We all know in order to reach and maintain a healthy weight it’s important to both eat healthfully and be physically active. However, many believe if they just workout extra hard a few times a week, they can eat anything they want and still reach their goals. Unfortunately, as much as we would like to believe it could be that easy, science has proven that’s not the case. Although physical activity has MANY health benefits (increased flexibility, improved bone health, improved heart health), it often doesn’t have the effects on our waistline that we think if it’s not paired with a healthful diet. Here is an article presenting the current research on the issue between diet and exercise. Ultimately, the research has found that you can’t have one without the other when working to reach your health goals!
The world of nutrition today is packed with fad diets (ie. cabbage soup diet, cookie diet, HCG diet, etc.). Often-times, individuals find they achieve quick weight-loss success with these diets due to their very low calorie limits. However, soon after stopping the diet, they return to their normal weight, and possibly then some, leaving them feeling frustrated and defeated. This cycle is called yo-yo dieting, and it can get the best of us. Although these diets may work quickly, they are not only dangerous, but that can be counterproductive in your weight-loss journey. Most fad diets out there achieve their low calorie restrictions by eliminating one or more food groups, which if followed long term, results in a multitude of nutritional definiciencies. Fortunately, many cannot follow these diets for more than a few weeks due to their severe restrictions; however, once stopped, individuals are left with a reduced metabolism and extreme hunger. This combination is never good when looking to lose weight, and it is often what causes quick weight gain after stopping a diet.
In order to lose weight successfully, research has found losing about 1-2 lbs/week is a good, realistic goal that allows for healthier, more long-term outcomes. Additionally, when losing weight it is important to still consume all of the food groups in the proper amounts. Any diet which eliminates a food group entirely can be very risky. Of course, it is always a good idea to consult a local dietitian when trying to lose weight, as they serve to provide reliable, evidence-based information as well as support you in your journey.
Recently, there has been a lot of hype surrounding gluten-free diets and weight loss. Many are adopting this lifestyle in hopes of shedding some pounds, yet, they often are unaware of what gluten is and why cutting it out of their diet may help them reach their weight loss goals. Gluten in a protein found in the wheat, barley, rye, and oats. Examples of gluten containing foods include cereals, pasta, cookies, cakes, and even some meats and marinades. Gluten can often be hard for certain people to digest, namely, those with celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder affecting the small intestine, and when individuals with this disorder ingest something with gluten, they can become very ill. Common symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and anemia. You can be diagnosed with celiac disease by a few simple blood tests as well as a biopsy of the small intestine.
For those with celiac disease, research has found that the best treatment is to follow a strict gluten-free diet; however, in terms of weight loss, there is no sound evidence to support adopting this lifestyle. Although there are inherent benefits to avoiding gluten, such as consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables and possibly less processed foods, you don’t have to be strictly gluten-free to achieve this. Additionally, the gluten-free market is rapidly growing, causing more and more products to be made available, such as gluten-free waffles, breads and cookies. Just because these products are gluten-free, they are often not any lower in calories than the traditional product. In fact, they are often higher in fat and lower in fiber, which can inhibit weight loss.
If you are/thinking about following a gluten-free diet and you have not been diagnosed with celiacs, it is important to talk with an registered dietitian as well as your doctor in order to help guide you. Below is a link to an article recently made available at livestrong.com that can help answer any questions you may still have surrounding gluten, and of course, I am always available to help as well!