Bone Broth Diet: Brilliant or Bust?

by Sarah book review, weight lossComments: 25

bone broth dietWhen I first heard of the Bone Broth Diet, numerous questions immediately came to mind.

  • Is it a GAPS Diet knock-off designed to mend leaky gut?
  • Is it a mirror image of a raw milk cleanse, just using bone broth instead of dairy?
  • Does the Bone Broth Diet detoxify the body or help you lose weight? Or perhaps a combination of the two?

And most importantly …

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  •  Does it work, or is it just a modern gimmick attempting to cash in on the popularity of a traditional food?

This overview of Dr. Kellyann Petrucci’s bestselling book Bone Broth Diet will give you all these answers and more!

What is Bone Broth Diet?

Dr. Kellyann Petrucci is a certified nutritional consultant and Naturopathic Doctor. She coined the phrase Bone Broth Diet and created the structured weight loss program around the term.

The goal of the regimented plan is to shave off the fat and smooth out wrinkles, all while generally elevating the health of the body. Sound too good to be true and sort of gimmicky? Perhaps so, but Dr. Petrucci uses engaging and easy to read language to demonstrate what exactly makes bone broth “liquid gold” and how it can help you shed pounds without ever having to go hungry.

Bone Broth Diet Plan

Dr.  Petrucci states that the “Bone Broth Diet is basically a 3-week program for taking weight off fast.” How much weight? Specifically, the 21 day slim down program promises that a person can lose 12-15 pounds and 4-6 inches in less than a month. In addition, the bone broth heavy regimen results in a healthier as well as slimmer you.

Bone Broth Fast

How much should you consume when doing the bone broth fasting portion of the diet?

When on a bone broth fast you should be consuming 6 cups of bone broth, or 5 cups with a snack at about 7 p.m. You should do this two nonconsecutive days per week. For the rest of the week, you simply eat three meals a day as usual, making sure that the foods you eat are in accordance with her recommendations for optimal weight loss. Repeat two more times for a total diet time of 3 weeks.

It’s that easy!

In addition to using bone broth as the pillar of her weight loss plan, Dr. Petrucci lays out different aspects to effective weight loss in her plan to make you thin. The first, though, is to add bone broth do your diet!

Best Bone Broth for Fasting

What bone broth is best to use when undertaking the bone broth diet?

Good news! When fasting on bone broth, almost any properly prepared broth will do. Dr. Petrucci recommends any of them, although making chicken or beef bone broth is arguably the easiest and most accessible for most people.

Exceptions to this include shrimp broth, which involves using the shells of seafood rather than bones, and bonito broth, which uses dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna. Broth from bouillon cubes whether homemade or commercial is also not allowed.

Otherwise, use the optimal bone broth that fits your budget and local availability for quality bones. This includes pork broth, basic chicken or beef broth, turkey broth, fishhead broth, duck broth, and even rabbit stock! In addition, barbecue bone broth is permitted, which adds enjoyable smoky flavor to the diet.

Can you Buy the Bone Broth Needed for this Diet?

It is best to make your own broth for this diet especially the two days per week of bone broth fasting. The reason? Commercial versions even if authentic are watered down (every single one I’ve tested). They don’t gel in the refrigerator, in other words, like when you make it yourself. What’s more they are typically packaged in plastic or plastic lined aseptic cartons. If packaged aseptically, the broth is boiling hot when poured into the packaging, which ensures leaching. So, if you must buy bone broth, get it packaged in glass from companies like Epic Bone Broth.

Another possible option is if you have a healthfood store deli locally that makes authentic bone broth. I am lucky to have one near me. The photo below shows the wonderful bubbling pot of chicken broth that is available most days. It gels beautifully when refrigerated too, so they are making it just like you would at home with no watering down.

chicken bone broth at healthfood store

How Bone Broth Facilitates Losing Weight

So what exactly does bone broth do for your body that no other food can do by itself?

