• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Dieters eliminate food groups to slim down

October 27, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Vegan, low-carb, gluten-free, they all serve a purpose for those with special needs, but that doesn't mean we should all jump on the bandwagon. Before you omit meat, wheat or the gluten, take a look at the pros and cons of these diets.Going meatless is often recommended by health experts to cut back on cholesterol and saturated fat, but giving up animal products altogether can mean a loss of good nutrients: such as easily absorbable iron, zinc and quality protein, plus the best source of omega-3 fats from fish, and the absence of vitamin B-12, found in animal products.

Vegans that do it right stock up on kidney and black beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds and produce, but should consider iron and B-12 supplements.

One of the fastest growing trends at the market is popularity of gluten-free food aimed at those who are gluten intolerant or who have celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body does not tolerate gluten, a protein that's found in wheat, rye, oats and barley.

For those with the disease, it is vital to eat a gluten-free diet. But dietitian Evelyn Tribole cautions those doing it for weight loss or health.

"This is a diet that's typically low in fiber and it's not enriched in the B vitamins that you get in other kinds of foods," said Tribole.

So iron, folic acid, thiamin and niacin are all removed. Supplementation of these things would be necessary.

Finally, there are those eliminating an entire nutrition component: carbohydrates.

"There are the carb counters, or they make it even easier by avoiding carbs all together," said Tribole.

Tribole says lack of carbohydrates affect mood and energy along with depleting the body of fiber, vitamins and minerals found in whole grains and produce. Since they are the body's primary fuel source, limiting them or cutting them out altogether can make many dieters feel low and dragging.

It's important to note that people will lose weight on most any diet for a while, especially if your consuming special products or foods in small amounts, but the experts say if you could just take the best quality protein, carbohydrate and fat in modest portions, you'll probably stick with it for a lot longer.


- Get more L.A. breaking news, weather, traffic and sports
- Have a news tip? Send your tips, video, or pictures


Load Comments