What Is the Hormone Reset Diet?

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At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.

The Hormone Reset Diet was created by gynecologist Dr. Sarah Gottfried to allegedly reset your metabolic hormones to encourage weight loss. The plan claims to lead to a staggering weight loss of up to 15 pounds in 21 days by improving the balance of seven different hormones to burn belly fat and decrease appetite.

The 21-day program is essentially an elimination diet that requires excluding specific foods thought to cause hormonal imbalances. Dr. Gottfied claims that most women have at least one, if not three or more, significant hormonal imbalances. The diet plan claims to fix these imbalances by eliminating meat, alcohol, fruit, grains, and dairy.

It should be noted that there is no scientific evidence to back up the claims made by Gottfried regarding the Hormone Reset diet. You do not need to cut food groups to lose weight, and there is no evidence that cutting out certain foods can reset your hormones or that resetting hormones is even a valid concept.

What Experts Say

"The Hormone Reset Diet promises that you'll lose 15 pounds in 21 days. This should be an immediate red flag that this is a fad diet, and any weight that is lost will likely be regained. Although the focus is on eating healthy foods, such as vegetables and protein, this diet plan is too low in calories for most people and will probably leave you feeling hungry. In addition, there is no clinical evidence to suggest that eliminating foods in a specific order can revamp your metabolism and help you lose weight."

Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN

What Can You Eat?

The main foods to eat on the Hormone Reset Diet include primarily whole foods with the exception of the food groups that are eliminated during each specific phase. The foods the diet includes (and excludes) and the phases of the diet are determined by the results of a quiz that claims to determine which hormonal imbalances you may have.

What You Need to Know

Aside from eliminating dairy, grains, and fruit, sugar and caffeine are also banned. The Hormone Reset Diet also does not recommend foods made through genetic modification (also known as GMOs) despite the lack of scientific evidence that GMOs are harmful.

What to Eat
  • Vegetables

  • Organic, free-range eggs

  • Organic, free-range poultry

  • Beans and legumes

  • Wild-caught fish

  • Stevia, xylitol, erythritol

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Avocado

  • Cacao

  • Herbal tea

  • Lemon

What Not to Eat
  • Red meat

  • Alcohol

  • Sugar

  • Artificial sweeteners

  • Fruit

  • Caffeine

  • Grains

  • Dairy

  • GMO foods

Vegetables

Aim to eat a pound or more of vegetables per day, sticking to less starchy, high fiber choices to stay under the required 99 grams of carbohydrates.

Organic, Free-Range Eggs and Poultry

The Hormone Diet claims that non-organic, factory-produced eggs and poultry contain “toxins” that contribute to hormonal imbalance.

Wild-Caught Fish

Wild-caught fish is said to contain fewer “toxins” that interfere with hormone balance.

Stevia, Xylitol, and Erythritol

Stevia is a zero-calorie plant-based sweetener that is thought to be more natural than artificial sweeteners. Xylitol and erythritol are sugar alcohols that are low calorie and sugar-free. They do not increase blood sugar and so are approved for use on the Hormone Reset Diet.

Meat

Eliminating meat, according to the Hormone Reset Diet, resets your estrogen levels. According to the diet, being estrogen dominant will prevent you from losing weight. The diet refers to all red meat as "meat." Poultry is allowed if it is organic and free-range.

Alcohol

Alcohol is eliminated on the hormone reset diet because it allegedly increases estrogen levels.

Sugar

According to Gottfried, sugar is addictive and leads to insulin resistance, causing weight gain, so it is eliminated. This includes any foods with added sugars, as well as fruit.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are considered toxic and addictive according to the Hormone Reset Diet. However, stevia (a naturally-derived sweetener) is acceptable, as well as xylitol and erythritol (two sugar alcohols).

Fruit

Consuming fruit allegedly interferes with the hormone leptin, which helps control appetite. Gottfried claims this leptin disruption is due to excess fructose, which is the sugar in fruit. The Hormone Reset Diet says that consuming fruit negatively affects your appetite and metabolism, causing hunger and weight gain. Fruit is not allowed, except for avocado and lemon.

Caffeine

Caffeine is said to increase cortisol levels, a stress hormone that interferes with weight loss and sleep quality. It is eliminated on the Hormone Reset Diet.

Grains

The Hormone Reset Diet claims that grains affect the thyroid hormone and cause insulin resistance. Grains are eliminated to fix bloating, exhaustion, and thinning hair.

Dairy

Dairy is thought to cause an imbalance and add unwanted growth hormone, so it is eliminated. The Hormone Reset Diet also claims that dairy is addictive.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Focuses on whole foods

Cons
  • Eliminates food groups

  • Expensive

  • Restrictive

  • Not Scientific

  • Unrealistic weight loss

Pro

Focuses on Whole Foods

The Hormone Reset Diet focuses on whole foods, plenty of vegetables, and lean proteins, which are all parts of a healthy diet. However, many other healthy whole foods are eliminated, and there is no room in the diet for processed foods or added sugars.

Cons

Eliminates Food Groups

The Hormone Reset Diet eliminates foods that are otherwise considered healthy, such as fruit and whole grains. 

Expensive

Since the approved foods are mainly required to be organic and free-range, the cost of food could be too expensive for many people. As well, many of the recipes and foods suggested are specialty items that are much pricier than typical foods.

Restrictive

Besides eliminating food groups, the Hormone Reset Diet requires you to avoid so-called “toxins,” such as BPA and certain food additives. These additional restrictions, combined with the elimination of many foods, may make the diet too restrictive for many people.

Not Scientific

The claims made by Dr. Gottfried in the Hormone Reset Diet are not backed up by solid scientific evidence. For instance, there is no clinical evidence that hormones can be “reset” or that eliminating these food groups can balance hormones. The quiz used to assess the best elimination plan for the reader is not a medical test and cannot rightly determine if you have a medical, hormonal issue that requires resolving. Speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your hormonal health.

Unrealistic Weight Loss

Expecting to lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days during the Hormone Reset Diet is unrealistic. A healthy rate of weight loss is between one and two pounds per week, or even less, depending on your current weight, body fat percentage, and health. Any weight lost on this diet is unlikely to be unsustainable long-term.

Is the Hormone Reset Diet a Healthy Choice for You?

Although the Hormone Reset Diet focuses on whole, nutritious foods, it also excludes many foods of high nutritional value. 

While the Hormone Reset Diet excludes grains, the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends an average of 6 to 8 ounces of grains per day, depending on your caloric needs.

Similarly, the Dietary Guidelines recommend around 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of dairy per day, while the Hormone Reset Diet eliminates these foods. On the Hormone Reset Diet, you are restricted to 99 grams of carbohydrates or less per day, whereas the USDA recommends at least 130 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Following the diet will restrict you to approximately 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day, which is well below the level recommended by the USDA of 1,800 to 3,200 for weight maintenance depending on your sex, age, and activity level.

Where the Hormone Reset Diet shines is the recommendation to consume plenty of vegetables. Many people do not meet the recommended amounts of vegetables. The USDA recommends the approximate following intake of vegetables each week, which could be more or less depending on your calorie intake:

  • 1.5 to 2 cups of leafy greens
  • 5.5 to 6 cups of red and orange vegetables
  • 1.5 to 2 cups of beans, peas, and lentils
  • 5 to 6 cups of starchy vegetables
  • 4 to 5 cups of other vegetables

Choosing healthy, whole foods for the majority of your diet is a good idea for general health and weight loss. However, excluding food groups like dairy, fruit, and grains is unnecessary for weight loss and could be detrimental to your health and long-term weight loss success.

Health Benefits

Encourages Consumption of Nutritious Foods

The foods allowed on the Hormone Reset Diet are all healthy choices. The focus on vegetables can help people consume the recommended amount. As well, beans and legumes have been shown to aid in weight loss and have many other health benefits.

Reduces Sugar

Although avoiding starchy grains and fruit is not necessary to reduce your sugar intake, the Hormone Reset Diet does require you to avoid added sugars. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most adults consume too much added sugars.

Health Risks

Promotes a Restrictive Diet

Diets that remove food groups are often too restrictive and are not in line with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Restrictive diets can lead to disordered eating patterns. Restrictive diets can also socially isolate you when you cannot eat the way your friends and family do.

Eliminates Healthy Foods

Dairy, grains, and fruit are all healthy foods that are eliminated on the Hormone Reset Diet. It may be challenging to reach your daily recommended amount of calcium, vitamin D, and fiber if you do not consume these food groups.

Not Substantiated by Science

If you have an actual hormonal condition that requires treatment from a medical professional, this diet likely will not help you. If someone with hormonal issues relies on this diet, their condition could worsen if they aren’t receiving proper medical treatment. Speak to your doctor before trying the Hormone Reset Diet, especially if you have or suspect you may have hormonal health issues.

A Word From Verywell

The Hormone Reset Diet may result in weight loss, but the highly restrictive and unsustainable nature of the diet makes it unnecessarily difficult to follow.

There is no scientific evidence that eliminating healthy foods like dairy and grains can positively or negatively affect your hormones. If you believe you might have a hormonal health issue, speak to your doctor about the best way to promote hormone balance.

Remember, following a long-term or short-term diet may not be necessary for you and many diets out there simply don’t work, especially long-term. While we do not endorse fad diet trends or unsustainable weight loss methods, we present the facts so you can make an informed decision that works best for your nutritional needs, genetic blueprint, budget, and goals.

If your goal is weight loss, remember that losing weight isn’t necessarily the same as being your healthiest self, and there are many other ways to pursue health. Exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors also play a major role in your overall health. The best diet is always the one that is balanced and fits your lifestyle.

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Article Sources
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