More than a million Americans have sworn off gluten, claiming that a gluten-free diet has helped them shed unwanted pounds, boost their energy and feel healthier. But is this increasingly popular trend beneficial or even safe?
People who eat gluten-free diets typically avoid bread, crackers and pasta. And that’s just the start. Found in a myriad of foods such as salad dressing, soy sauce, mustard, baked beans and more, the gluten protein helps breads rise and sauces thicken. Cutting this common compound out of your diet can be surprisingly difficult.
“The avoidance of gluten is only important if you are experiencing uncomfortable or dangerous symptoms,” Mills-Peninsula gastroenterologist Vino Verghese, M.D., says. “Gluten by itself is not a harmful substance. It’s simply a protein complex found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye.”
Your local farmers market provides fresh, local, seasonal produce, often at lower prices than a conventional or health food grocery store. What’s more, farmers market foods may also be better for your health.
Evelyn Khoo, M.D., a Mills-Peninsula family medicine doctor, recommends eating local food to maximize its nutritional content. “Nutrients lessen in produce over time,” she says, and conventional produce travels an estimated 1,500 miles on average to reach grocery stores. Read More about For Better Health, Hit the Farmers Market
While it may seem like there are hundreds of things pregnant women shouldn’t eat, Rebecca Dupont, M.D., a Mills-Peninsula obstetrician says it’s not that complicated.
“If you follow a few simple food rules, odds are, you and your baby will be just fine,” says Dr. Dupont, who estimates she’s delivered more than 1,000 babies.
- Avoid Raw Meat and Raw Fish. Raw or undercooked meat, particularly pork, lamb and venison, can cause toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that can lead to fetal brain damage. Similarly, poorly prepared raw fish can harbor dangerous parasites and bacteria. Read More about Five Food Rules for Pregnant Women
Whether at the farmers market or grocery store, organic goods typically cost more, but they are also touted as being better for your health. Is it true?
Organic products, including produce, grain, dairy and meat, are cultivated and processed without the use of chemical fertilizers, synthetic pesticides or herbicides, or genetically modified organisms. To be labeled organic, a product must be certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and meet national organic standards. Read More about Is Eating Organic Better for Health?
The key to healthy weight loss is to implement a “triangle” of lifestyle changes – limiting unhealthy food options in favor of nutritious choices, managing portion control and increasing exercise, says Mills-Peninsula registered dietitian Donna deKay.
Making lifestyle changes stick is easier said than done. Here are three simple tips to achieve success:
Keep a food diary. The first step, deKay says, is to find out where your weight issues come from by tracking your eating behaviors – how much, when and why you eat – for three to five days. “Are you skipping breakfast? Do you snack mid-day? Are you grazing in the fridge after dinner? If so, why?” she says. “Identifying environmental and emotional triggers will help you uncover unhealthy eating patterns.” Read More about Three Tips for Healthy Weight Loss
Fast food: It’s a quick and convenient meal choice for many. According to a recent Gallup poll, eight out of 10 Americans report eating at fast-food restaurants at least monthly, with almost half saying they consume fast food weekly or more.
“With our busy lives, fast food can be a quick and convenient way to feed the whole family,” says Sashi Amara, M.D., a Mills-Peninsula internal medicine physician. “Recognize, though, that fast food packs a lot of calories. Try and make sure it is just an occasional meal choice.”
If you do eat fast food, Dr. Amara recommends these healthier strategies: Read More about Fast Food Solutions