If you spend any time looking around the internet for healthy eating tips, I’d guess you have found yourself overwhelmed with so many choices. Of course, diets are nothing new. Americans have been searching for the Holy Grail of food combinations for centuries–and today there’s an option for everyone.
In some cases, you may need a specific diet because of a medical diagnosis. For example, men and women with celiac disease need a gluten free diet and some people with irritable bowel syndrome may find relief by following a low FODMAP plan.
No matter the reason you are opting for a change in your diet, do you know the difference between paleo, clean eating, and gluten free? Let’s break it down.
Gluten Free: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. Gluten gives the familiar stretchy texture to breads we love. Gluten can trigger a variety of allergic responses in patients who cannot tolerate it and cause a variety of health complications. Gluten free diets use alternate starches and flours that are made from grains like millet, flax, coconut, and a variety of others to create foods tolerated by the body. Fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meats are naturally gluten free so these foods are still part of the diet.
Paleo:Paleo diets try to mimmic the foods that might have been eaten by early hunters and gatherers. Focusing on fresh vegetables, fruits and meats, paleo eating is a low-carb approach to eating. Processed foods, sugar, alcohol, grains, beans, and dairy are all no-no’s for paleo.
Clean Eating: Clean eaters opt for plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, limited amounts of dairy and no added sugar or alcohol. Clean eating focuses on taking in a balanced diet while avoiding all processed foods. White flour and white sugar are usually not part of a clean eating plan.
Whatever your reason for considering a new diet plan, make sure to talk to your doctor or a dietician before beginning–especially if you have a preexisting medical condition. If your doctor says it’s okay, then give one of these plans a try!