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Sugar, Dairy, and Wheat, Oh My!

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The Benefits of Eliminating Them 

We have all experienced that feeling, the one you get after you eat something that is really bad for you and you know that you are going to feel sick for the rest of the day. Once that feeling is gone, it can be easy to think that the foods you ate won’t wreak any more havoc. Think again.

Sugar, wheat and dairy have been the culprits for many illnesses that go beyond the common tummy ache in adults and kids alike. “The average person consumes 180 pounds of sugar a year. Obesity has a relationship with high carbs and sugar,” says Dr. Cesar Lara of Cesar Lara MD Weight Management, which serves the Tampa Bay area. “Refined carbs (anything that is manufactured) send a surge in insulin to try to drop the sugar, but it makes you crave and rebound or roller coaster with foods, causing insulin resistance. Insulin resistance also causes inflammation, which can cause cardiovascular problems, diabetes and cancer.” The long and short of it, you are unknowingly turning your body against itself.

In America, these three ingredients seem like staples. You almost can’t imagine life without them, but the problem lies in digestion. We all create an enzyme lactase in our bodies to help up break down milk when we are young, Dr. Lara notes. As we age, the amount of the lactase enzyme in our bodies decreases. “We are the only species to drink milk as an adult, and the only species to drink another animal’s milk so we cannot digest it,” Dr. Lara says. Add in the steroids and antibiotics that are often given to cows and it can make a person very sick.

The problem with wheat comes down to gluten. Gluten is what gives bread dough that elastic texture that makes it easier to bake, but the body was not meant to break down these refined foods. According to Dr. Lara, 75% of the world’s population cannot digest gluten, while only 1% of the world has Celiac disease, a complete gluten allergy. Gluten also can be dangerous as it has been linked to schizophrenia, autism and epilepsy. When you eat gluten, dairy or sugar, your body produces antibodies to start attacking these ingredients since they can’t be broken down. In the process those antibodies will attack your stomach. The list of problems this causes goes on and on, with stomach pain being just a small symptom.

So how can you stop these three dangerous foods from hurting your kids, and how can you reverse damage they may already be doing? Dr. Lara recommends that adults identify a reason to cut them out. “If you have a medical reason, it is much easier to let go of these things,” he says. With more and more children getting type 2 diabetes, it is important to try to at least cut down on them. Dr. Lara recommends that you should wean your kids rather than go cold turkey since they may see it as a punishment rather than something that is good for them.

Going cold turkey or even just weaning off of these ingredients might seem impossible, but there are some great substitutions you can make. For example, pure honey, agave and blackstrap molasses are great sweeteners without all of the negative benefits of artificial sweeteners. Some common dairy replacements are oat, soy or rice milk, but it is important to make sure that they are coming from organic farms with healthy farming practices. A rule of thumb when choosing sweeteners, dairy replacements, wheat substitutes or any food for that matter is to avoid anything that has been processed or altered.

Another great option to get rid of harmful things in your diet is the weight loss plan from Dr. Lara. “We mainly focus on helping people achieve a healthy weight and overall health. We get them off of refined carbs and use vegetables, fruits and natural proteins. Once they have reached their goal, we reintroduce some things (like pizza) as a once-in-a-while treat. We make sure to educate them so that they know how to look for nutrients,” Dr. Lara says. If you still can’t seem to kick a craving, Dr. Lara has a world renowned hypnotist on staff to help you stay on track.

It is important to consult a medical professional before you start any diet. Eliminating these ingredients from your diet may help you lead a happier, healthier life. Dr. Lara and his staff are dedicated to helping you and your family end the cycle of unhealthy eating.

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