Bone Broth Diet Review: Does It Work for Weight Loss?
The Bone Broth Diet combines fasting, eating a Paleo diet, and drinking large amounts of bone broth. There have been no clinical studies to date on the exact effects of this diet plan.
The Bone Broth Diet is a 21-day plan that involves a combination of the Paleo diet, bone broth, and intermittent fasting.
The main premise of the diet is to utilize the nutritional benefits of collagen.
Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, is naturally found in bone broth and proponents of the diet believe that collagen carries numerous health benefits.
The Bone Broth Diet is claimed to promote weight loss, enhance gut health, reverse the signs of aging, improve sleep, and reduce joint pain and inflammation.
The diet was developed by Kellyann Petrucci, MS, ND, a naturopathic physician and weight-loss specialist.
She has authored several books, including The Bone Broth Diet, The Bone Broth Cookbook, and The 10-Day Belly Slimdown.
The Bone Broth Diet program was objectively evaluated by a dietitian based on the following criteria:
- Evidence-Based: 2/5
- Easy to Follow: 1/5
- Customization: 1/5
- Sustainability: 2/5
- Safety: 4/5
- Value for the Price: 4/5
- Accountability: 1/5
- Overall Rating: 2.1/5
The 3-week plan includes eating Paleo for 5 days and fasting for 2.
While eating a Paleo diet over the course of the five days, you must also drink anywhere from 1 to 3 cups of bone broth. During fasting days, you would drink 3 to 6 cups of bone broth.
The Paleo diet consists of:
- Animal protein
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthy oils, like olive or coconut oil
On the Paleo diet, you cannot eat:
- Dairy products
- Sugar and sweetened beverages
- Artificial sweeteners
- Processed foodsBeans and legumes
While fasting, you can choose to eat one healthy, balanced snack a day within the above guidelines while drinking the bone broth.
The Bone Broth Diet promises to help with a variety of issues from skin vitality to weight management. However, none of the claimed benefits have been clearly documented in any research studies.
Kellyann Petrucci, the founder of this diet, has conducted three unpublished studies reporting that participants “lost up to 15 pounds and up to 4 inches in their measurements.”
The aforementioned study is limited in many ways. For example, there is no data on average weight loss, no comparison of the Bone Broth Diet to a standard low-calorie diet, and no long-term evidence on whether participants were able to keep the weight off.
The Bone Broth Diet is a calorie-restricted diet. As with any calorie-restricted diet, the likelihood of short-term weight loss is high.
Additionally, following a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet like Paleo will also result in short-term weight loss for most people.
A 2020 clinical trial looked at the differences between following a low-carb versus a low-fat diet.
Researchers found that the study participants who followed the low-carb diet lost three times more body fat than those on the low-fat diet.
However, a recent review of the research suggests that even though following the Paleo diet may result in short-term weight loss, the diet is “over-hyped and under-researched.”
Researchers also noted that due to its low-calcium content, the Paleo diet is not safe for those at higher risk of osteoporosis.
Reverse the Signs of Aging
One of the claims is that the collagen in the bone broth will help reverse the signs of aging.
The research on collagen supplements is promising for its ability to visibly reduce the signs of skin aging.
However, the collagen found in supplements is broken down to make it more bioavailable, or usable for the body.
Unfortunately, the collagen found in bone broth is not broken down, making it unlikely to have the same effects in the body.
There is some limited evidence to suggest that collagen may have a calming effect on the body.
Collagen contains a high amount of glycine, an amino acid that your body uses to make proteins that may also help with sleep.
One 2015 study found that glycine helps calm the nervous system and may be a safe, therapeutic option to improve sleep.
More research is needed to establish a stronger link between improved sleep and the glycine found in collagen.
Reduced Joint Pain and Inflammation
Some small studies have shown that taking collagen supplements may help reduce joint pain and inflammation.
For example, one clinical trial showed that taking oral collagen supplements improved exercise-related joint pain.
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that bone broth or this specific Bone Broth Diet can help reduce joint pain and inflammation.
Advocates for bone broth claim that it can improve digestion by helping to heal the gut lining.
One study noted that glutamine supplementation may help to heal the intestinal barrier in human and animal models. Still, the authors noted that further research is needed to establish a stronger link.
As noted previously, the Bone Broth Diet is quite restrictive, making it difficult to follow.
Even on non-fasting days, the Paleo diet eliminates many food groups and can be challenging to follow.
