Is a Gluten-Free Diet Good for Your Health?

53According to a recent study published in the scientific journal JAMA Internal Medicine, people in the United States are increasingly adopting a gluten-free diet. This is true even though the prevalence of celiac disease has remained steady.

People with celiac disease are the original adopters of a gluten-free diet. Celiac disease is a condition characterized by gluten intolerance, which, when gluten is consumed damages the intestinal lining resulting in bloating, chronic diarrhea, constipation, stomach aches, nausea, and vomiting, among others. There is no cure, so the only way for people with celiac disease to avoid these symptoms is to avoid these foods altogether.

But, if the prevalence of people adopting a gluten-free diet is on the rise, whereas the prevalence of celiac disease has stayed steady, there must be other reasons why people adopt gluten-free diets, right?

In this article we will explore some of the most popular reasons informed by science and pop culture that people decide to go gluten free.

First of all, what is gluten?

Gluten is a protein that is naturally present in wheat, rye and barley, and it gives the spongy or sticky consistency to foods like bread, cereal and pasta. In many ways, gluten is like a “glue” that holds certain foods together and gives them their elasticity.

What are some common sources of gluten?

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, some of the common sources of gluten are:

Wheat

  • Breads
  • Baked foods
  • Soups
  • Cereals
  • Sauces
  • Salad dressings

Barley

  • Malt
  • Food coloring
  • Soups
  • Beer
  • Brewer´s Yeast

Rye:

  • Rye bread
  • Rye beer
  • cereals

Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)

  • Breads
  • Pastas
  • Cereals

Oats

  • Only if in contact with other grains. Must be certified gluten free.

4 Reasons why people without celiac disease adopt gluten-free diets

As the prevalence of people who follow gluten-free diets increases, people who aren’t in the know might be questioning why it is so popular. Below are some common reasons why people decide to take on gluten-free diets, even if they don´t have celiac disease.

  1. Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS):

Many people without celiac disease claim to have a gluten sensitivity. Many health specialists and researchers question whether it is real because the mechanism of action is unknown.

However, recent studies have found that gluten sensitivity is a real problem, demonstrating that people with gluten sensitivities experience clear biological changes, and the symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, headache, anxiety, and even memory and problems with thinking skills. It seems that people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity might have a weakened intestinal barrier, resulting in an immune response similar to that of people with celiac disease.

There is lack of diagnostic tools for this condition, meaning people end up having to figure things out on their own.

  1. Wheat Allergy

Another reason people may adopt gluten-free diets is because of the presence of a wheat allergy. People with wheat allergies may get hives, itchy eyes, stuffy noses, or difficulty breathing when they consume wheat. No damage is done to the intestine with a wheat allergy, unlike with celiac disease.

  1. Weight Loss

Some people swear by going gluten-free for weight loss. However, there is no evidence that supports that gluten-free diets support weight loss, since grains that don’t contain gluten often contain about the same number of calories as gluten-containing foods, it is very unlikely you will lose weight.

However, if you cut out grains altogether, it is possible you will lose weight because of the reduction of calories. However, eliminating grains from the diet is generally not recommended.

It is also important to note that gluten-free products can be higher in calories, sugar, fat, and carbs than alternative products that do contain gluten, so this can actually lead to weight gain.

  1. Inflammation

Many who promote an anti-gluten diet, including paleo fans, point to foods that contain gluten as a cause of or contributor of inflammatory illnesses and diseases. However, while foods that contain gluten may contribute to inflammation, like white bread and pastries, research shows that it is unlikely the gluten that is causing the inflammation if you are not gluten intolerant or wheat sensitive.

What most likely causes inflammation is the fact that the foods are made with refined grains and significant amounts of sugar; regular consumptions of foods with these components can contribute to obesity, a rise in cholesterol and blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. However, for healthy people whole grain foods, including whole wheat bread and pasta, actually contribute to a reduction in the risk of getting diagnosed with chronic illnesses in your lifetime.

Should you go gluten-free?

The bottom line is, if you do not have celiac disease, are not sensitive to gluten or do not have a wheat allergy, there are no health benefits to going gluten-free. In fact, you could even be damaging your health by excluding such an important source of energy, vitamins, minerals, and fiber from your diet.

Remember that celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and wheat allergies cannot be self-diagnosed. You should approach your family physician or registered dietician if you suspect you might be experiencing one of these conditions. Making dramatic changes to your diet without proper monitoring could cause major illness.

Foods to Avoid at Restaurants That Can Potentially Kill You

NAILS AND FOOD

Eating certain foods at a restaurant can be dangerous to your overall health, weight loss and fat loss goals. To know the types of foods that you should avoid while dining out will help you make healthier food choices and therefore reduce or even eliminate any potential harm that can be done to your well-being.

