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golo diet foods

What is the GOLO diet and does it really work for weight loss?

23 Nov 2022 • 3 min read


Have you heard of the GOLO? This diet became popular around 2016 – one of the most searched for diets - and has been gaining momentum in the weight-loss world ever since, but does it actually work?

With the help of our in-house nutritionist, we will research and review the GOLO diet, so you don’t have to.

What is the GOLO diet?


Although it is known as the GOLO diet, the GOLO Release supplement and Metabolic Plan claim to have nothing to do with the diet industry. In fact, they condemn it.

Their theory is that most diets and diet products simply take your money, maybe help you to lose weight initially, but ultimately cause you to put it all back on and then some.

Now, this all sounds pretty sensible at the moment, what seems less sensible is what GOLO blames for all this weight loss and diet failure: insulin resistance.

The whole GOLO diet is based around improving your insulin resistance in order to lose weight and keep it off. They provide you with the supplement and a diet handbook called the Metabolic Plan to help you do this.


  • The GOLO diet focuses on insulin resistance as the main reason why diets fail
  • It claims that insulin resistance needs to be fixed in order to lose fat and keep it off

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is when the cells in our body don’t react normally to the hormone insulin. It often leads to prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.1

Insulin’s main role is to allow cells in our body to absorb glucose, which is then used as fuel or saved for later use as body fat.

When insulin isn’t released properly when we need it – when there is glucose in the blood stream after we eat or drink foods containing sugars or protein – the body can struggle with dangerously high sugar levels.

Then, in a panic, our bodies will often produce too much insulin, which isn’t healthy either.


  • Insulin helps our cells receive glucose
  • It helps maintain normal blood sugar levels
  • Insulin resistance is when our body doesn’t release insulin properly when we need it
  • Insulin resistance can lead to prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes

All about counting calories

Counting calories – want to learn more about it? This article provides a useful overview of all things calorie-related, from totting them up to the best way to lose weight.

Why does the GOLO diet focus on insulin resistance?

GOLO claims that each time you lose weight on a yo-yo diet that doesn’t last, your insulin resistance will worsen.2

They claim this will slow down your metabolism, affect the hormones that control your weight, cause fat storage, and increase your chances of developing serious health conditions.

The GOLO diet focuses on the hormone insulin as being the main issue for people who are doing everything right but still can't seem to lose weight.

The GOLO program's website claims that out-of-whack insulin levels can interfere with weight loss, even if you’re eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, as it causes fat storage and slows your metabolism.”3

What we think about it:

Insulin is not the master regulator of body fat storage and there is a large body of evidence comparing weight loss in people with diabetes using a low carbohydrate or high carbohydrate approach showing no difference in overall fat loss. High insulin does not prevent fat loss as this is determined by your overall calorie intake.


  • GOLO seems to be wrong about their claims on insulin and fat storage / fat loss
  • Insulin resistance alone does not cause your body to hold onto fat
  • Insulin resistance and high insulin levels may not be healthy, but insulin is not a sole regulator of fat loss and energy balance

So, how do you explain all the weight loss success stories and studies on the GOLO website? We think there may be more important factors at play than mere insulin when it comes to GOLO.

What do you eat on GOLO diet?

GOLO is often sold in membership-length bundles, e.g. 30-, 60-, or 90-days’ worth of the GOLO Release weight loss supplement (that is supposed to manipulate how your body distributes insulin…), along with diet guidance called the ‘Metabolic Plan’.

The diet requires no calorie counting, doesn’t cut out any food groups, and

The Metabolic Plan simply advises you to eat the following food groups:4

  • Fresh meat
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Healthy fats
  • Fresh breads
  • Pasta
  • Butter

GOLO claims that is it not a fad or conventional diet, and instead provides you with a realistic and manageable plan to target a slow metabolism.

The meals in the plan seen to be quite healthy yet substantial. GOLO claim following the plan and taking their supplement will result in a leaner body mass, with inch loss from all over your body, including your waist.

It doesn’t even demonise ‘indulgent’ foods, claiming that ‘as your metabolism improves, your body is able to steadily burn fat and not store it, even if you indulge.’

What we think about it:

“Encouraging a healthy, balanced diet with no food off-limits is a positive thing. The GOLO Metabolic Plan encourages nourishing your body with a variety of nutrients and fuel your metabolism instead of depriving it like you would in a regular crash diet – which again, is very sensible guidance”.5


  • Fresh meat, fruit, vegetables, healthy fats, fresh breads, pasta, and butter are all on the menu
  • GOLO’s Metabolic Plan seems to be based on pretty sound nutritional advice
  • You don’t have to count calories
  • No foods are off limits
  • It could help people to start eating more healthily long-term, rather than constantly dieting, gaining weight and dieting again

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How do the GOLO Release supplements work?

A big part of GOLO for life is the Release supplement you are told to take several times a day while adhering to the Metabolic Plan.6

GOLO claim that this patented supplement is all-natural, plant and mineral based, and supports:

  • Fat burning
  • Insulin control
  • A faster metabolism
  • Hunger control
  • Immune function
  • Weight loss

And this is ‘The Science Behind GOLO’ that they have on their website:7

“Controlling glucose, maintaining healthy insulin levels and eliminating conventional starvation dieting is the secret to lasting weight loss and wellness. Now you can easily reach your goals and enjoy food without guilt or fear of gaining weight. You simply take 1 Release with your meals, eat balanced meals, and eliminate diet foods.”

So how does it do that?

GOLO claim that this supplement consists of 7 plant extracts and 3 minerals blended together to stop weight gain and reverse insulin resistance in your body so that is can release stored fat.

