GOLO Weight Loss Program
GOLO is a commercial weight loss program based on a dual approach; the GOLO for Life Meal Plan along with Release, their proprietary dietary supplement. GOLO claims that the combination of the diet and the supplement reduces insulin resistance and increases metabolic rate to promote an average weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. The program also encourages a minimum of 15 minutes of exercise daily and offers online social support and information on topics such as meal preparation and behavior change. The GOLO website presents anecdotal reports of weight loss from 20 to over 100 pounds in those who take Release and follow the Meal Plan. The GOLO Program is available only by purchasing the Release supplement. A 30-day supply of Release costs about $60; the Meal Plan and online support are provided at no additional cost.
The Meal Plan encourages eating whole foods while minimizing highly processed ones. It recommends consuming 3 meals daily with choices from 4 food groups: Proteins (lean meats, dairy, and soy), Carbohydrates (legumes, fruits, and whole grains), Vegetables (green, starchy, and other vegetables), and Fats (butter, olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds). Processed foods, sugar, and sweetened baked goods and beverages should be limited. Calorie recommendations generally range from 1,300 to 1,800 Calories per day depending on the individual’s gender, age, weight, and activity level.
The Release supplement is a combination of minerals and plant extracts to be taken 3 times per day with, or following, meals. GOLO claims that this supplement promotes weight loss by regulating metabolism, reducing insulin resistance, and diminishing food cravings and triggers for emotional eating. They also assert that Release improves mental focus, sleep, and immune function; reduces anxiety; and increases energy and stamina. While the minerals in Release, magnesium, chromium, and zinc, are all necessary for normal insulin action and blood glucose regulation, intakes in excess of recommendations have not been shown to improve insulin function. The plant extracts in Release have not been shown to have any negative effects in healthy individuals. However, there is little data that the amounts in the supplement promote weight loss; reduce blood glucose, anxiety, or food cravings; or increase energy level and stamina. Because Release is a dietary supplement, the FDA does not regulate its safety or efficacy.
According to the GOLO website, the effectiveness of Release is supported by over 100 research studies. This is an exaggeration. Although there are many studies on the effects of the various components of the supplement on weight and other outcomes, there are only two studies of the GOLO program – both of which are funded by GOLO. One is a small pilot study that concluded that GOLO participants lost weight and had improved glycemic control. The other is a larger study that compared the effect of the GOLO diet with and without the supplement. The supplement group lost about 6 pounds more than the placebo group over the 13-week study and showed greater improvement in metabolic parameters. Despite these promising results, there is no data to indicate that the long-term effectiveness of GOLO is any better than any other diet.
Bottom line: The GOLO Meal Plan is based on solid nutrition principles; it can promote weight loss and improve blood glucose levels. While some of the claims made regarding the Release supplement are not supported by substantial peer reviewed research, there is little risk associated with taking Release or following the meal plan.
• The Release supplement is not recommended during pregnancy or lactation.
• Individuals with diabetes should work with their primary care provider while on the program as their medication needs may change.
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Buynak RJ. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effects of the GOLO weight management program with and without Release supplement on weight and metabolic parameters in subjects with obesity. Trends Diabetes Metab. 2019; 2:1-2. doi: 10.15761/TDM.1000109
Buynak RJ. Pilot study on the Effects of the GOLO Weight Management Program and RELEASE Supplement on Weight and Glycemic Control in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Obesity. Diabetes Updates 2019; 5: DOI: 10.15761/DU.1000125
Forbes Health. Lauretta A. GOLO Diet Review (2023): Cost, Benefits And More.
https://www.forbes.com/health/body/golo-diet-review/. Accessed June 28, 2023.
GOLO for Life. https://www.golo.com/. Accessed June 28, 2023.