Every New Year brings with it the resolution of a healthier, slimmer figure made by millions of Americans from coast to coast. And, may we mention, these are made to the tune of $2 billion on weight loss programs (!). What will the diet trends in 2014 be? Only time will tell. However, we’re perfectly poised to take a look back at those that topped the charts in 2013. Here’s what clinical dietitian Michelle Ulrich had to say about our “Top Diet Trends of 2013,” as reported in her recent Active.com article.
What do you get when you cut grains, legumes, dairy and any foods not available to the cavemen of the Paleolithic era? Why, it’s the Paleo diet, which includes foods that our ancestors hunted and gathered back before modern times, including meat, fish, nuts, fruit, roots and berries. But while the Paleo diet may eliminate undesirable and unneeded processed foods of today, Ulrich points out that eliminating dairy and grains can also lead to nutrient deficiencies. Her advice? Go for balance! Cut out unprocessed foods, but know that whole grains, legumes, and dairy are part of a healthy diet.
If you have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten, by all means, going gluten-free may be a necessary part of making your life more comfortable, and it means cutting wheat, barley, and rye from the diet. The health or dietary benefits for the rest of us? Ulrich offers none, and states, “Currently, there's no evidence to support that a gluten-free diet has any benefits for those in the general population.” What’s more, she points out that gluten-free often comes with higher calorie and fat content to make up for missing glutens and, at the same time, can lead to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. So if you don’t need to go gluten-free, you may only be unnecessarily complicating your daily diet.
Do you detox? Whether it’s a short-term diet “cleanse” or a more extended “detox,” every year, we use juices, colonics, supplements and more to try and get rid of the toxins we accumulate over time. But says Ulrich, despite their popularity, science doesn’t back them. “There is little evidence that detox diets actually remove toxins from the body—this is the job of our kidneys and liver. These organs filter and eliminate most ingested toxins effectively,” she writes. Another point of caution is that low protein and lack of vitamins and nutrients can leave you tired, bloated, and generally off balance. Ulrich’s advice for those with a desire to detox? Limit the processed foods, beef up on the greens, and skip the detox.
By no means were these the only three trendy diets in 2013. There were also fringe diets, including the blood-type diet, which prescribes food based on blood type; the alkaline diet, which focuses on eating foods for optimal pH blood levels; and the fast diet, which includes fasting 2 days out of every 5. But according to Ulrich, there’s a better way than any of these to be healthy and balanced in 2014.
“For long-lasting results, your best diet plan is to consume healthy, well-balanced meals that contain fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein, while also making exercise a part of your daily routine. This will not only make you healthier, but you will also feel better. This approach is sustainable long-term, and won't be something that will fail to be effective.”
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