Before the whole world went under lockdown, perhaps your best friend would scorn at the sandwich you ordered at your favorite cafe and turned her nose up when you offered her a piece of your muffin.
“I’m eliminating gluten,” she tells you.
“...........Yeah you and everybody else,” you think.
The new gluten free trend, sugar free, wheat free, dairy free, healthy nutrients free trend that has hit is no joke.
No joke as in everyone is jumping onboard and trying it out.
But it’s a joke as in this might not be the answer to your weight loss goals.
Cutting out entire food groups or eliminating foods that you like, and forbidding them in your diet, is not setting you up for success towards reaching your goals.
Here’s why you might want to rethink elimination diets:
1) You lose out on a lot of valuable nutrients – You may be cutting out certain foods or food groups because you don’t want certain things that they contain (calories, fat, carbohydrates etc.), but what about the fact that you really need certain things that they contain? Foods are based on more than just one macronutrient, and typically contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients, which are critical to healthy functioning within the body. Grain based carbohydrates for example are high in B vitamins which are the stress vitamin, and are also key for energy production. If you aren’t replacing these with other vitamin sources, you might be missing out on key nutrients essential for healthy body function!
2) You feel deprived, binging later - Because the truth is, we eliminate the foods or ingredient that we (think) aren’t good for us, but that we regularly eat, such as bread, sweets, or carbohydrates (typically, you don’t eliminate a food that you don’t even eat in the first place!) This means, that given that it is one of our favourite foods, we are going to feel like we are denying ourselves our favourite things, and sooner or later, give in and have it, consuming it too excess because it has been so long, or because we know we aren’t supposed to have it. This only serves to initiate the cycle again, where you feel guilty for consuming the food and then put it off limits again.
3) It doesn’t change your behavior - Behavior modification as we like to call it, starts at the root of the issue and allows individuals to see why they chose that food in the first place, or why it is something that one continues to crave. Simply cutting the food out doesn’t try to address these underlying causes and help you to change your behaviours around the food. This means that whenever it is available, you will still want it and still be trying to deny yourself what you want, hence potentially spiraling you into binging as detailed above.
While it is true that for certain health conditions, for individuals suffering from certain symptoms and illnesses, or for allergy reasons, certain foods do need to be eliminated for certain individuals. If this isn’t you however, don’t be too quick to jump on the bandwagon – it may end up doing you more harm than good!