What is the No White Foods Diet?
Also known as the No White Diet, the No White Foods Diet focuses on following a strict eating pattern that eliminates all processed white-colored foods from your diet. This is believed to help you lose weight and also help improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes.(1)
Supporters of the No White Foods Diet claim that the majority of all white foods are unhealthy, and most are heavily processed while being high in carbohydrates. They are also said to contain lesser nutrients than other colorful foods.
The No White Foods diet claims that by removing white foods from your diet, you will be consuming a more nutritious diet that not only helps you lose weight but, at the same improve blood sugar balance in the body.
However, most health experts believe that merely basing your diet on a food’s color is not the correct way to approach well-balanced nutrition. However, there does seem to be some merit to the No White Foods diet, considering that it helps you decrease your consumption of heavily processed foods in favor of having more nutrient-rich foods.
The No White Foods diet works because it is low in glycemic level, meaning that by eliminating all white foods, you have colorful foods that are high in nutrients.(2) White foods such as white sugar, flour, white bread, white rice, pasta, crackers, cereal, etc. increase your blood sugar levels and also pile on the inches to your waistline.(3)
Natural and unprocessed white foods, though, do not fall under the No White Foods category. These include onions, cauliflower, turnips, sweet potatoes, and white beans. However, if you end up deep frying these or other white vegetables or foods, then, of course, the healthy part of these foods fly out the window.
Basics of the No White Foods Diet
A person following the No White Foods diet is supposed to eliminate white colored foods such as:
- White sugar
- White potatoes
- White rice
- White bread
- White pasta
Basically, any product made from refined sugar and white flour should be avoided.
The No White Foods diet supporters also avoid using solid fats that are white without any artificial colors being added, such as butter or cheddar cheese.
The only exceptions to the no-white foods rule are egg whites, parsnips, milk, cauliflower, white fish, white beans, and white poultry meat.
A dieter has to replace all the eliminated foods in their diet with healthier alternatives such as brown rice, whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, and other colorful fruits and vegetables.
Here are some of the most common dietary items the No White Foods diet eliminates and the healthy replacement.
White bread is the number one food that is eliminated from the No White Foods Diet. This also includes other related products that are made from white flour, such as breakfast cereals, pastries, and crackers.
During the process of bread flour refining, the germ and bran of the grain get removed. This also eliminates the majority of the vitamins and minerals and fiber that are present within the germ and bran. This happens during the milling process of bread flour.(4)
The end result that is produced is simply a product that is only rich in carbohydrates but lacks any of the other essential nutrients such as protein and fiber.
Studies suggest that higher consumption of white bread is directly associated with weight gain, which is believed to be primarily due to the lack of nutritional value in white bread.(5)
Whole grain bread is a healthier alternative to white bread. In fact, whole-grain crackers and breakfast cereals made from flour that contains the entire grain, including the germ and bran part, is preferable. Eating whole-grain bread is also not associated with weight gain.
Whole grain bread has many essential nutrients and also higher fiber content that helps prevent blood sugar spikes. It also makes you feel full for longer, thus controlling your calorie intake.
Similar to white bread, white rice is also made from refined grains. Though white rice is not inherently unhealthy food, it just does not contain much nutrition. All it contains are calories and carbohydrates.
The lack of protein and fiber in white rice also makes it easier to overeat, which again contributes to weight gain and blood sugar spikes.(6)
It is better to opt for having brown rice as a healthier alternative to white rice. Research has found that brown rice has a much lesser effect on blood sugar spikes as compared to white rice.(6)
Salt is another item that has to be eliminated as part of the No White Foods Diet. While table salt is typically available in white color, there are some salts that come in other colors such as blue, pink, and black. The No White Foods diet focuses primarily on eliminating white table salt.
Remember that the body also requires some amount of salt, but you have to think about what other sources of salt you are consuming that may be harmful to your health, such as ultra-processed foods.(7)
Excess consumption of salt is linked with many adverse health effects, including an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, obesity, heart attack, high blood pressure or hypertension, and stroke.(8)
The No White Foods diet stresses on lowering your salt intake from processed sources such as condiments, prepackaged meals, and canned foods, as well as table salt.