According to Dr. Petrucci, the benefits of bone broth include the following:

  • Eliminates hunger without adding pounds: This aspect is extremely important for losing weight because you are not tempted to eat all the time.
  • Builds collagen: Collagen helps heal wrinkles and prevent new ones.
  • Helps rid the body of toxins: Energizes your body on the cellular level
  • Restores your gut: Prevents digestive problems like diverticulitis and IBS.
  • Soothes your joints and helps resolve symptoms of arthritis: Feel great when you move and exercise!
  • Helps rid the body of inflammation which can cause weight gain. Remove inflammation, and voila!, you lose weight.

Bone Broth Diet for Vegetarians

Unfortunately, vegetarians aren’t suited to the Bone Broth Diet. Making proper bone broth requires the meat and bones of animals. Vegetable broth does not have the same benefits as animal based bone broth, and so is not an option in this plan.

The one exception is pesco vegetarians who eat fish. Fish broth is included as an option in Bone Broth Diet. Hence, these vegetarians could benefit from Dr. Petrucci’s program.

Replace Fat Storing Foods with Fat Burning Foods

An important aspect of losing weight in Bone Broth Diet is to replace the foods that encourage your body to store fat with foods that will get rid of it fast.

Dr. Petrucci details what exactly is wrong with what your doctor is telling you about weight loss, and how you can fix it. She describes how eating too many high carb foods such as bread, pasta, and white potatoes dulls your body’s response to insulin, causing it to store more fat.

She describes how omega-6 vegetable oils are invading your diet under the guise of doctor-recommended fats. These include canola oil and corn oil. Polyunsaturated omega-6 fats rob the body of what you really need, namely omega-3 fatty acids.

She warns about how soy damages your thyroid gland, leading to hypothyroidism, a leading cause of obesity.

And her final point. You’re probably not eating enough egg yolks! Egg yolks, along with other foods such as avocado and cocoa, burn fat. In sum, Dr. Petrucci’s food recommendations limits the types of food you eat on the days you are not fasting on bone broth. This allows for optimal, effective and safe weight loss.

Bone Broth Diet Shopping List

As mentioned above, the Bone Broth Diet involves two days of bone broth fasting with 5 days of 3 meal per day eating for a total of 21 days.

What can a person eat on the 5 days when food is allowed? Examination of Dr. Petrucci’s website reveals that it basically involves a restrictive Paleo Dietary regimen. So, if you’ve tried eating Paleo in the past and it didn’t work for you, this might be your first clue that attempting the Bone Broth Diet might be a bust as well.

The goal of this regimen is to put a person into ketosis, where fat is being burned for energy instead of carbs. Rapid weight loss is a clue that a person has achieved ketosis according to Dr. Petrucci. Prior to achieving ketosis, a person may experience what is known as the “carb flu”. Symptoms during this short period of adjustment can sometimes include flu-like symptoms, fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches, dizziness and mental fog.

Bone Broth Diet Food Restrictions

  • Grains (even gluten free ones)
  • Legumes (including peanuts)
  • Dairy (except ghee)
  • Agave nectar, coconut sugar, stevia or other sweeteners (except raw honey)
  • White potatoes (sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, winter squash allowed)
  • No eating after 7pm

Important note: if any of the dietary restrictions are violated within the 21 day Bone Broth Diet, the clock restarts to day 1. This means a single donut or piece of pizza can derail all your efforts even if it happens on Day 20.

Foods Allowed on Bone Broth Diet

  • Bone broth (all kinds except fish stock made with oily fish)
  • Coffee
  • Tea (both herbal and caffeinated version like matcha)
  • Yerba maté
  • Meat, eggs, fish, other animal proteins
  • Fresh herbs for seasoning. Utilizing cinnamon for weight loss may prove helpful.
  • Unsweetened non-dairy beverages (coconut milk and almond milk are recommended along with other healthy milk substitutes).
  • Honey
  • All nuts (closed handful per day only)
  • All fruit (sparingly, spread throughout the day to prevent sugar spike)
  • Most vegetables

Bone Broth Diet Meal Plan

Since the diet is quite restrictive even on eating days, a Bone Broth Diet meal plan is fairly straightforward to put together. This PDF includes a complete one week shopping list and meal plan for the Bone Broth Diet to get you started.

Benefits of Bone Broth Diet

What I have given you here is just the bare bones (pun intended!) of the content of Dr. Kellyann Petrucci’s Bone Broth Diet.

To get to the “meat” you need to read the book, and yes, it is worth the read.

Dr. Kellyann’s book contains many tips, tricks, and strategies for helping you along your 21 day path to weight loss and a healthier body. It also speaks to what you should do after the 21 days are up, and even how to cheat on your diet (post 21 days) without gaining back any pounds or wrinkles.

Along with all this, there are testimonials from people who have succeeded going through the diet and are experiencing the results, as well as delving deeper into the properties of bone broth, the secret healing factors behind collagen and gelatin, and more.

Bone Broth Diet Reviews

To conclude this review, here are few personal testaments of how the Bone Broth Diet plan worked to take off weight. These examples are cited in the book itself.

Positive Testimonials

Lora Probert: When talking about the fact that she didn’t crave junk food after the 21 day diet, she says, “That to me has been really, really amazing. That I feel like I have control over my food and I’m not missing the chocolate and the cake and the ice cream. It’s been life changing for me.”

Stephanie Miley: “I initially started this diet becauses I have was having frequent breakouts of shingles. I’m not big on meds, so I tried to find alternatives to resolve this issue. And this worked for me. Within the first 21 days, I haven’t had any breakouts, and I also lost the weight. I lost 14 pounds, and I think it was 6 inches off my waist.”

Nadine Leonardi: “I was pleased to see a drop in weight [11 pounds], as nothing else has worked in the last 3 years. Well worth the effort!”

Dolores Griffin: “My mood has been amazing, I’m happy, I feel good, and I have so much more energy than I did. I feel it in my gut. When I look at the measurements, I have lost about 4 inches around there, which is amazing. It’s awesome. You’ve got to try it yourself. You’ve got to feel the amazement after 21 days.”

Beverly Deitch: “I talked to the nurse practitioner today, and she reduced my insulin from 20 units down to 8. I lost 9 pounds…I have this energy I didn’t have before.”

Denise Townsend-Gamblin: “This diet taught me a better way to eat and manage my approach to food…I have osteoarthritis in both my knees. I know it comes from inflammation, and as soon as my knees are swollen or I’ve done too much, they hurt. They don’t hurt now.”

80/20 Plan: Life After Bone Broth Diet

A common question for those considering embarking upon Bone Broth Diet is this:  What happens after the 21 days of bone broth fasting and Paleo eating?

The answer is, not much changes.

According to Dr. Petrucci, life after Bone Broth Diet is essentially a Paleo dietary lifestyle. She writes that this is necessary in order to maintain the 12-15 pound, 4-6 inches weight loss achieved during the first 21 days. The one caveat is that 20% of the time, a person can “cheat” by eating grains, legumes, dairy or sweet foods. She calls this the 80/20 Plan and allows more normalized eating after weight loss and less chance for a yo-yo dieting effect.

Is this diet effective? Only you can be the judge. Since it doesn’t seem to involve any gimmicks and promotes healthy traditional foods, it’s probably worth a shot. If you don’t want to eat mostly Paleo long-term, however, it’s best to consider other options such as using coconut oil for weight loss. Another option is The Harcombe Diet, which involves no fasting, is Real Food based, and includes grains. Whatever you do, though, stay away from faddish and dangerous protocols like the Dukan Diet or those based on ever-changing modern nutritional theory such as the DASH Diet!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

The Healthy Home Economist holds a Master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Mother to 3 healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, ABC, NBC, and many others.

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