What is the Galveston Diet? How it works, pros and cons, meal plan

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Diets that fight inflammation are here to stay. Anti-inflammatory diets like the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet have been around for a while and are legitimate options for anyone looking to improve their health with the added benefit of weight loss. In recent years, a new anti-inflammatory diet that was created specifically for women has become very popular – the Galveston Diet.

The Galveston Diet was developed for women in all stages of menopause, including perimenopause, who want to avoid weight gain and may be struggling to lose weight during these stages of life. It can also help with common hormonal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats and brain fog. Their website has a community of 100,000 members.

So where did this diet come from? It was developed by Mary Claire Haver, MD, Texas obstetrician, 2017. Dr. Haver used to tell “his patients to eat less and exercise more. It wasn’t until she, too, experienced the changes of menopause and midlife weight gain that she realized this advice doesn’t work,” and this led her to create the Galveston Diet, according to the diet’s website.

The Galveston Diet consists of three main components: intermittent fasting, an anti-inflammatory approach to nutrition, and changing your nutritional intake to fuel the body, according to the diet’s website. Dr. Haver “carefully distilled the complex concepts of [her] even researches easily digestible nuggets and has tested them with resounding success.” One of his goals is to help followers leave quick fixes behind and build sustainable habits that will last a lifetime.

Learn more about what the Galveston Diet entails, what you can and cannot eat while on it, and this is the right weight loss plan for you.

Meet the experts: Roxana EhsaniRD, CSSD, LDN, is an adjunct professor who teaches sports nutrition at Virginia Tech.

Anya Rosen, RD, is a nutritionist and founder of Birchwell.

What is the Galveston Diet?

“The diet is said to be an anti-inflammatory diet similar to the Mediterranean diet, but also includes 16:8 intermittent fasting,” says nutritionist Roxana Ehsani, RD, CSSD, LDN. (FYI: This is when you eat during an eight-hour window and then abstain from food for the remaining 16 hours of the day.) “The diet limits processed foods that contain added sugar, artificial ingredients, colors, and flavorings. , white flour, foods with high fructose corn syrup, alcohol, fried foods and vegetable oils.

The diet is all the rage because more and more middle-aged women are struggling to lose weight and are starting to recognize that it’s largely due to hormonal changes, says Anya Rosen, RD, founder of birchwella virtual integrative health clinic.

The Galveston Diet is a self-paced, pay-as-you-go program that comes with a set of recipes, exercises, and motivational reflections. You can pay a one-time fee of $59 just for the program, or $99 to also get the additional digital tools (including an online guide, journal, and collection of recipes), or you can sign up for a subscription for $49 a month to get it all. plus weekly live group coaching sessions, according to the website.

Dr. Haver is also expected to release his Galveston Diet book of the same name in January 2023, which will include 40 recipes and six weeks of meal plans.

Is the Galveston Diet the same as the Keto Diet?

The Galveston diet and the keto diet share many similarities. “The Galveston Diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet where about 70% of your calories come from fat, 20% from protein, and 9% from carbohydrates,” explains Ehsani. “This is the low carb phase of the diet. The duration looks different for everyone and is based on how much weight the person wants to lose.”

Your carb intake is increased to a moderate level after some time on the Galveston Diet, which is different from the keto diet, in which you stay low carb long-term to stay in ketosis, where your body burns fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.

The Galveston Diet is also different from the keto diet in that it specifies which types of fat you should be consuming. It includes healthy fats (eg olive oil, nuts and seeds) and excludes inflammatory ones (eg butter and red meat), says Rosen.

In short, the Galveston Diet may be a healthier option between the two. “Because it recognizes that the quality of food is as important as the amount of macronutrients, it offers better health than the traditional keto diet,” says Rosen.

What can you eat on the Galveston Diet?

There are many delicious foods you can incorporate into the Galveston Diet, including the following.

  • Fruits (low sugar): Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
  • Legumes (low in starch): Greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, zucchini, broccoli
  • Lean proteins: Chicken, salmon, tuna, turkey, eggs
  • Legumes: Beans (chickpeas, black beans), lentils, nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, chia seeds)
  • Whole grains: Whole grain bread, brown rice, quinoa, barley, oats, buckwheat
  • dairy products: Milk, yogurt, cheese
  • Healthy fats: Olive oil, avocado oil

What foods are not allowed on the Galveston Diet?

