Healthline Diet Score: 2.75 out of 5
The GOLO® Diet was one of the most searched-for diets in 2016 and has become increasingly popular since then.
The 30-, 60- or 90-day programs available for purchase promise quick weight loss and better health without counting calories or tracking nutrients.
The diet is also claimed to kick-start your metabolism, boost energy levels and increase fat loss simply by balancing your hormone levels.
This article reviews whether the GOLO Diet can help you lose weight.
Rating Score Breakdown
- Overall score: 2.75
- Fast weight loss: 3
- Long-term weight loss: 2
- Easy to follow: 2
- Nutrition quality: 4
BOTTOM LINE: The GOLO Diet focuses on managing insulin levels through supplements, diet and exercise to promote weight loss. It may be effective but pricey and challenging, and research on its potential benefits is limited.
What Is the GOLO Diet?
The GOLO Diet focuses on managing insulin levels to promote weight loss.
According to the diet’s website, it was developed by a team of doctors and pharmacists to help balance hormone levels, increase metabolism and support steady and sustainable weight loss.
The idea is based on studies that have shown that a low-glycemic diet — comprised mostly of foods that don’t spike blood sugar or insulin levels — can increase weight loss, fat burning and metabolism (1, 2, 3, 4).
The creators of the GOLO Diet promise that you can eat 20–30% more food than on conventional weight loss diets by increasing your metabolism and focusing on healthier choices rather than counting calories or restricting intake.
The plan also promotes a supplement called GOLO Release, which contains an array of plant extracts and minerals that supposedly help regulate blood sugar levels, increase energy and reduce hunger and cravings.
Each purchase also includes the GOLO Rescue Plan, a guidebook that teaches you how to create balanced, healthy meals with the foods you love — based on your personal metabolic rate.
Membership also gives you access to an online community, which includes free meal plans, health assessments, support from online coaches and discounted products.
Summary The GOLO Diet is focused on balancing hormone levels and managing insulin to support weight loss. Its three main components are the GOLO Release supplement, a guidebook and an online community.
Can It Help You Lose Weight?
The GOLO Diet encourages eating healthy whole foods and increasing exercise — which can theoretically aid weight loss.
Several studies — funded and conducted by the makers of the GOLO Diet — evaluate its effectiveness and are accessible on the company’s website.
One 26-week study in 35 overweight and obese adults showed that combining an exercise regimen with the GOLO Release supplement and diet and behavioral changes resulted in an average weight loss of 31 pounds (14 kg).
Another study in 21 people found that those who combined diet and exercise with GOLO Release lost a total of 53 pounds (24 kg) over 25 weeks — or about 32.5 pounds (15 kg) more than the control group that didn’t take GOLO Release.
However, keep in mind that these were small studies that were not published in peer-reviewed journals. As they were funded and conducted by the makers of the GOLO Diet, they have a high risk of bias.
Additionally, it’s unclear whether weight loss is caused by the GOLO program and supplements specifically or simply the combination of diet, exercise and behavioral modifications.
Therefore, while the GOLO Diet may help some people lose weight by promoting healthy diet and lifestyle changes, more research is needed to determine whether it’s more effective than other regimens.
Summary Several company-funded and -conducted studies have shown that the GOLO Diet may aid weight loss. Yet, it’s unclear whether this is caused by the program specifically or merely by reducing food intake and increasing exercise.
Benefits of the GOLO Diet
The GOLO Diet is based on several solid nutrition principles, such as increasing exercise and eliminating processed foods — both of which may promote weight loss and improve blood sugar levels.
In fact, multiple studies indicate that regular exercise can reduce blood sugar levels in people with and without diabetes (5, 6, 7).
Additionally, one analysis of 98 ready-to-eat foods found that minimally processed foods were more filling and raised blood sugar less than ultra-processed products (8).
The GOLO Diet also encourages nutrient-rich whole foods like fruits, veggies, healthy fats and lean proteins. This makes it easier to get all of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your body needs.
What’s more, the diet may be a good option if your knowledge of nutrition is limited, as it makes it easy to create balanced, well-rounded meals by simply combining 1–2 portions of carbs, proteins, fats and veggies per meal.
Summary The GOLO Diet is based on solid nutrition principles and may aid weight loss and blood sugar control. It also encourages nutrient-rich foods and makes it easy to create balanced meals by combining food groups.
The GOLO Diet can be expensive to follow. For example, GOLO Release costs $38 for 90 tablets, which can last 1–3 months depending on how many you take per day.
Though it contains several plant extracts claimed to support metabolism, it also includes micronutrients that can easily be obtained by following a nutritious diet or taking a basic multivitamin that includes zinc, chromium and magnesium.
