What might be missing from your popular diet
Following a specific diet can be beneficial in a lot of ways—vegetarians have lower blood pressure, for example—but cutting out entire food groups can also make it easy to miss out on essential nutrients. We examined three of the more popular restrictive diets (paleo, vegan and gluten-free), discovered what those following them may be lacking and came up with a few easy ways to make up the difference.
Paleo diet – This trendy diet mimics the way cavemen ate and suggests cutting out dairy, sugar, grains and legumes. Unfortunately, it also can make it easy to not get enough calcium, vitamin D and fiber. You can overcome that and still stick to the Paleo guidelines. Calcium can be found in lots of vegetables, berries and seafood, and vitamin D is in fish like salmon, eggs, nuts and more. Look for fiber, which most people get from whole grains, in vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens, berries, avocados, and nuts.
Vegan diet – This diet removes all animal products, including meat (obviously), eggs and dairy. But by only eating plant-based foods, you can miss out on B-12, vitamin D, iron and protein. To be on the safe side, add a few specific foods to your daily diet. Get protein from nuts, beans and soy products and calcium from vegetables like spinach (which also has iron!), swiss chard, tofu and almonds. B-12 only naturally exists in animal products, so look for B-12-enriched foods like some cereals and soy milks.
Gluten-free diet – Whether you’re ditching gluten because of Celiac disease, a sensitivity or just looking to cut out wheat from your life, you could be lacking nutrients like B vitamins and fiber. Make sure to take a gluten-free multivitamin to make up for the vitamin B deficiencies. As for fiber, prepare dishes with other grains like brown rice and quinoa and eat a lot of fiber-rich fruits, veggies and beans.
Photo credit: Youssef Abdelaal