Just like fashion goes in and out each season, the nutrition world experiences its own kind of trends. But before you jump on the bandwagon of the latest health craze, it’s important to know all the facts. Here’s the run down on what you might not know about the 2 newest popular diet regimens:
Juice diets consist of “juicing” combined fruits and veggies into a liquid as replacement for solid meals. Popular juices include superfoods like ginger, kale, flaxseed, beets and spinach mixed with more palatable ingredients like apples and carrots.This sounds extremely healthy on the surface, but many problems remain. When you juice fruits and veggies, you take out only the juice, not the vitamin rich extras like skin and membrane.
Fruits also contain high sugar levels, so juices that are heavier on veggies and greens are inherently healthier than those that are fruit based.
Many recommend adding extra protein into the juices by mixing in a little almond, soy, or skim milk. Although this means extra calories, the juice is meant to take the place of a meal, and protein is necessary.
It’s also important to remember that your body needs solid foods to keep your digestive system and metabolism in check. Although a liquid diet may seem like a “quick fix” it could prove to be detrimental in the long run.
Juicing is certainly a way to work fruits and veggies into your diet, but it’s not a great long-term diet. Try replacing breakfast (and maybe even lunch) with a juice, but don’t cut out solids altogether for an extended period of time.
2. Gluten Free
For some a gluten free diet is not a choice, but a necessity. But recently, many without a gluten intolerance have began going gluten free as a diet. This is great for the people that need to be gluten free, because as the diet has become more popular, more gluten free options have begun to spring up in restaurants and supermarkets.
But if you don’t have a gluten intolerance, is there any benefit to going gluten free? Conversely, could there be drawbacks to going gluten free?
The answer is somewhat mixed. Cutting out some carbs is not a bad idea – if you’re replacing the not so healthy ones (i.e. white bread) with healthy ones (i.e. quinoa.) But if you’re simply replacing your standard flour-filled carbs with ones that are manufactured to be specifically gluten free, you may not be doing yourself a favor. Many of the “gluten free” labeled products have many more calories and higher sugar counts than their gluten-ous counterparts. They can also be less nutritious; many gluten free products are made using rice flour, which essentially lacks nutrients.
So the jury is in: if you don’t have to be gluten free but want to, make sure you’re replacing your staples with healthy stand-ins. Also keep in mind that gluten is in a lot more than you might think: Alcohol and soy sauce, for instance, are sneaky gluten harborers.
You may also want to note that the longer you keep gluten out of your diet, the more sensitive you become to it. So if you ever reintroduce gluten, you may find you have essentially forced yourself to develop a gluten intolerance, and it now makes you physically sick!
Have you tried these or any other fad diets? Have they worked, or been more trouble than they’re worth? Let us know in the comments!