Apparently, it can target visceral fat by balancing carbohydrate- and fat-regulating hormones, and controls cravings, stress and hunger in between meals.

GOLO Release contains the following extracts:

  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Chromium
  • Rhodiola
  • Inositol
  • Berberine HCI
  • Gardenia
  • Banaba
  • Salacia
  • Apple

GOLO claim that the ingredients in Release work together to help you achieve steady weight loss that is sustainable by:

  • Controlling sugar cravings
  • Supporting normal blood glucose metabolism
  • Increasing stamina and energy
  • Balancing the key hormones that affect weight

Other benefits include:

  • Can be phased out as your metabolism speeds up
  • No unpleasant side effects
  • Stimulant-free, caffeine-free, gluten-free
  • Made from non-GMO ingredients
  • Has over 100 studies supporting the efficacy and safety of the ingredients*

*What they fail to mention on the GOLO website it where to find the data and results of most of these studies."

They do mention (but not link to) one study on their website where overweight people taking Release lost significantly more inches around their waists, overall weight, as well as lowered their health risk markers more than the participants who received a placebo.

However, this is the only information provided, and further information on this study or any of their other studies is not currently available.

What we think about it:

The GOLO website claims that the ingredients in release have been proven for their efficacy and safety in over 30 studies, but without that information, it is hard to believe.

As mentioned above, they do contain one study with some vague information on it, but again, there’s a severe lack of information on exactly how this supplement can ‘work together to address the underlying cause of weight gain and help support your metabolism’.

However, Release does contain chromium, which can help to maintain normal blood sugar levels, and consequently reduce cravings and help to regulate appetite, so that’s something in GOLO’s favour.

Another thing to be wary of is GOLO’s claim that Release:

  • Does not affect any medications you may be taking
  • Will not cause any unpleasant side effects

Also, it is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA - its country of origin.


  • The GOLO Release supplement contains various plant extracts and minerals
  • They claim it has multiple benefits, including hormone balance, reduced cravings, increased energy, to name a few
  • The evidence for these claims is scant and they need more substantiation to be considered legitimate
  • Chromium may help people maintain normal blood sugar levels, reduce cravings and regulate appetite

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How much does GOLO cost?

Each GOLO plan varies in price, with the 30-60 day option + GOLO for Life Plan costing $49.95 and the 90-150 day option costing $99.90, making it quite costly indeed.

Is GOLO over the counter?

Yes, you do not need a prescription to purchase GOLO products.

Can GOLO help me lose weight?

Nobody can really answer that for sure as everyone is different and different things work for everyone. However, here’s what we found from the GOLO website and what our nutritionist thinks about it.

Have people lost weight on the GOLO diet?

According to their one study on their website, supposed other studies, GOLO diet reviews and success story page on their website: yes!

For example, one couple claim to have lost 200lbs together in just 1 year since using GOLO and ‘everything about GOLO worked’ for them. Another woman lost 51lbs and 29 inches in 37 weeks and can ‘now enjoy activities’ with her family and is now her husband’s ‘hiking buddy’.

GOLO also share the following health benefits their customers have reported:

  • Reduced stubborn belly fat
  • Eliminated sugar cravings
  • Reduced Insulin resistance
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Lowered cholesterol
  • Lowered triglycerides
  • Increased energy and stamina

What we think about it:

The GOLO Release supplement may help people to lose weight, but it’s unregulated and its health claims are not backed up by sufficient studies – one’s that are available to review anyway. The studies you can access are funded by GOLO too, which suggests that the results may not be totally reliable.

However, this is not to say that some of the individual ingredients in Release may support weight loss. Chromium, for example, has been proven to help maintain healthy blood sugars, which can reduce cravings and regulate appetite.

The real benefits of the GOLO diet plan, which may be helping people lose weight the most, is the teaching and encouragement provided to help people make long-lasting healthy lifestyle changes.

Eating a balanced diet full of the nutrients you need and not restricting any foods can lead to a healthier relationship to food and cause the body to maintain a healthy weight. These are key weight loss principles.

Although not explicitly prescribed, exercise is encouraged in the plan, which will help people eating a healthy, balanced diet to achieve the calorie deficit needed for weight loss.

The focus on insulin resistance as the main factor in weight and fat gain is not based in scientific fact, so be wary of this part.


  • There are lots of GOLO weight loss success stories online, but very little scientific date to back their general claims up
  • The balanced diet GOLO promotes and long-term lifestyle changes could help you to lose weight
  • They also said some of the ingredients in Release could support weight management, like chromium, but that doesn’t mean the supplement as a whole is particularly effective

So yes, GOLO could help you to lose weight, but it may have more to do with to its general advice on diet and making life-long changes rooted in key weight-loss principles.

If you want some more general diet and weight management advice that you don’t have to get shipped from the USA, you may enjoy:

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 12 May 2021

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Author: Alex GloverSenior Nutritionist

Joined Holland & Barrett: Apr 2018

MSc in Clinical Nutrition, Registered Associate Nutritionist, MNU Certification Nutrition Science

Alex started his career in nutrition at Holland & Barrett in 2018 and went on to pursue his studies in the field of clinical nutrition at the University of Aberdeen. With research projects completed in areas such as the gut microbiome, vitamin D & immunity as well as the effects of the maternal diet on chronic diseases in children. Alex has worked with our customers both in store and now is part of our product formulation team.

The areas Alex specialises in are metabolic diseases, diet and immunity and the gut microbiome. Alex has worked with numerous clients in weight management and preaches evidence based nutrition.

In his spare time, Alex likes to weightlift, hike and of course eat. 

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