The Galveston Diet encourages you to stay away from pro-inflammatory foods with no nutritional value, which can cause weight gain and offer little overall health benefit, says Ehsani. You are probably already familiar with at least some of them.

  • white flour: White bread, baked goods like muffins, cookies, cakes, cookies, pretzels
  • Foods with High Fruit Corn Syrup: soft drinks, desserts, syrups
  • Alcohol: Beer, wine, liquor
  • Fried foods: French fries, fried chicken sandwiches
  • Vegetable oils: Canola or vegetable oil
  • Foods that contain added sugar: Sweetened yogurts, sweetened cereals, cookies, candy
  • Processed meats: Salami, bacon, sausage

What does a sample meal plan for the Galveston Diet look like?

If you’re curious about this diet, here’s a six-day meal plan provided by Ehsani and Rosen that you can check out.

Day 1

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with vegetables such as tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms cooked in olive oil and a cup of berries
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken breast cooked in olive oil on a bed of mixed greens and avocado
  • Dinner: Shrimp with Zucchini Pasta
  • Snacks: Cashews and Strawberries

Day 2

  • Breakfast: Greek Yogurt Bowl with Berries and Almond Butter and Chia Seeds
  • Lunch: Portobello mushrooms stuffed with minced meat
  • Dinner: Pumpkin spaghetti made with ground beef and vegetarian marinara sauce
  • Snacks: hummus with celery

Day 3

  • Breakfast: Blueberry smoothie with collagen and spinach leaves
  • Lunch: Bunless Beef Burger served over grilled vegetables such as eggplant, lettuce, tomato, avocado and onion
  • Dinner: Baked salmon with asparagus and cauliflower rice
  • Snacks: Cheese slices and pea pies

Day 4

  • Breakfast: Plain Greek Yogurt with Chia Seeds, Chopped Nuts and Raspberries
  • Lunch: Salad with spinach, grilled chicken, cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, vinegar and oil
  • Dinner: Roasted salmon with roasted asparagus
  • Lunch: Two hard-boiled eggs seasoned with everything but the bagel

Day 5

  • Breakfast: Vegetable omelette cooked in avocado oil with a side of red fruits
  • Lunch: Roasted Bell Peppers with Lean Ground Turkey and Zucchini Topped with Diced Avocado
  • Dinner: Spaghetti squash with lean ground turkey and crushed tomatoes
  • Lunch: Baby carrots dipped in Greek yogurt-based tzatziki


  • Breakfast: Chia seed pudding with crushed almonds and blueberries
  • Lunch: Salad with spring mix, grilled shrimp, red onion, avocado and olive oil
  • Dinner: Cauliflower Rice Taco Bowl with Lean Ground Beef, Bell Peppers and Guacamole
  • Lunch: Celery Sticks with Almond Butter

What are the pros and cons of the Galveston diet?

The Galveston Diet does not require you to count calories, which may work better for some people. And the diet focuses on helping you develop healthy eating and exercise habits that will set you up for long-term success, rather than restricting and crash dieting.

If you are new to the 16:8 diet, it may prevent you from eating or late night eating. On the other hand, it can cause some people to overeat during the eating window to avoid feelings of hunger later on when they shouldn’t be eating.

Also, you can tweak the Galveston Diet to make it work for plant-based eaters. “It can be vegetarian or vegan, but the diet itself doesn’t eliminate animal foods,” says Rosen.

The only downside is that there haven’t been any clinical trials or research done on this diet, so it’s hard to say for sure whether it’s effective in lowering inflammation, reducing menopausal symptoms, or helping with weight loss (unlike the Mediterranean diet, which research has shown can decrease inflammation). But if the reviews are any indication, many women who have tried this diet have achieved their weight loss goals and felt healthier and more confident than before.

And TBH, the diet is pretty safe to try. Just be sure to check with your doctor before taking the plunge, especially if you’re immunosuppressed or have diabetes or a history of eating disorders, because intermittent fasting isn’t recommended if any of these apply to you.