Redbook Magazine: Could Your “Healthy” New Diet Be Hurting You?
With eating plans that restrict whole food groups, you can miss out on other important nutrients. Even though many plans claim to give you what your body exactly what it needs, in many cases this is not true. Read this article with expert fixes to bridge your nutritional gaps.
Could Your “Healthy” New Diet Be Hurting You?
If you’ve signed on to any eating plan that restricts a whole food group—whether it’s grains, meat, or solids—you may be missing out on important nutrients. These expert fixes can help bridge the gap.
By Ava Feuer
If you’re going gluten-free…
As new studies emerge about the warping of modern grains, and more people find that they fall somewhere on the gluten-sensitivity spectrum, many are cutting the protein altogether. Although you may miss out on B-fortified grains like bread and pasta, you can get much of that B from meat and other sources. The real concern is digestive health. “A gluten-free person usually has an irritation in their small intestine, so they aren’t absorbing nutrients well,” says holistic nutritionist Sally Kravich. For that reason, swallowing probiotics, which are vital to keeping healthy gut bacteria alive, should become a part of your day. Kravich recommends a multi-spectrum capsule as well as an additional saccharomyces boulardii pill, both available online, at health-food shops, and at stores like Whole Foods. The latter is the only one that helps repair irritation in the small intestine, and it’s not usually found in probiotic mixtures.
If you’re going Paleo…
Eating like a caveman isn’t so different from going gluten-free—it requires the elimination of most grains, but unlike no-gluten diets it also cuts out many naturally occurring, unprocessed whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and spelt. Those foods are rich in fiber, without which it may be difficult to feel satisfied. “The fiber you get in grains expands and sweeps,” says Kravich. “It helps to absorb toxins that your body is breaking down and moving out.” She suggests a fiber supplement with oats, psyllium, and apple pectin, as opposed to straight psylllium, which makes many people nauseous.
If you’re going vegan…
Without dairy, eggs, and meat, vegans face the same challenges as vegetarians—and more. “The main sources of B12, as well as a number of other B-vitamins, are meat and fish,” says Cuomo. “B vitamins are involved in energy metabolism, meaning you need them to generate energy at a cellular level. Without them, your body will respond with lethargy.” The other major problem? A shortage of omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital to brain function. “For those who adamantly refuse to take fish oil, I recommend grinding up walnut, chia, flax, and pumpkin, and adding it to oats, or mixing the oils into a salad dressing,” says Kravich.