Below you’ll find the types of foods that you need to avoid and be aware of at any and all restaurants including:

  • Fries, Chicken Tenders (Breaded) and Fried Fish.
  • White Bread, White Rice and Pasta.
  • Soda, Artificially Flavored Drinks and Sweet Tea.

Brief Description Of These Problematic Ingredients:

The items mentioned are not an exhaustive list of foods that are deep fried, are refined starches or processed sugars; however, by avoiding these types of foods while at restaurants you can avoid consuming problematic ingredients such as High Fructose Corn Syrup, Industrialized Trans Fats, Refined Vegetable Oils and Refined Starches.

High Fructose Corn Syrup in laymen’s terms is one type of sugar; now when sugar is consumed in the body through the blood stream in order to become either become energy for the body or potential (stored) energy known as “fat”. When sugar is consumed in quantities greater than the body can process efficiently and effectively this can ultimately lead to obesity, liver disease, diabetes, heart disease and insulin resistance.

Industrialized Trans Fat quite simply is vegetable oil that has hydrogen gas added to it; this addition of hydrogen allows the vegetable oil to become solid at room (ambient) temperature. This allows vegetable oil to “act-like” a saturated fat, whereby saturated fats are “naturally” solid at room temperatures. An example of this type of solidified “room temperature” oil would be margarine (sometimes referred to as butter) or shortening. The problem is that trans fats have a different chemical makeup that (in my opinion) should not be ingested within the body. In the body, trans fats increase the amount of “LDL” cholesterol, a.k.a., “bad cholesterol” within the body. This “bad cholesterol” is intended to carry cholesterol and other fats to the body’s cells to properly maintain the body’s functions, however, the over consumption of trans fats increases the amount of “LDL” within the arteries and veins. When the veins become overpopulated with “LDL”, blockages occur which reduce blood flow; this is the symptom seen in blood clots, cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.

Refined Vegetable Oils are oils extracted out of plants such as nuts, seeds, beans, corn, peanuts and grains through a chemical process that requires lots of heat, heavy pressure, bleaching, hexane, deodorization and more. The natural fats and minerals within this type of oil have been though so great of a chemical process that the oil becomes extremely unstable and prone to oxidation. This means that these refined oils can now become “free radicals” when they are exposed to certain amounts of oxygen, more heat or combined to other ingredients. “Free radicals” is just like it sounds, which are atoms that have gone rogue and intentionally change the normal cells within the body into cells that can become cancer causing and more or worse.

Refined Starches are wheat and grains where fiber and nutrients have been removed. When you see white bread, pasta, white rice, flour, many cereals and snacks you are most probably seeing a refined starch. Similarly to refined sugars, a refined starch is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream which stimulates insulin response. However, when refined starches are consumed in excess, overtime insulin response can diminish which can lead to type 1 and/or type 2 diabetes. Obesity and cancer have also been linked to over consuming refined starches as well.

Why Are These Ingredients Used In Our Foods If They Are So Harmful.

Refined sugars, starches, vegetable oils and industrialized trans fats are used because they are cheaper / easier / faster to manufacture than natural products and also help to maintain a prolonged shelf life for the food items that are made with these ingredients. Unfortunately, the very same ingredients used to provide some of the best tasting foods are cheap for the business, yet costly for the consumer.

What Are The Healthier Food Choices To Eat At A Restaurant?

Instead of getting the traditional sandwich or burger choose fish, grilled chicken breast or a steak. This will help you avoid both refined starch found in the breads of most sandwiches.

Instead of choosing fries, pasta or rice, substitute these items for steamed vegetables or a salad. Making this healthy substitution will help you to avoid trans fats, refined vegetable oils and refined starches.

Instead of choosing a soda, sweetened tea or other artificially flavored drinks, choose unsweetened tea or water. Selecting a healthier beverage will help you avoid consuming refined sugars.

Making these few changes while dining out at a restaurant not only reduces the amount of calories that you eat but also will reduce the amount of harmful foods you place into your body.

Can You Still Eat The “Not So Good” Foods In Moderation?

Currently, within a Westernized Diet, I don’t believe many people really understand what it means to “eat in moderation.” I see two problems when addressing this topic.

First, it is customary within a traditional westernized diet to consume foods beyond what the body needs and is even able to process efficiently.

Secondly, they type of foods consumed in a westernized diet contain trans fats, refined vegetable oil, refined sugars and refined starches.

When you take into consideration that a modern diet involves “overeating” “harmful ingredients”, the words, “Eat in moderation” doesn’t make sense. Even if you were to stop overeating, you could still be eating harmful foods, even though it is in moderation. If you want to be realistic about eating foods in moderation, then it would be best for you to pay attention to the “quantity” and “quality” of foods you consume especially when you dine out.

