The program was created by wife and husband Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig in 2009. They both became certified sports nutritionists; he worked as a physical therapist, and she was working at an insurance company during the day and doing nutritional consulting in her spare time. She quit her job to run the Whole30 business in 2010. They co-authored It Starts With Food (2012) and The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom (2015). They separated in 2015. Melissa Hartwig took over the business, and published Food Freedom Forever: Letting Go of Bad Habits, Guilt, and Anxiety Around Food in 2016.
The WHO trial (so named because the international team of principal investigators contained World Health Organization members) tested the potential of clofibrate, a “pre-statin” cholesterol-lowering agent, to reduce heart attack morbidity and mortality. The investigators ultimately concluded that clofibrate "cannot be recommended as a lipid-lowering drug for community-wide primary prevention of ischaemic heart disease.” Nevertheless, clofibrate remained in use until 2002, when it was pulled for increasing cancer rates. In their review of studies such as the WHO trial, Uffe Ravnskov and David Diamond observe, “Despite the largely disappointing findings from 50 years of cholesterol lower[ing] trials, the indictment and conviction of cholesterol as the causal agent in CVD [cardiovascular disease] has stood the test of time. … [Yet] the grand effort to reduce cholesterol as a strategy to improve health has failed.”