What Is the Galveston Diet?

This diet claims to "crack the code" on needs of aging women. Here's what you need to know.

May 05, 2021
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Photo by: Zia Soleil/Getty Images

Zia Soleil/Getty Images

Created by an OB-GYN with promises to “crack the code” on the needs of aging women, the Galveston diet claims to target hormonal shifts and undesired weight gain associated with menopause. You may have seen this diet mentioned on Tik Tok and other social media platforms — and if you haven’t heard about this diet yet, you probably will soon. Here’s what to know .

What Is the Galveston Diet?

The brainchild of OB-GYN Dr. Mary Claire Haver, the Galveston plan emphasizes nutrients that are especially important to middle age women including high fiber and anti-inflammatory foods. The additional layer of this plan relies on daily intermittent fasting. The website reads:

“The Galveston Diet helps women reach their health and wellness goals through an anti-inflammatory approach to nutrition. Dr. Haver believes in the power of nutrition to combat inflammation and highly recommends the unlimited benefits of intermittent fasting.”

This is a for-pay program with three tiers: Signature, Gold, and Platinum. The programs range in price from $59 to $199 (a one-time payment). Basic services include a “hormone intensive” plan and enrollment in the more expensive programs include recipe collections and an unspecified “Coaching Bootcamp.”

Dieters on this plan are encouraged to maximize their consumption of lean protein, fatty fish, avocado, non-starchy vegetables, select low sugar fruits, olive oil, nuts and seeds. Limiting or completely avoiding added sugars, alcohol and foods high in omega-6 fatty acids are also at the foundation of this plan; dairy and carbs are severely limited. Dr. Haver touts a food first approach, but also sells her own line of supplements including a psyllium husk-based fiber product and vitamin D and omega-3 blend.

There is not an emphasis on calorie counting, but calorie restriction is promoted via intermittent fasting (IF). The program recommends the 16:8 method where all calories are to be consumed within an 8-hour window each day.

Pros of the Galveston Diet

This program is “self-paced” and anti-calorie counting, with a focus on whole foods. The promotion of foods that are high fiber and help fight inflammation is warranted considering most women tend to fall short in these important areas. Dr. Haver tries to present science and (at times) cleverly bashes some popular diet myths.

Cons of the Galveston Diet

Having to pay for this very restrictive plan does not seem worth it. Cutting back on so many food groups can also lead to nutrient deficiencies that can negatively impact health in other ways. Additionally, IF can be very difficult to execute for many lifestyles and any true benefits on long term weight loss for middle aged women have not been thoroughly studied.

Haver attempts to present scientific evidence on her social media accounts, but the facts aren't objectively or accurately represented at all times. Similarly, nutrition facts are poorly explained. While she can be entertaining to watch, several exacerbated claims got old pretty quickly. Though Haver wants you to believe that she is a nutrient expert, she is not at all trained to the level of a registered dietitian.

Bottom Line

Women and men do have different needs (duh?!) and it’s refreshing to see efforts to target women’s unique health needs in the Galveston diet. At the same time, forcing such a limited diet in such limited daily time frame (and charging for it) feeds into a negative relationship with food and diet culture more than a sustainable, healthy mindset.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. She is the author of four cookbooks First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers, The Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook, The Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook and Healthy Quick and Easy Smoothies.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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