What Should You Do Now?

It is important that you understand what you put in your body when you dine out at a restaurant or within your own kitchen. It would be wise to educate yourself on foods that counteract the side affects caused by eating unhealthy foods such as weight gain, high blood pressure, high (bad) cholesterol, bad joints, aging of the skin and more.

The only concern most individuals have about changing their eating habits is the fear that they will have to abandon “good taste” for “healthy”. This fear couldn’t be further from the truth; there are many ways to have a diet that is tasty, delicious and healthy.

Mike Geary, a certified nutrition specialist and Catherine Ebeling (Nutrition Expert) are the authors for book, “101 Foods That Fight Aging.” In this book the authors educate their readers on foods, spices and herbs that are intended to keep your meals both tasty and healthy.

The foods that you eat will determine your how you look, feel and function. Whether you dine out or eat at home make healthy decisions that will help you look, feel and function your best.

Healthy Food Trends Drive New Food Products

51Eat healthy food means leaving out or only rarely consuming foods that are highly included sugar, saturated fat as well as sodium. That includes maximum fast food, full calorie sodas, snacks like chips and crackers, and also anything with more milligrammes of sodium than there have calories in a serving.

Committed to a good diet can be one of the smartest selections you ever make. Why? Not only taking well make you look and feel better, it can also save your money on future health investment.

According to a survey, around 90% of shoppers are ready to pay extra for the added quality and profits. These healthy foods and drinks are on the way to hit $1 trillion in sales by 2017. Customers focus on health has crossed across gender and generations. Many millennials are becoming parents and they are demanding healthy products for their children as well, which is going another significant wave of creation and recreation. Many companies have already changed its products and make it even healthier due to parents are seeking healthier alternatives. Recently many products moved to make it healthier by lowering the sugar content. Although sugar may have once mattered majorly to those with illnesses like diabetes, today the huge population is giving closer attention to sugar contents in its diet. Another reason for this healthy food trend is decreasing ingredients from formulated food products. Although this started in response to medical concerns, it has further evolved to attract all health conscious customers. Products with fewer ingredients arrive at the broader market.

More customers are reading labels when the shop in the market or any other stores. In many cases, shoppers want maximum health benefits by taking food products with vitamins and antioxidants, with a few unnatural ingredients and fewer components overall. This has led to creating clean labels, such as those found in certain premium teas consisting of only tea and water. Customers want to be able to know lists of ingredients, especially in the case of a new food product. Health conscious customers are reflecting their hesitancy towards ingredients that sounds just like engineered chemicals. So now the main question is what should companies consider to effectively provide clean labels? One best option is starting what a product does not have. Messages showing gluten free, no high fructose corn syrup may be effective to help organisations clearly make promises to customers concerned about those ingredients. In response to this customer needs, some organisations are streamlining their ingredients.

Companies should remember that it is not the customers job to know what they need. The best-positioned companies in the modern era are those that saw this change well in advance and go through the charge. Organisations that continue to envision and react to evolving consumer needs will be successful. At the last moment, this growing trend is changing its way by increasing desires for healthier lifestyles and results in purchasing selections increasingly driven by heightened holistic wellness benefits. These shoppers will certainly continue to ask expanded choice , and food, as well as beverage companies that successfully address this need, will be rewarded.

How to Form Healthy Eating Habit

50How often do you think about your thoughts about eating?

Probably sounds like a weird question, huh?

So often we eat and drink mindlessly…until the scale creeps up or our pants stop slipping on so easily. It is then that our body reminds us of what we consumed when we weren’t thinking about it.

Let me explain what I mean…

Reactive Thinking

The way we eat is habitual, shaped by necessity, routine, schedule, and values. We all have tendencies – good and bad – like skipping breakfast, snacking at work all day, or Friday martinis after work. Then we wonder how we gained weight, or why we can’t lose it, or assume our bodies “just weren’t meant” to look the way we truly wish they would.

Without an intentional approach to food, we are left reacting with guilt, regret, or painful hours of cardio for those calories we didn’t need or intend on. This is what I mean by “reactive thinking”.

Does This Sound Familiar?

Let’s say your food choices weren’t so great on Monday. You ate more than you should have and scarfed a few cookies that spiked your calorie count. Feeling badly about it on Tuesday, you skip breakfast, eat a small lunch, and have yogurt for dinner. Now your food choices have become a reactive measure rather than a predetermined choice made with intent. It’s as if food has the control over you, leaving you with shame (and a growling stomach), rather than you feeling empowered through choices.

If you eat less one day because your calorie intake was too high the day prior, when the weekend hits you’ll believe it’s okay to overeat because you “ate clean” during the week. But this disables any healthy habit from forming. Your thought process with food will not change, and consequently, neither will your weight.

