Could Your Diet Restrictions Be Creating A Nutritional Gap?
With summer quickly approaching, it is common to see more individuals than usual hitting the gym and trying their best to maintain their diets. Diets such as a low-carb diet or vegetarian diet can really help you to remove toxic and damaging foods from your diet, especially sugars and processed foods. But could your diet restrictions actually be creating a nutritional gap? If you’re looking at losing weight, you need to ensure you’re doing it in the healthiest way that doesn’t starve your body of essential nutrients.
What is a Low-Carb Diet?
A low-carb diet simply restricts the kind and amount of carbohydrates you consume. Carbohydrates, or carbs, are sugars that the body needs for energy, called calories. The body then stores all excess calories as fat, to store energy for when you need it most. According to Richard Walker, MD, of InVite® Health, the consumption of carbs from sugar, bread, and pastas has altered the normal bio-chemical and hormonal reactions in our body. Insulin is responsible for the entry of sugars into cells to be used as energy. But, over time, excess amounts of sugar have caused excess production of insulin, which gives our cells a different type of signal – storing the fat, rather than burning it.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a low-carb diet typically focuses on proteins (meat, poultry, fish and eggs) and non-starchy vegetables, limiting or removing most grains, legumes (beans), certain fruits, breads, pastas, and sweets. But it is important to note that certain fruits, whole grains and vegetables provide a number of important vitamins and minerals your body needs, including Vitamin C, Magnesium and Potassium.
In order to counter-act these nutrient depletions, it is important to first cover your base nutritional needs with a multivitamin. Multivitamins supplement your body with its specific required nutrient levels, particularly in the cases of low fruit and vegetable consumption and poor diet. High-quality and potency multivitamins and mineral formulas are capable of reversing nutrient deficiencies in the body, as well as alleviating the symptoms associated with common nutrients deficiencies. Healthy fats are essential for energy and the healthy of your hair, skin and nails. Focus on foods like avocados, fish and olive oils. A carb-restricting diet may also be fiber-restricting; Incorporate high-fiber grains like flax or a high-fiber supplement to close the gap.
A vegetarian diet restricts you from eating meat and fish. Many vegetarians continue to consume dairy products and eggs. Vegans restricts meat, fish, dairy products, and eggs – all animal products. While vegetarianism is considered a diet, veganism is considered a lifestyle, as many vegans do not use inedible animal-based products, as well. An extensive study published in June 2013 in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that vegetarians lived longer than meat eaters and were 19% less likely to diet from heart disease.
Eliminating animal products from your diet is challenging because you have to ensure you are not eliminating nutrients like protein, omega-3s and iron that many meats provide. Vitamin B12, found in many animal products, is an essential nutrient needed by the body to protect the heart and brain, and is required for energy, stamina and blood cell formation and division. A deficiency in Vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, as B12 is needed to make red blood cells. Too much iron, found in lentils, whole grains, and green vegetables are plant-based irons that vegans and vegetarians have to be sure to consume a lot of, as iron is also found in red meat.
The Paleolithic era, 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago, included foods like lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts found by hunters and gatherers. Many believe that following this primary diet and lifestyle is better suited for our bodies than the modern diet that contains damaging and toxic processed foods. Individuals following the Paleo Diet avoid grains, beans, dairy products, refined sugar and highly processed foods in general, similar to the low-carb diet. Some clinical trials have shown that the paleo diet lowers the risk of heart disease, blood pressure, inflammation, weight loss and acne.
Because this diet avoids whole grains and legumes, your fiber, vitamin and nutrient levels may become depleted. Eliminating dairy hinders your Calcium and Vitamin D levels that may be difficult to obtain solely from fatty fish and calcium-rich vegetables like spinach.