The healthier alternative to salt is to use colorful herbs and spices. Many herbs and spices are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and other beneficial compounds that have a significant role in reducing inflammation within the body and also help in blood sugar control.(9)
Healthy White Foods
Medical experts often criticize the No White Foods diet because it categorizes all white foods as being unhealthy. The fact is that the color of a food tells very little about its overall nutritional value. This is why this approach to weight loss becomes confusing very quickly.
While it is true that certain white foods are less nutritious than others, but there are also many very healthy and nutritious white foods that should belong in any diet that promotes weight loss and general health. Some of these include:
- Vegetables: Onions, cauliflower, parsnips, mushrooms, garlic, turnips
- Dairy: Milk, cheese, yogurt
- Nuts and seeds: Sesame seeds, pine nuts, cashews
- Meat & Seafood: White fish and poultry
- Others: Coconut and egg whites
While many versions of the Not White Food Diet make exceptions for some white foods such as egg whites and chicken, but others eliminate these healthy white foods as well.
Therefore it is essential that you take a close look at which white foods you are eliminating and whether they will help you achieve your goal or not.
The No White Foods Diet is a popular diet that focuses on excluding all white-colored foods to lose weight. Many of these white foods are derived from heavily processed sources, such as sugars and refined grains, and it makes sense to eliminate them from your diet. They can also be replaced by their healthier alternatives, such as whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
However, evaluating whether to have a particular food or not just by its color is not the best way to follow a diet. Many white-colored foods are actually very nutritious and can support your weight loss goals.
It is best to consume whole and minimally processed foods, regardless of what color they are.
- Gellar, L.A., Schrader, K. and Nansel, T.R., 2007. Healthy eating practices. The Diabetes Educator, 33(4), pp.671-679.
- Jenkins, D.J., Wolever, T.M., Buckley, G., Lam, K.Y., Giudici, S., Kalmusky, J., Jenkins, A.L., Patten, R.L., Bird, J. and Wong, G.S., 1988. Low-glycemic-index starchy foods in the diabetic diet. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 48(2), pp.248-254.
- Rivellese, A., Giacco, A., Genovese, S., Riccardi, G., Pacioni, D., Mattioli, P.L. and Mancini, M., 1980. Effect of dietary fibre on glucose control and serum lipoproteins in diabetic patients. The Lancet, 316(8192), pp.447-450.
- Jonnalagadda, S.S., Harnack, L., Hai Liu, R., McKeown, N., Seal, C., Liu, S. and Fahey, G.C., 2011. Putting the whole grain puzzle together: health benefits associated with whole grains—summary of American Society for Nutrition 2010 Satellite Symposium. The Journal of nutrition, 141(5), pp.1011S-1022S.
- Serra-Majem, L. and Bautista-Castano, I., 2015. Relationship between bread and obesity. British Journal of Nutrition, 113(S2), pp.S29-S35.
- Musa-Veloso, K., Poon, T., Harkness, L.S., O’Shea, M. and Chu, Y., 2018. The effects of whole-grain compared with refined wheat, rice, and rye on the postprandial blood glucose response: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 108(4), pp.759-774.
- Vega-Vega, O., Fonseca-Correa, J.I., Rincón-Pedrero, R., Espinosa-Cuevas, A., Baeza-Arias, Y., Dary, O., Herrero-Bervera, B., Nieves-Anaya, I. and Correa-Rotter, R., 2018. Contemporary dietary intake: Too much sodium, not enough potassium, yet sufficient iodine: The salmex cohort results. Nutrients, 10(7), p.816.
- Bibbins-Domingo, K., Chertow, G.M., Coxson, P.G., Moran, A., Lightwood, J.M., Pletcher, M.J. and Goldman, L., 2010. Projected effect of dietary salt reductions on future cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(7), pp.590-599.
- Jiang, T.A., 2019. Health Benefits of Culinary Herbs and Spices. Journal of AOAC International, 102(2), pp.395-411.