What Is the GOLO Diet—and Can It Help You Lose Weight?

It's one of the most searched-for diets—here's what a nutritionist has to say about it.

There are many weight-loss diets, with new plans sprouting yearly. Many quickly fade away, but the GOLO program has shown some staying power. 

In 2016, GOLO was one of the top diets searched online, continuing to generate buzz. Here's what you should know about the plan, what the research says about it, and whether you should try it.

What Is GOLO?

Rather than limiting carbs or fat, the GOLO plan (developed by a team of doctors and pharmacists, according to the company) focuses on balancing hormones.

The GOLO philosophy is that hormone imbalances are stress and anxiety triggers, leading to:

  • Fatigue
  • Hunger
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Overeating
  • Binge eating
  • Emotional eating

GOLO’s creators state that diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to generate lasting weight loss. To supplement those healthy habits, they created a patented capsule they refer to as Release, which is an integral part of the program.

The Supplement GOLO Dieters Take

According to the GOLO website, the Release capsule has plant extracts and other minerals that help physically and psychologically manage weight. The company claims that the Release capsule also optimizes blood sugar and insulin regulation, balances hormones, extends hunger, and controls cravings.

GOLO directs you to take the Release capsule with meals for the entirety of the program. Although, the program recommends reducing the dose if you only have 10 to 20 pounds to lose or if you are losing more than four pounds per week. They also advise phasing out the supplement once you reach your goal weight.

According to studies done by the company, study participants on the GOLO plan lost, on average, a total of 37.4 pounds (16.1% of body weight) and 6.4 inches around their waists. They also dropped more than three dress sizes and five pants sizes.

GOLO further says that a randomized double-blind placebo controlled study on overweight subjects in 2018 showed that those who took the Release capsule lost significantly more weight and waist inches than those who took a placebo. However, keep in mind: The sample size was very small, only including 68 participants. 

However, remember that GOLO funded and conducted all of those studies. The research isn’t documented in the peer-reviewed National Library of Medicine database. The peer-review process validates and reaffirms the findings of scientific studies.

Additionally, the amounts of the various ingredients in the Release capsule are unknown because the formulation is patented. But according to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, some components may trigger nausea or digestive upset. 

It's also important to remember that all of the participants followed a specific eating and exercise plan that assisted in weight loss. Therefore, those other factors, in addition to the Release capsule, likely influenced the participants' weight loss journeys.

What Reviewers Say About GOLO

Since 2008, the GOLO plan has been available on Amazon and the brand's website. One bottle of the Release capsule, which GOLO guarantees help you lose 10 to 20 pounds, costs $59.95. However, the various prices of the products and programs vary.

As of October 2022, the GOLO Release Diet Supplement has an average rating of 3.4 out of five stars based on over 70 reviews on Amazon. Some Amazon reviewers state that the diet consists of typical healthy foods, including produce, lean protein, healthy fats, and unprocessed carbs, in smaller portions, along with encouragement to exercise.

However, the diet plan details aren’t explicitly stated in the marketing materials. Although, GOLO claims that users can eat more food, lose weight, and eat foods they love. 

One reviewer noted that the program suggests cooking a week’s worth of food ahead of time, which may be unrealistic for some. Also, although a handful of customers praised the simple meal plans, one reviewer noted that the lack of an app for tracking presented a challenge.

Several reviewers stated that they did not lose weight. But to be fair, it’s unclear how many of those reviewers were carefully following the plan or if they utilized the GOLO membership—including access to online coaches.

A Quick Review

The bottom line: There is a lot of unknown info. 

The GOLO plan is challenging to evaluate without third-party, peer-reviewed research on the diet and the Release capsule supplement. Also, you must purchase the plan to know the exact parameters of the diet. What’s allowed and not allowed, as well as the nutritional composition of suggested meal plans, is not precise because this information is not found on the company’s website.

Without independent data on the Release capsule, it’s difficult to say if it leads to better results and if it’s safe for all. 

But here’s what we know: Many people have successfully lost weight and kept it off by simply consuming whole-food-based, balanced meals, eating mindfully, garnering support, and being active. Those healthy habits don’t require pills, booklets, or memberships.

Before deciding if GOLO is suitable for you, talk to your healthcare provider about the appropriateness of the ingredients in the Release capsule based on your current health and medications. And consider other options backed by published studies, such as the DASH and MIND diets.

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health's contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.

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Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. GOLO. How to create your weight loss plan.

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  4. GOLO. Studies.

  5. Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. Peering more closely at peer review.

  6. GOLO. GOLO shop online.

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