Before you go onto a liquid diet or completely cut out carbs from your eating routine, make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. Plenty of diets out there may be helpful to some people (such as people suffering from diabetes, obesity, or gluten allergies), but these same diets might not be the best for you.
Should You Ditch The Coffee/Caffeine?
Though plenty of people are attempting to switch to tea from coffee, or to cut out caffeine entirely from their diets, coffee isn’t totally bad for you. It can actually help curb your appetite and some Harvard research has shown that it has no negative effects on your health: “We did not find any relationship between coffee consumption and increased risk of death from any cause, death from cancer, or death from cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Rob van Dam, Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, writes on The Nutrition Source. “It’s an important message because people have seen coffee drinking as an unhealthy habit, along the lines of smoking and excessive drinking, and they may make a lot of effort to reduce their coffee consumption or quit drinking it altogether, even if they really enjoy it.”
In fact, some research has shown that coffee is beneficial to your health — it may reduce your risk for diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and liver cancer. However, if you’re a pregnant woman or if you have a difficult time controlling blood pressure or blood sugar, coffee is probably not the best option for you. And though most research points to coffee as being harmless, more investigating will need to occur before scientists can agree on something.
“Often people think of coffee as a vehicle for caffeine,” Van Dam writes. “But it’s actually a very complex beverage with hundreds and hundreds of different compounds in it. Since coffee contains so many different compounds, drinking coffee can lead to very diverse health outcomes.”
Does Gluten-Free = Healthier?
Only a small segment of the U.S. population (about 1 percent) really needs to eat gluten-free products, due to an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease. Everyone else doesn’t exactly need to worry about the gluten-free market that has grown significantly in recent years.
Eating a gluten-free diet, though it sounds trendy, isn’t actually any better for you than a regular diet that includes whole grains and other gluten-filled foods. Gluten is a protein found in rye, barley, and wheat, and is often found not only in food but also medication and everyday items. Gluten doesn’t harm you, nor does it make you gain weight, and it’s found in a lot of foods that contribute healthy nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Unless you have celiac disease or a diagnosed allergy to wheat, gluten-free products are unnecessary and probably not that much healthier for you.
Does The Liquid Diet Work?
Liquid diets are typically used for body cleanses and extreme weight loss programs — in which the dieter attempts to lose a significant amount of weight in a short time frame. However, though you may lose plenty of weight due to the sudden shortage of calories, it may be harder to maintain that weight and keep the pounds off. That’s because when you deprive your body of normal calories, your metabolism slows down significantly to preserve energy. Going back onto a regular diet post-liquid diet will often lead to weight gain, unless you find a way to keep your metabolism up either through exercising or smaller (real) meals. In addition, the liquid diet can lead to lightheadedness, fatigue, and even a loss of muscle if you’re leaving out necessary nutrients, proteins, and carbs for energy.
Is ‘Organic’ Really Better For You?
Recently, a Washington Post article described the cons and benefits of various organic foods in comparison to those of conventional products, and overall found that there isn’t a significant enough of a difference between organic food and traditional products to have a real impact on your health — nutritionally speaking. Putting aside whether organic products are better for the environment and for animals, buying organic milk versus regular milk is probably not going to make that much of a difference on your overall health, the article said. This was backed up by controversial research out of Stanford University, which said that organic food was not any more nutritious than regular food (which triggered angry responses from environmental groups and consumer advocacy groups).
However, there are certainly differences between the two, and if they are important to you, then you should make your choices as needed. Organic milk, for example, contains more omega-3 fats, which are helpful in fighting heart disease, depression, and stroke. Organic foods also are less likely to contain pesticides or antibiotics. The biggest differences are probably found in processed organic foods; fruits, veggies, eggs, dairy, and meat will probably have less of a difference in nutritional value. The fact is, the debate over organic foods will rage on for quite some time, and not enough scientific evidence has been done to really make a definitive statement. Simply be aware that just because the food is more expensive and has an "organic" sticker on it, doesn't necessarily mean it's better.
Are Carbs The Devil?
Not all carbs are bad for you, and cutting out carbohydrates from your diet completely isn’t always necessary to lose weight. What’s more important is identifying what types of carbs you’re eating, as well as the sheer amount of them. Dr. Carly Stewart, medical expert at Money Crashers, told Lifehacker that “It is a good idea to limit the number of carbs you eat in the form of sugar because sugar is low in nutritional value and high in calories. However, if you eliminate carbs completely, you will miss out on healthy foods such as whole grain breads and wheat pastas. You will only gain weight if you consume more calories than you burn.”