This Trim Healthy Mama review is an opinion piece.
I’ve gotten countless requests over the years to do a Trim Healthy Mama review, so here we are!
I bought the book and was infuriated pretty much as soon as I opened it. In fact, I was clenching my jaw so much while I was writing this, I literally had to put my mouthguard in.
That’s a first in my diet review-writing history.
What Is Trim Healthy Mama?
With its cute butterfly logo, the healthy-looking sisters who authored the book who are just like you (actually, no they’re not, but anyhow), and tagline of ‘keep it simple, keep it sane,’ THM seems like it’s pretty evolved, at least for a commercial diet program.
‘Join the food freedom movement!’ the book proclaims.
But, then comes the language. Cheat. Naughty. ‘Unclean’ meats. ‘Drive-thru Sue’ and ‘Grazing Grace.’ ‘Can-haves.’ ‘slimming beverages’ and ‘Good Girl’ foods.
Oh. My. God. Hold me back.
And in the foreword? This:
‘We want to offer you food sanity. Finally, an ease of eating that flows without having to muster up a lot of self-denial or by making the kitchen a concentration camp.’
As a Hebrew, I’m deeply offended at the comparison of a kitchen to a concentration camp.
It’s just incredibly ignorant.
Soooo, we’re not exactly starting off on the right foot here. But I’ll keep an open mind.
The Trim Healthy Mama Store
There’s a THM online store with THM branded everything from face cream to sweetener to deodorant. There’s a ridiculous window decal announcing to everyone that you’re following this diet. There’s a special stevia spoon called a ‘doonk.’ When your diet contains so much artificial sweetener that you can buy a special spoon for it, that’s maybe a red flag, don’t you think?
The sisters are practicing Christians, and the book (600 pages long) has plenty of biblical references and even a chapter on relationships. What in actual fuck are they doing, giving sex advice in a diet book? What does erectile dysfunction have to do with being a trim healthy mama?
There’s a ton of references to keeping your husband happy, or how he won’t ‘need a raise’ when you start following this diet. Yeesh. I mean, I respect those who choose to live a traditional lifestyle, but I’m not sure this all has a place in a book about food.
The book gets even weirder when the sisters discourage vegan diets because the bible says to eat ‘clean’ meat, and say that the bible is correct over doctors who promote veganism or vegetarianism. They insist that raw diets are bad, because Jesus cooked his food. Although both sisters admit earlier on in the book that they used to be raw diet followers and later in the book, refer to the life-giving properties of raw lettuce.
I’m telling you, you can’t make this shit up. Again, following the bible is a personal preference, but I guess my point here is that choosing biblical philosophy over modern-day research makes this book an opinion piece versus something that’s evidence-based.
Is Trim Healthy Mama a Good Diet?
Just as an aside, even though the sisters said this isn’t a diet, I’m not sure what fairytale world they’re living in. it’s 1000% a diet:
It has rules about what you can and can’t eat.
It focuses on weight loss.
It stipulates being ‘on-plan’ for the long-term in order to maintain your weight.
If this isn’t a diet, I’m not exactly sure what is. Just because a plan doesn’t order you onto the scale doesn’t mean it’s not a diet.
What Is The Trim Healthy Mama Diet?
THM is based on the following rules:
Never eat carbs and fat at the same meal.
Carbs should be limited to sourdough or sprouted breads, fruits (except not fruits like pears, peaches, nectarines, oranges, bananas, etc), and vegetables. NO added sugars are allowed, only stevia and other sweeteners (but NOT Splenda, oh my god!! NOT SPLENDA!!)
Eat every three hours.
In the book, there’s a very stern, all-in-caps warning about the proper food combinations:
NEVER INCLUDE LARGE AMOUNTS OF BOTH FATS AND CARBS IN THE SAME MEAL UNLESS YOU ARE TRYING TO GAIN
OR MAINTAIN WEIGHT. IN OTHER WORDS, DON’T TANDEM FUEL!
If you don’t follow this rule, you will have no control over your body fat.
Look at what they’re saying. Follow our rules or you’ll LOSE CONTROL OVER YOUR FAT.
I’m speechless. I really am. That is fucked up. And FYI – this is not true AT ALL.
Trim Healthy Mama Meals
Meals are categorized into either ’S (satisfying) meals,’ which are high-fat, low-carb, or ‘E,’ (energizing) which are moderate-carb, low-fat.
Both S and E meals contain protein.
Crossover meals are meals that contain both carbs are fats.
A food that’s low in fat and carbs is called a ‘fuel pull,’ and can go in either the E or S group.
A meal that’s based on a fuel-pull food and protein is called a ‘fuel pull meal.’
You can add carbs to a meal with ’S helper’ foods.
Are you still with me here?
I could do an entire post on just the meals, but it’s enough to say that some are high fat, some are moderate carb, you follow the food lists, blah blah blah. Enough.
