It Can Get Expensive
Last but not least, cost is an important consideration. While limiting animal proteins to grass-fed options is a nice ideal, the price tag isn’t attainable for everyone. I’d prefer encouraging more co-ops or community gardens with sponsors for financial support to increase food quality and affordability for everyone. The same can go for produce, dairy, and grains.
Sure, it’s always smart go for the highest-quality food you can afford. However, if costs are too high, I suggest buying less expensive protein, trimming the fat, and practicing portion control. While it may not be a Galveston Diet-approved method, it can still help you manage your weight.