When this happens with my clients, I tell them to go right back to their normal eating before the “splurge” – continuing to practice good eating habits and food choices with intent, being fully aware. Don’t allow the previous day’s calories to determine your calorie intake for the current day. This will not help change your behavior with food – and that is what must take place in order for lasting results to occur.

Proactive Thinking

If getting or staying fit is important to you, you must start thinking about what you eat, when you eat, and why you eat. This proactive awareness will reveal your habits and foods that you gravitate towards. Then you can begin making wise choices that put you in control and set you up for success.

For instance, maybe you find that you end up eating takeout multiple nights a week because you’re too hungry to cook after work; or you down a bag of chips late at night when you’re watching TV to unwind from a stressful day.

Once you can clearly see your tendencies, it becomes easier to prevent poor choices and change your patterns. And as they say, “Knowing is half the battle.”

So How Do You Apply This? 1. Write it Down. Track what you’re eating – the time, type, and amount of food consumed. (You can also use an app like MyFitnessPal to take the hard calculating work out of it for you.) This will document exactly what your habits are for you to see and learn from.

2. Set a Goal. Start the process of eating “proactively”. The analogy I typically use with my clients is this: When we drive, we put on our seatbelts, check the rearview mirrors before changing lanes, and stay within a certain speed limit – we drive with intent. There is an end destination in mind, so we choose to act accordingly with the result we desire; in this case arriving safely at the determined destination.

Once a goal is set, whether it’s losing weight, gaining muscle, or running a faster mile, everything you do is going to either help or hurt that goal. So eat with intent just like you drive with the intent of being safe.

3. Plan Your Meals. Preparation is your biggest ally when it comes to changing your food habits. It’s much easier to say no to pizza in the office if you have your lunch next to you, packed and ready to go. I’m not saying it makes it easy, but it does make it easier.

When you wake up (or the night before), plan your entire day’s worth of calories. This doesn’t mean you have to cook everything you eat. It means you plan ahead, with full awareness of what you will consume that day, and what you should avoid. Pack some meals and keep snacks on hand so you’re never stuck eating whatever is around out of desperation.

Renew Your Habits

The act of replacing a habit is not easy to do. You’ll hit some road blocks, and some days will be great and some days won’t be so great. These steps are not concrete and definitely not a one-size-fits-all method.

But increasing awareness, intentionally planning your food, and practicing those habits will help renew your mindset and change your relationship with food.

However tough it may be at times, if you plant the right seeds of hard work and consistency, you’ll reap the fruits of your labor.

Awesome Health Benefits of a Healthy Diet

47If your idea of healthy eating is following a restrictive diet then it is completely a wrong belief.

Starving or depriving yourself from the food you like and losing more than required weight or staying thin unrealistically, certainly not make a good sense and affect your overall health instead of improving it in a right manner. A healthy eating means to choose the right healthy food which is high in nutrition level and low in calories.

Food makes bodily process run smooth. A good food encourages overall function of your body at optimal level. For the maximum health benefits one needs to eat a variety of good food that includes vegetables, fruits, lean protein and whole grains. Let’s see the health benefits of healthy food.

It boost up Your Energy A healthy diet promotes the food that is rich in vitamins and nutrients. The development of your body is vastly depends on these two major factors. Many serious health issues occur due to inadequate amount of vitamins and low nutrition level. For example, deficiency of Vitamin “A” resulted in low eye sight. Insufficient level of Vitamin “C” in your body can be resulted in anemia. If you are suffering from dizziness, fatigue, weight loss, shortness in breathing or any other harmful symptoms, then most probably your body is lacking essential vitamins and nutrients. In this regards, the best way is to see a dietician or a doctor and take important dietary suggestions.

It keeps your heart healthy Today, millions of people across the world have become victim heart diseases due to unhealthy food. Worst physical conditions such as hypertension and high blood pressure are very harmful for your health and may result in premature death. Therefore, it is very essential for everyone to eat a food that is high in fish, nuts, whole grains and poultry. If you want to stay healthy and fit, then it is better to stay away from unhealthy food such as sweets, fats, sugary drinks and red meat.

It prevents Diseases Chronic diseases is nothing but a result of unhealthy food and bad lifestyle. Healthy eating can help you prevent many common chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart diseases and blood pressure. A medical research has revealed many benefits of balance diets one of those benefits are disease prevention. A good diet or a diet plan can reduce the risk of life threatening diseases like obesity, cancer and Alzheimer. Healthy eating not only helps you prevent diseases but also improve your immune system and make your body strong enough to fight with many other common diseases. If you are looking to gain maximum health benefits from your diet, then having a custom diet plan that suits perfectly to your body type and make you eat the food you like, and intake adequate amount of calories can help you in a great way and improve your overall health.