In addition, while some people may find it easy to create healthy meals using the diet’s principles, others may find it challenging and restrictive due to its strict rules about which foods and portion sizes are allowed at each meal.
The multitude of variations of the diet and the many factors that need to be taken into account — such as fit points, fuel values and personal metabolic rates — can also make it unnecessarily confusing for consumers.
Lastly, unbiased research on the GOLO Diet is lacking — as the only available studies are directly funded and conducted by its creators.
Therefore, it’s unclear whether the diet has any added benefits aside from merely encouraging a healthy, well-rounded diet and regular exercise.
Summary 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.
Foods to Eat
One of the main components of the GOLO Diet is the GOLO Metabolic Fuel Matrix, which allows you to make selections from four “fuel groups” — proteins, carbs, vegetables and fats.
You should eat three meals per day and are allotted 1–2 standard servings of each fuel group per meal.
Serving sizes vary greatly, ranging from one tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil to three ounces (85 grams) of white meat or fish, for example.
Exercising earns you additional fit points, allowing you to consume extra snacks or portions throughout the day.
Here are some of the foods you’re encouraged to eat:
- Protein: Eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, nuts, dairy products
- Carbs: Berries, fruit, yams, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, beans, whole grains
- Vegetables: Spinach, kale, arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, zucchini
- Fats: Olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, GOLO salad dressing
Summary The GOLO Diet allows you to include 1–2 portions of protein, carbs, vegetables and fats per meal.
Foods to Avoid
The GOLO Diet discourages processed and refined foods and focuses on healthy whole foods instead.
Short-term versions of the diet, such as “7 Day Kickstart” or “Reset 7,” are advertised as quick and easy ways to eliminate toxins before transitioning to a regular GOLO eating plan.
For these specific plans, foods like red meat, dairy products and grains should be eliminated altogether.
However, they can later be re-introduced and enjoyed in moderation as part of the regular GOLO Diet.
Here are some of the foods that you should avoid on the GOLO Diet:
- Processed foods: Potato chips, crackers, cookies, baked goods
- Red meat: Fatty cuts of beef, lamb, pork (for short-term diets only)
- Sugar-sweetened beverages: Soda, sports drinks, sweetened teas, vitamin waters and juices
- Grains: Bread, barley, rice, oats, pasta, millet (for short-term diets only)
- Dairy products: Cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, ice cream (for short-term diets only)
- Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, sucralose, saccharin
Summary The GOLO Diet encourages whole foods and discourages processed foods, sugar-sweetened beverages and artificial sweeteners.
Sample Meal Plan
Here’s a one-week sample meal plan to help get you started on the GOLO Diet:
- Breakfast: Omelet with sautéed broccoli, apple slices and olive oil
- Lunch: Grilled chicken with asparagus, couscous and coconut oil
- Dinner: Salmon with stir-fried veggies, boiled potatoes and olive oil
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with steamed spinach, blueberries and almonds
- Lunch: Roast turkey with buckwheat, roasted bell peppers and olive oil
- Dinner: Broiled flounder with kale, walnuts and grapes
- Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs with overnight oats and chia seeds
- Lunch: Tuna salad with spinach, GOLO salad dressing and an orange
- Dinner: Roast beef with mashed potatoes, carrots and olive oil
- Breakfast: Omelet with grapefruit and walnuts
- Lunch: Pork chops with yams, spinach and almonds
- Dinner: Pan-fried salmon with Brussels sprouts, olive oil and fruit salad
- Breakfast: Poached eggs with sliced pears and pistachios
- Lunch: Baked chicken with side salad, GOLO salad dressing and apples
- Dinner: Beef-stuffed zucchini boats with coconut oil and tomatoes
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with arugula, strawberries and olive oil
- Lunch: Baked cod with arugula, GOLO salad dressing and chickpeas
- Dinner: Stir-fried beef with broccoli, walnuts and quinoa
- Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs with sautéed zucchini, oatmeal and hemp seeds
- Lunch: Ground turkey with brown rice, tomatoes and almonds
- Dinner: Chicken breast with green beans, sweet potatoes and olive oil
Summary A sample menu on the GOLO Diet includes a variety of whole foods from the four fuel groups — protein, carbs, vegetables and fats.
The Bottom Line
The GOLO Diet focuses on managing hormone levels through supplements, exercise and a healthy diet to promote weight loss.
It may help you lose weight, lower blood sugar levels and improve health.
Yet, it can be pricey and challenging — and needs to be more thoroughly researched to determine its effectiveness.