Hormone-Diet
October 11, 2021

Everything You Need to Know About the Hormone Diet

Trigger warning: Disordered eating and Hormone diet culture.

You should be skeptical about weight loss strategies, especially if they require drastic changes to your eating habits or are restrictive. Many diets that force you to eat fewer calories or eliminate certain food groups are more dangerous than they are beneficial. Your weight is not always a sign of your health and hormonal function. There are many other factors that make up a healthy lifestyle.

The Hormone diet claims it can reset hormones by changing your diet, which will help you lose weight and become healthier. Is it safe and effective? We asked Mary Wirtz (dietitian) and Jana Mowrer (dietitian) to give their views on the Hormones Diet. They shared their thoughts about whether it works and what the pros and con are.

MEET THE EXPERT

  • Mary Wirtz MS, RDN CSSD is a nutrition consultant at Mom Loves Best.
  • Jana Mowrer is a registered dietitian and nutritionist, and a certified diabetes care and education specialist. She is also the founder and owner of HealthWins Coaching and Consulting.

What Is the Hormone Diet?

The hormone diet was developed from Dr. Natasha Turner’s book on naturopathic medicine. This diet is designed to reduce women’s hormone fluctuations, which can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

This three-step plan is for six weeks. It claims to balance hormones and correct fluctuations that can cause adverse effects. The plan also includes information on how to exercise, detox, and take supplements.

How Does the Hormone Diet Work?

Phase 1 is a two week detox that eliminates several food groups. These include dairy products, gluten, milk, peanuts, oils, sugars, artificial sweeteners and red meats, citrus, alcohol, caffeine, and other food groups. You will also need to take supplements like fish oil, anti-inflammatories and probiotics during this phase.

Phase two will see you add back certain foods and describe your body’s reactions to each type of food. You must avoid “hormone-hindering” foods. This phase is still restrictive. These foods include fish with high mercury levels, meat, coffee, and non-organic coffee. This phase also prohibits processed foods, artificial sweeteners and nitrates as well as refined grains.

Phase three includes physical activity such as strength training and cardiovascular exercise. It also continues with the diet of phase 2.

Is the Hormone Diet Safe?

The CDC recommends a weight loss rate of one to two pounds per weeks, but emphasizes that this must be achieved through a combination diet and exercise. The Hormone Diet claims that it can cause weight loss of 12 lbs within two weeks. This is far faster than what is safe and sustainable. The weight loss seen in phase one is due solely to diet changes. Exercise is only added in phase 3.

Most likely, the bulk of weight loss in the initial phase is due water weight from avoiding grains and other foods. It is not sustainable and can easily be reverted to normal eating habits or after the final phase.

If someone is trying to lose weight (and keep it off), this weight loss of two weeks could be a setback. Wirtz warns that it can also lead to cyclical Yo-Yo dieting. Mowrer agrees, saying that the 12 lbs weight loss suggested for two weeks is “the worst thing.” This is extreme and excessive. A healthy weight loss is one to two pounds per week.

The Pros

“The initial six weeks are focused on whole, nutrient dense foods. Mowrer says that eliminating refined sugars, high fructose Corn syrup and processed foods is good for everyone.

“The majority of foods in the Hormone Diet are in line with the Mediterranean Dietary Pattern, which is high in fiber and low-saturated fat. Wirtz says that this meal plan still includes foods such as beans, lentils, legumes, nuts, seeds and fruits, along with unsaturated oil and lean protein.

The Hormone diet recommends that individuals avoid alcohol, processed foods, fried foods, artificial sweeteners, and high-saturated fat foods. These foods are less healthy. Wirtz says, “As a dietitian I recommend that all clients limit the intake of these foods to ensure optimal health outcomes.”

Mowrer suggests the 80/20 ratio: 80% whole foods and 20% foods that are nutritionally-focused. This program addresses lifestyle issues that can impact hormones like sleep, hydration and stress. Consistent meal patterns are also recommended. She adds that she believes this is all good advice and has a 1000% impact on your hormone function and your ability to lose weight.

The Cons of Hormone Diet

The Hormone Diet has little merit and there is no scientific evidence to support it. Wirtz states that the diet claims a 12-pound weight loss in just two weeks. This is unsustainable and unrealistic for most people.

The “Hormone diet” can be complicated, but it encourages people to cook and prepare most meals. Wirtz says that if you depend on processed and packaged foods in any way, this might be too restrictive for your lifestyle.

The Hormone Diet’s six week time limit will not allow for the correction of hormone imbalances such as insulin. “Blood turnover can take at least three months. It has been proven that eliminating isolated foods does not correct hormonal imbalances. It’s more about the overall balance of food intake and consistent carb intake. One example is that someone could eat lots of fruits but have insulin imbalance. Mowrer says that this diet removes citrus from hormonal balance and that there is no evidence to support it.

The program also requires that you only consume organic meat and coffee. This is a costly requirement that not all people have the money to pay. Why? Mowrer says that hormones can be controlled with traditional meats and a balanced diet.

The Takeaway

Be careful before you decide to try a diet that promises to “fix” hormone imbalances. Mowrer says that most people don’t have hormone imbalances. They have a lifestyle problem. You should consult your doctor if you have concerns about hormonal imbalances. For the best results, eat whole, nutritious foods and exercise regularly. There is no need to cut out foods or follow complicated diets.