The sisters talk a lot about net carbs and calories, even though THIS IS NOT A DIET!
They tell followers to cook only with saturated fats, because ‘they’re the only ones that don’t turn to trans-fats with cooking.’ This is unbelievably false. Like, so untrue. Same as when they say that red palm oil ‘fights cancer aggressively.’
I just can’t.
There are plenty of THM recipes, including one for dairy-free cheese made with tahini and collagen (I just threw up a bit in my mouth), a ‘slimming’ coffee made with coffee, collagen, and oil; and a drink called ‘The Shrinker,’ which apparently ‘went viral’ when it was first posted.
This drink “helps shrink your fat cells. The combined thermogenic boosting ingredients promote energy and speed up your metabolism.” (here’s my blog on metabolism)
What a load of bullshit. But THIS IS NOT A DIET!!
Can you see why I’m so irritated right now?
The Shrinker contains a gag-inducing mixture of tea, vanilla extract, almond milk, cayenne pepper, stevia, salt, and cinnamon.
Not only will this ‘shrink’ fat cells and boost metabolism, it will taste like shit.
The Research Behind Trim Healthy Mama
Okay, well, there is none.
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence from overzealous Facebook THM groupies, but this diet isn’t evidence-based at all.
Let’s look at some of their claims.
The sisters talk about phytates, saying that a high-grain diet causes mineral deficiency and all sorts of symptoms, most of which are nebulous (‘the regular blahs’…so scientific).
This is untrue.
They talk a lot about insulin, saying that excess belly fat is always a matter of eating too much carbs. This is categorically untrue. They teach us that a diet high in carbs causes elevated blood sugar, which causes insulin resistance. But that’s not the way it works.
They quote Gary Taubes’ carbohydrate-insulin theory, which has never been proven.
They say that eating fat doesn’t make you fat if carbs are kept to a minimum.
This would be fine, if you’re referring to a ketogenic diet. However, this diet is far from being keto. So this claim doesn’t hold up.
THM’s reasoning behind separating fat and carbohydrates is that cycling low and moderate-carb meals gives your cells a chance to clear themselves of glucose and then be re-fed.
They also claim that meals high in carbs and fat make us fat because our bodies can only deal with one of those macronutrients at a time.
This is oversimplified, sketchy, and absolutely unproven by either basic physiology or research. But that’s not surprising, given that the authors have zero nutrition training.
They also quote a quack doctor from Suzanne Somer’s book. Everything he says is garbage – from soy foods causing cancer to glutamate and manganese being neurotoxic. They concur with him when he says that GMOs cause sterility (they don’t). Who quotes anyone or anything from a Suzanne Somers book? Oh yeah…people who are clueless.
If my 12 year-old daughter wrote a diet book, it would be #THM.
And speaking of 12 year olds, this would be a great time to mention that THM has a ‘kids curriculum’ to teach kids about nutrition.
“They will dive deeper into discovering how keeping a stable blood sugar
is the key to long-lasting health and how eating (or drinking) high amounts of sugar
and devitalized, packaged foods can cause lasting harm.”
Can we talk about ‘lasting harm?’ The kind that comes from teaching kids garbage bullshittery with the THM agenda written all over it?
But one of the worst things the sisters do is backtrack on their assertions.
This sort of crazy-talk is frequent in THM – saying one thing and then backtracking. This isn’t a diet! But wait! You’ll lose weight by following our rules! We don’t count calories! But wait! X food is full of calories! We don’t count carbs! But wait! You have a 45-gram threshold! We only eat according to the bible! But wait! Baked potatoes ‘ignite your blood sugar!’
They put this crap about soy being terrible into their book, then turn the other cheek and say that they’re not trying to speak evil of soy and say that you shouldn’t ever eat it.
It’s confusing, it’s unintelligent, and it’s disingenuous.
In other words, Trim Healthy Mama is clearly written by people who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about and would do everyone a great service by 1. shutting up and 2. taking a university-level course on physiology.
You know what guys?
I’m done. I’m sorry, but I can’t do this anymore. And if you know me, and you know my diet reviews, you’ll know that I really never – maybe except for once – had to cut one off in the middle. But THM is THAT BAD. My Trim Healthy Mama review is done.
I want my $10 back for this shitty, shame-ridden, horribly-illustrated, gross diet book.
It. is. so. fucking. bad.
If you lose weight on Trim Healthy Mama, it’s because you’re cutting calories from all the stupid, crazy rules it has. There’s nothing special or great about it.
Most of the claims and explanations of how the body works and processes food are grossly inaccurate.
My Trim Healthy Mama Review:
This diet is simply a low-carb plan with silly rules and bad information about food and your body.
Don’t listen to people who have no nutrition training.
Just because a ton of people are following a plan, doesn’t mean it’s good. Most often, it means that they’re all completely misled.
When a plan has rules and is focused on weight loss, it’s a diet. Period.