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Carefully consider pros, cons when beginning alternative eating habits

Vegetarianism, veganism, gluten-free, weight-loss diets examined

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Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013 12:00 am

From only ingesting liquids to restricting

yourself to only fruit, nontraditional diets are

growing in popularity in much of the nation.

As the obesity rate in the U.S. steadily rises

to dangerous territory, it is obvious diet

changes are becoming significant in many

Americans’ lives; however, these alterations

needn’t be comical nor generally disgusting.

Here we discuss the logistics of some common alternative diets as well as the true key

to maintaining a state of good health regardless of stringent limits on foods consumed.


In a vegetarian diet, an individual would

abstain from consuming any meat, fish or

poultry. Reasons for becoming vegetarian include beliefs in nonviolence, religious beliefs,

health and ecological concerns or concern for

animals. According to the American Dietetic

Association, a vegetarian diet can meet all

nutrient needs as well as put individuals at

lower risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes,

obesity and hypertension. However, director

of WSU’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics,

Tonia Reinhard, stresses the significance of

an informed and monitored vegetarian diet.

“Sometimes what happens with people

who do the vegetarian thing and they’re

not very careful so they can actually end up

loading up on the kind of carbohydrates

that don’t give you much in return, like a

slice of white bread, or a plain bagel, rather

than whole grains. And if you don’t focus

on whole grains and legumes when you’re

vegetarian you can actually end up with a

diet that’s in some ways less nutritious,”

Reinhard said.

Overall, vegetarian diets do possess health

benefits; however, like all other diets, calorie

and carb-high foods must be limited to

ensure these benefits are substantial.


Veganism pushes vegetarianism further,

as vegans abstain from consuming animal

products and by-products entirely. However,

veganism poses a level of health risk without information and planning.

“Well, personally, I’m not a fan of vegan.

Right off the bat, I can tell you studies show

within 5 to 7 years those individuals, they

will be compromised relative to vitamin

B12 and this is a fact. And that comes from

not me saying it, that’s from the government,” Reinhard said. “It’s a pretty simple

reason – vegans don’t take in any animal

product, they’re not just avoiding meat like

a vegetarian. They don’t take in dairy, they

don’t take in eggs. And animal products are

the only true source of B12. I think you can

do it in a better way than not, but you have

to be very meticulous and know your stuff.”

A lifelong vegan named Sheth reiterated the significance of information when

beginning a vegan diet in The Huffington

Post, stating, “A vegan diet can be healthy

and have many positive health benefits, but

ensure that it’s well planned and nutritionally balanced.”

Generally, vegan diets are lower in saturated fats and cholesterol. Many vegans report health benefits such as elimination of

acne and migraines. Considering the pros

and cons involved is critical when deciding

on a vegan diet, as is receiving a medical

professional’s advice.

Gluten-Free Diet

Gluten free has is another diet growing in popularity. According to Health.

com, gluten-free diets are necessary for

individuals with celiac disease, which is

characterized by damage of the intestine

after consuming gluten found in wheat, rice

and countless other food products. About

6 percent of the population suffers from

gluten sensitivity, essentially a mild form

of celiac disease causing bowel discomfort

and other mild health symptoms. Eliminating gluten completely erases these issues,

although a blood test is required to diagnose

gluten sensitivities.

For those without this sensitivity, glutenfree diets do not necessarily guarantee

weight loss; the only reason a gluten-free

individual would observe weight loss is

simply because they abstain from consuming their regular gluten-filled snack foods. In

fact, alternative gluten foods may be higher

in calories and fat than non-gluten, discrediting the benefits of a non-necessary gluten

free diet.

Weight Loss Diets

There is currently an enormous range of

weight loss diets circulating in the public,

from self-blending of food to the delivery of

prepackaged, frozen meals. However, Reinhard completely discredits the long-term

merit of these diets.

“The NIH (National Institute of Health)

tells us that whatever kind of diet you go on

to lose weight – it doesn’t matter if it’s the

best or if it’s a weird one like the banana

diet – you may lose weight. But within 3 to

5 years, 95 percent of people gain the weight

back,” Reinhard said. “So any kind of diet

that’s gonna be hard to live with for the rest

of your life is probably not gonna be very

successful (…) It’s gotta be something you

can maintain forever because you have to be

able to keep off the weight that you lose.”

So, what is the true “best” diet to partake

in to sustain good health? Reinhard states

there is no one true diet to surpass all others; rather, an individual merely must focus

on nutritionally dense, low calorie foods to

achieve a successful healthy lifestyle.

“For example, if you compare the content

of vitamin C, vitamin A and a few more

nutrients between 100 calories of broccoli

versus a 100 calories of potato chips, you’re

not gonna get much back for your 100

calories of potato chips, whereas with the

broccoli you’re getting sky-high amounts of

vitamin A and B. So that’s the idea – for a

certain amount of calories that you have to

give up, how much and you get back in terms

of essential nutrients and phytochemicals,”

Reinhard said.

Whether an omnivore or an herbivore,

gluten-free or Nutrisystem-bound, it is

important that Americans begin reevaluating

their lifestyles and food choices. All it takes

is a few sustainable diet switches per day to

achieve a lifetime of good health.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • posted at 5:40 am on Tue, Jan 27, 2015.


    The best solution to maintain your health is to do any type of physical activity and to take daily vitamin supplements. You shouldn't keep any diet, especially if you are a young, active person, because you can harm your body instead of making it better. Many people take the 4Life Transfer Factor Plus because they are made only from natural components like cow colostrum and egg yolk and they have an amazing capacity to help your immune system to be more efficient.

  • posted at 8:18 am on Mon, Jan 26, 2015.


    Following a diet is not a bad thing, especially if you want to lose weight. But you should be very careful what food you don't want to consume because your body may need it. Instead, people take vitamin supplements and some of them also take an anti-aging supplement. You can find more details about this product at

  • posted at 8:33 am on Fri, Jan 23, 2015.


    It is not so healthy to be a vegetarian, but if you follow this type of diet, you should take dissolvable calcium tablets and other vitamins, that are normally in meat and dairy products.

  • posted at 1:51 pm on Sun, Dec 21, 2014.


    If a person wants to be healthy, he should embrace an omnivore diet, where no foods are excluded. Every person who followed this diet had nothing to lose, on the contrary his health has improved. But if you are an overweight person, you should read more about weight loss surgery and do one. Afterwards, you can change your diet.


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