Which one do you belong to?

This cake is gluten free, so it’s definitely healthy. Right? NEW research reveals that more than 50 per cent of Aussies are taking the old adage ‘you are what you eat’ one step further by subscribing themselves to a specific eating style or food tribe. While eliminating some foods is necessary for certain medical conditions, many are choosing to adopt gluten free, paleo or low carb eating patterns as a lifestyle choice.Some diets or food tribes have gained a cult-like status and aligning yourself to the cause seems the only way to be accepted. For some this may turn into an ‘disordered eating’ style, where what you eat, how it’s grown, and even how it’s prepared can preoccupy a large part of your life.This can cause anxiety in social situations, affect mental health, and can lead to nutritional deficiencies if eliminating entire food groups.LOW CARBRestricting carbohydrates has been a popular form of dieting for weight loss over the last decade and research by Grill’d Healthy Burgers reveals approximately 6.9 million Australians call themselves low carb eaters.Quick weight loss usually occurs because insulin levels remain low, so the body is able to burn more fat. However, eliminating wholegrains (which is also recommended in the paleo diet) is not advisable long term.The fibre in wholegrains like brown rice, quinoa, barley or whole-wheat pasta keeps the gut healthy and is associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. Additionally these grains promote satiety (feeling full) and fuel your fitness, which are both essential for weight loss and maintenance. People are eating spaghetti made out of zucchini these days, to cut down on carbs. Picture: Justin LloydSource:News Corp AustraliaThe other caveat to this eating style is the production of new low carb products, which are usually just as kilojoule dense as their starchy counterparts. Low carb buns and bread are made with ingredients such as multiple eggs, almond meal, coconut flour, and coconut cream making them high in saturated fat, and in many cases more calories, which is still not advisable in large quantities.For example, the Grill’d Low Carb Superbun has 275 calories and 21g of fat before even adding the meat patty. This is compared to their traditional bun with only 215 calories and a sensible 2.4g of fat.GLUTEN FREEAccording to a 2014 Food Australia survey, 4.3 million Aussies have gone gluten free. Those that say goodbye to gluten mention they feel lighter and less bloated. However, eliminating gluten also means cutting out many processed foods such as cakes, biscuits, and takeaways, so it’s hard to pinpoint if wheat or some other factor is the real reason.Nevertheless, this type of eating pattern is gaining popularity as seen by the increase in foods available at the supermarkets and many celebrities also touting their weight loss success to a G-free lifestyle. Yum! If all gluten free foods were as good as this Taste.com.au recipe for potato skin nachos, maybe even more people would jump on the bandwagon.Source:SuppliedYet the nutritional profiles of gluten free foods can be lower in fibre, vitamins, and higher in sugar, fat, and emulsifiers to create a similar ‘mouth feel’ that gluten imparts. While choosing a gluten free lifestyle is not an unhealthy choice, there is no reason to eliminate wheat products unless you suffer from coeliac disease or diagnosed gluten sensitivity.SUGAR FREESugar is the new fat that’s been demonised for many of Australia’s growing health concerns including an increase in Type 2 diabetes and obesity.Sure, cutting down on refined sugars is a great way to improve your health, but many anti-sugar advocates are simply swapping chocolate bars for raw treats made with rice syrup or glucose — which are still sugars and provide more kilojoules than table sugar, still contribute to tooth decay, and cause a much higher spike in blood glucose levels because of its high glycaemic index.THE VERDICTIt’s important to remember that how you choose to eat is nobody’s business but your own. Who you are is not what you eat. Food is simply the sustenance that allows you to run, laugh, work, and live your life so ensure your diet is as interesting and varied as you are. That means eating plenty of vegetables and fruit, slow digesting carbs, quality protein, healthy fats, and the occasional burger or slice of chocolate cake. That’s a tribe we should all subscribe to.Kathleen Alleaume is a nutrition and exercise scientist and author of What’s Eating You?Dave Hughes reveals why diet is so important2:02 What Dave Hughes cut out of his diet to lose weight. Authors: paleo diet - Google News

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