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Between the Kardashians and the latest trends, it seems like low-carb and gluten-free diets are all of the rage today. Many celebrities and media outlets tout the benefits of following them and have named bread and pasta the enemy. But how healthy is this kind of lifestyle?
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. If something is labeled as gluten-free, this means that the products do not contain those ingredients and the products is usually made in a facility that doesn’t contain any of them. Gluten is what helps foods like pizza dough and pasta keep their structure.
Those with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder where gluten causes the body to attack the small intestines, follow a gluten-free diet. Gluten in the diet of an individual with this disease can lead to bloating, abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, weight loss and fatigue. About 1% of the U.S. population has celiac disease.
Between 0.5 and 6% of Americans have what is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Different than celiac disease, this is when individuals experience the same symptoms, but they go away after eliminating gluten from their diets.
While many have adopted a gluten-free diet, a 2017 study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics found that it isn’t as healthy as it’s promoted to be. “Gluten free (GF) food is unlikely to offer healthier alternatives to regular foods except for those who require a GF diet for medically diagnoses conditions, and it is associated with higher costs.”, report the researchers. The study also found that gluten-free foods not only typically contained more saturated fat, sugar and salt than regular food items, but where also usually lower in fiber and protein content.
What does low-carb really mean?
The low-carb diet theory was created behind the thinking that in order to lose weight, you must reduce the amount of carb calories you eat and replace them with fat calories. This way, according to the theory called carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis, you are driving down your insulin levels and helping you burn calories.
But for many cutting carbs, this means that they will also cut out many fruits and vegetables. Carbs are the body’s main source of energy for activity, cutting them out may leave you feeling more fatigued.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Associated pitted a low-carb diet against a low-fat diet to determine their relationship to weight loss. It turns out that neither is superior. In fact, the study concluded that it is the quality of someone’s diet – filled with a wide array of healthy protein, vegetables, fruits and whole grains – that accounts for more weight loss.
Are you currently on a low-carb or gluten-free diet? What benefits have you seen?
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There are so many reasons why revamping your diet is important. A healthier diet can help you lose weight, give you the energy boost you’ve been looking for, help you sleep better, and even give you clearer, healthier looking skin. But will a detox provide you with better results of your diet in the long run?
Detoxing doesn’t have to mean taking shots of wheatgrass in the morning. Think of detoxing as how your body gets rid of excess waste. When the waste in your body builds up, it becomes dangerous, especially for digestion and your energy levels. These toxins are all around us; they come from pesticides on your food, pollutants in the air, genetically modified ingredients, processed foods and heavy metals. But don’t get scared! Our bodies are equipped to naturally handle these toxins through the liver and kidneys. But, if you are constantly skipping healthy meals and nutrients or not properly hydrating yourself, your body’s natural detoxification system can be thrown off.
Start with the Basics
Detoxing shouldn’t involve following an all-liquid diet or skipping meals. Start with the basics! Figure out what toxic things you are putting into your body. More often than not, the answer to that is SUGAR! There are tons of sugar in the foods and drinks we consume, like sodas, energy drinks, and breakfast cereals. Sugar has been shown in countless studies to contribute to weight gain and poor oral health, to name a few. Eliminate those foods and drinks from your diet and you are one step ahead of the detox game!
You should also remove processed foods from your diet. Stick to whole foods like fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts. Remember to keep your portions small and eat slow! Big meals makes your digestive system work in overtime. Drinking more water will help your kidneys to flush out those toxins and keep your digestion running smoothly, as well. Getting a good nights sleep has been shown to help reduce stress and inflammation.
And, while most people don’t associate exercise with detoxing, it’s really important. Exercise helps us get our blood moving and our heart pumping. So get moving!