The Bone Broth Diet expects dieters to adhere to these guidelines strictly.
If you were to defy the dietary restrictions within the 21-day period, the clock restarts to day 1, and the entire 21-days begins again—yikes. This is very restrictive and not sustainable long-term.
The Bone Broth Diet is not customizable; you have to drink the bone broth to do the diet.
The diet suggests that you can shift to an 80/20 maintenance plan after reaching your weight loss goals.
This means that you should eat Paleo-approved foods 80% of the time. The remaining 20% of the time can be less restrictive, allowing you to eat more freely.
Besides having the option to purchase Kellyanne’s book, the Bone Broth Diet does not include any level of support from a dietitian, coach, or any other trained professional.
You don’t technically need to spend any money to begin following the Bone Broth Diet.
If you would like support in the form of a book, Kellyann Petrucci’s book The Bone Broth Diet can be purchased at Amazon for $11.59.
The Bone Broth Diet website also contains recipes on how to make your own bone broth. Additionally, there are an array of bone broth recipes to sift through online.
If you’re not making your own bone broth at home, you can order it through Kellyanne’s website.
“On the go” broth is dehydrated and offers a convenient option to mix with water when you’re away from home.
The dehydrated bone broth is:
- $59 for three boxes
- $79 for five boxes
- $119 for ten boxes
You can also save 10% on future orders by signing up for subscribe and save.
You can also purchase liquid bone broth through Kellyanne’s website for a higher price:
- 6-pack of broth is $129
- 10-pack is $189
- 20-pack is $359
All items purchased from Kellyanne’s store can be returned for a full refund within 30 days.
The Bone Broth Diet is likely safe to follow for 21-days for most healthy adults.
It is best to talk with your health care professional before beginning any diet to ensure its safety for you.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should steer clear from the Bone Broth Diet as it is not nutritionally balanced for this population.
Additionally, it’s important to note that during the first two weeks of the diet, you may experience the “keto flu.”
The keto flu is a cluster of symptoms that may appear after following a very low-carbohydrate diet.
Symptoms of the keto flu include headaches, fatigue, brain fog, moodiness, and digestive issues.
For a less restrictive alternative to the Bone Both Diet, someone could follow a Paleo diet and omit intermittent fasting.
A Paleo eating pattern would allow you to choose whether you wanted to include the bone broth in your program.
Additionally, someone could follow a less restrictive intermittent fasting schedule and take a collagen supplement instead of the bone broth as an alternative to the Bone Broth Diet.
The issue with the Bone Broth Diet, and most short-term diets in general, is their lack of sustainability.
The Bone Broth Diet is very restrictive and would likely be difficult to follow for even 21 days.
Additionally, the Bone Broth Diet lacks any support, whether from a “coach” or a support group, making adherence that much more difficult.
Making bone broth yourself may save you money, but it is a laborious and very time-consuming process.
Meanwhile, fasting takes a significant amount of willpower, making even the most dedicated dieter feel deprived.
Moreover, there is no scientific data or clinical studies showing the exact effects of this diet, making its effectiveness unknown.
You may be able to reap some of the health claims associated with the Bone Broth Diet by eating a balanced variety of mostly “whole foods” combined with regular exercise.
Following these simple guidelines may help you reach your weight goals and also benefit your overall health:
- Include a variety of brightly colored vegetables in most of your meals and snacks.
- Try including fermented foods such as kombucha, kefir, and tempeh.
- Enjoy lean protein sources such as fish, chicken, or turkey.
- Include more plant proteins in your diet like legumes, nuts, and beans.
- Incorporate plenty of fiber-rich foods like chia and flax seeds.
Overall, I would probably skip the Bone Broth Diet as it is restrictive with no real benefits you can’t find by simply eating a more balanced diet.
At WellnessVerge, we only use primary references for our articles, including peer reviewed medical journals or well-respected academic institutions.
- Effects of weight loss during a very low carbohydrate diet on specific adipose tissue depots and insulin sensitivity in older adults with obesity: a randomized clinical trial:
- Cutting through the Paleo hype: The evidence for the Palaeolithic diet:
- Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications:
- The Sleep-Promoting and Hypothermic Effects of Glycine are Mediated by NMDA Receptors in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus:
- Daily oral supplementation with collagen peptides combined with vitamins and other bioactive compounds improves skin elasticity and has a beneficial effect on joint and general wellbeing:
- Glutamine and the regulation of intestinal permeability: from bench to bedside: