Posts Tagged ‘Detox Diets’

To Detox or Not … that is the Question?

December 14, 2014

spring_detox-2Detoxing is a scam.
“You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth.”
This article first appeared in the Guardian, December 5th 2014.

There’s no such thing as ‘detoxing’. In medical terms, it’s a nonsense. Diet and exercise is the only way to get healthy. But which of the latest fad regimes can really make a difference?

Whether it’s cucumbers splashing into water or models sitting smugly next to a pile of vegetables, it’s tough not to be sucked in by the detox industry. The idea that you can wash away your calorific sins is the perfect antidote to our fast-food lifestyles and alcohol-lubricated social lives. But before you dust off that juicer or take the first tentative steps towards a colonic irrigation clinic, there’s something you should know: detoxing – the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things.

“Let’s be clear,” says Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, “there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t.” The respectable one, he says, is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions. “The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you’re supposed to have accumulated.”

If toxins did build up in a way your body couldn’t excrete, he says, you’d likely be dead or in need of serious medical intervention. “The healthy body has kidneys, a liver, skin, even lungs that are detoxifying as we speak,” he says. “There is no known way – certainly not through detox treatments – to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better.”

Much of the sales patter revolves around “toxins”: poisonous substances that you ingest or inhale. But it’s not clear exactly what these toxins are. If they were named they could be measured before and after treatment to test effectiveness. Yet, much like floaters in your eye, try to focus on these toxins and they scamper from view. In 2009, a network of scientists assembled by the UK charity Sense about Science contacted the manufacturers of 15 products sold in pharmacies and supermarkets that claimed to detoxify. The products ranged from dietary supplements to smoothies and shampoos. When the scientists asked for evidence behind the claims, not one of the manufacturers could define what they meant by detoxification, let alone name the toxins.

Yet, inexplicably, the shelves of health food stores are still packed with products bearing the word “detox” – it’s the marketing equivalent of drawing go-faster stripes on your car. You can buy detoxifying tablets, tinctures, tea bags, face masks, bath salts, hair brushes, shampoos, body gels and even hair straighteners. Yoga, luxury retreats, and massages will also all erroneously promise to detoxify. You can go on a seven-day detox diet and you’ll probably lose weight, but that’s nothing to do with toxins, it’s because you would have starved yourself for a week.

Then there’s colonic irrigation. Its proponents will tell you that mischievous plaques of impacted poo can lurk in your colon for months or years and pump disease-causing toxins back into your system. Pay them a small fee, though, and they’ll insert a hose up your bottom and wash them all away. Unfortunately for them – and possibly fortunately for you – no doctor has ever seen one of these mythical plaques, and many warn against having the procedure done, saying that it can perforate your bowel.

Other tactics are more insidious. Some colon-cleansing tablets contain a polymerising agent that turns your faeces into something like a plastic, so that when a massive rubbery poo snake slithers into your toilet you can stare back at it and feel vindicated in your purchase. Detoxing foot pads turn brown overnight with what manufacturers claim is toxic sludge drawn from your body. This sludge is nothing of the sort – a substance in the pads turns brown when it mixes with water from your sweat.

“It’s a scandal,” fumes Ernst. “It’s criminal exploitation of the gullible man on the street and it sort of keys into something that we all would love to have – a simple remedy that frees us of our sins, so to speak. It’s nice to think that it could exist but unfortunately it doesn’t.”

That the concept of detoxification is so nebulous might be why it has evaded public suspicion. When most of us utter the word detox, it’s usually when we’re bleary eyed and stumbling out of the wrong end of a heavy weekend. In this case, surely, a detox from alcohol is a good thing? “It’s definitely good to have non-alcohol days as part of your lifestyle,” says Catherine Collins, an NHS dietitian at St George’s Hospital. “It’ll probably give you a chance to reassess your drinking habits if you’re drinking too much. But the idea that your liver somehow needs to be ‘cleansed’ is ridiculous.”

The liver breaks down alcohol in a two-step process. Enzymes in the liver first convert alcohol to acetaldehyde, a very toxic substance that damages liver cells. It is then almost immediately converted into carbon dioxide and water which the body gets rid of. Drinking too much can overwhelm these enzymes and the acetaldehyde buildup will lead to liver damage. Moderate and occasional drinking, though, might have a protective effect. Population studies, says Collins, have shown that teetotallers and those who drink alcohol excessively have a shorter life expectancy than people who drink moderately and in small amounts.

“We know that a little bit of alcohol seems to be helpful,” she says. “Maybe because its sedative effect relaxes you slightly or because it keeps the liver primed with these detoxifying enzymes to help deal with other toxins you’ve consumed. That’s why the government guidelines don’t say, ‘Don’t drink’; they say, ‘OK drink, but only modestly.’ It’s like a little of what doesn’t kill you cures you.”

This adage also applies in an unexpected place – to broccoli, the luvvie of the high-street “superfood” detox salad. Broccoli does help the liver out but, unlike the broad-shouldered, cape-wearing image that its superfood moniker suggests, it is no hero. Broccoli, as with all brassicas – sprouts, mustard plants, cabbages – contains cyanide. Eating it provides a tiny bit of poison that, like alcohol, primes the enzymes in your liver to deal better with any other poisons.

Collins guffaws at the notion of superfoods. “Most people think that you should restrict or pay particular attention to certain food groups, but this is totally not the case,” she says. “The ultimate lifestyle ‘detox’ is not smoking, exercising and enjoying a healthy balanced diet like the Mediterranean diet.”

Close your eyes, if you will, and imagine a Mediterranean diet. A red chequered table cloth adorned with meats, fish, olive oil, cheeses, salads, wholegrain cereals, nuts and fruits. All these foods give the protein, amino acids, unsaturated fats, fibre, starches, vitamins and minerals to keep the body – and your immune system, the biggest protector from ill-health – functioning perfectly.

So why, then, with such a feast available on doctor’s orders, do we feel the need to punish ourselves to be healthy? Are we hard-wired to want to detox, given that many of the oldest religions practise fasting and purification? Has the scientific awakening shunted bad spirits to the periphery and replaced them with environmental toxins that we think we have to purge ourselves of?

Susan Marchant-Haycox, a London psychologist, doesn’t think so. “Trying to tie detoxing in with ancient religious practices is clutching at straws,” she says. “You need to look at our social makeup over the very recent past. In the 70s, you had all these gyms popping up, and from there we’ve had the proliferation of the beauty and diet industry with people becoming more aware of certain food groups and so on.

“The detox industry is just a follow-on from that. There’s a lot of money in it and there are lots of people out there in marketing making a lot of money.”

Peter Ayton, a professor of psychology at City University London, agrees. He says that we’re susceptible to such gimmicks because we live in a world with so much information we’re happy to defer responsibility to others who might understand things better. “To understand even shampoo you need to have PhD in biochemistry,” he says, “but a lot of people don’t have that. If it seems reasonable and plausible and invokes a familiar concept, like detoxing, then we’re happy to go with it.”

Many of our consumer decisions, he adds, are made in ignorance and supposition, which is rarely challenged or informed. “People assume that the world is carefully regulated and that there are benign institutions guarding them from making any kind of errors. A lot of marketing drip-feeds that idea, surreptitiously. So if people see somebody with apparently the right credentials, they think they’re listening to a respectable medic and trust their advice.”

Ernst is less forgiving: “Ask trading standards what they’re doing about it. Anyone who says, ‘I have a detox treatment’ is profiting from a false claim and is by definition a crook. And it shouldn’t be left to scientists and charities to go after crooks.”

Articles sourced from:
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/05/detox-myth-health-diet-science-ignorance

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Lactose Intolerance

August 26, 2014

Lactose is the main sugar in milk and other dairy products. If you have lactose intolerance, you can’t digest it well. Lactose intolerance is not curable, but there are many ways to cut your symptoms and feel better.

What Are the Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance?

Between 30 minutes and 2 hours after eating a dairy product, you have one or more of these symptoms. They may be mild or severe.

  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful gas
  • Nausea

Even with lactose intolerance, you can tolerate a certain amount of lactose. This affects how quickly you have symptoms and how severe they are. Someone else may be sensitive to small amounts of foods with lactose, while you may be able to eat more before you have symptoms.

What Foods Have Lactose?

Dairy products such as milk and ice cream are some of the most common foods high in lactose. It’s also in foods with dry milk solids, milk byproducts, nonfat dry milk powder, or whey, such as:

  • Breads and baked goods
  • Candy
  • Cereals
  • Salad dressings

Lactose is in some prescription medicines, including birth control pills, and over-the-counter drugs, such as some tablets to ease stomach acid or gas.

What Causes Lactose Intolerance?

If you have lactose intolerance, you can’t digest lactose because your small intestine doesn’t make enough lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose. The lactose that isn’t digested makes gas in your colon.  So when you eat foods or take pills with lactose, you have symptoms.

For many people, lactose intolerance develops naturally with age, because the small intestine starts to make less lactase.

Your body may also make less lactase if your small intestine is injured or you have certain digestive problems, such as Crohn’s or celiac disease.

Who Gets Lactose Intolerance?

Millions of Americans have lactose intolerance, so it’s quite common. About 75% of all people around the globe have too little lactase to some degree. If you’re African-American, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American, you’re more likely to have it.

What Is Life Like With It?

Lactose intolerance is easy to manage. You can probably eat some foods with lactose and not have symptoms. You may need to use trial and error to figure out what foods and how much of them you can tolerate, though.

You can also find many lactose-free dairy options at grocery stores. Lactase enzyme supplements can help you get the nutrition benefits of dairy, especially bone-building calcium and vitamin D, and avoid symptoms of lactose intolerance. And nondairy drinks, such as soy, almond, and rice milk, are often fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

If you have lactose intolerance, keep these things in mind:

  • You may do better having a little milk or dairy products with meals, because it’s easier to digest lactose eaten with other foods.
  • Some dairy products may be easier for you to digest, such as cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
  • Using lactose-free milk, cheese, and other nondairy products in recipes will likely make the meal more pleasant.

     

Thirty minutes have passed since you ate a bowl of ice cream, and now your stomach is cramping and gassy. You feel like you might have diarrhea. Does this sound like you? Or, you had milk, mashed potatoes, or even candy almost 2 hours ago and have these symptoms. Does that sound like you? If either does, you could have lactose intolerance.

Lactose is the main sugar in milk and most other dairy products. Your small intestine makes the enzyme lactase to help you digest that sugar. When you’re lactose intolerant, you don’t make enough lactase to digest lactose well.

You can’t cure lactose intolerance, but if you change what and how you eat, you may cut or even get rid of your symptoms.

Ease Your Symptoms

Millions of Americans have symptoms of lactose intolerance: 

  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful gas
  • Nausea

You can use trial and error to find out what foods cause symptoms, and in what amount. Or, you may want to see your doctor for a diagnosis. You may be sensitive to small amounts of foods that have lactose, or you may only have symptoms if you eat a lot of lactose foods. Your symptoms may be severe or mild. Lactose intolerance is different for everyone.

Find the Culprits (Hint: It might not just be dairy.)

Milk and dairy products are the best-known lactose foods, but there are many others. Some nondairy products have a protein called casein, which can have traces of lactose. To avoid symptoms from lactose intolerance, read food labels carefully. When shopping or cooking, look for these ingredients that have lactose: 

  • Curds
  • Dry milk solids
  • Milk
  • Milk byproducts
  • Dry milk powder
  • Whey

If you are highly sensitive to lactose, you may need to avoid foods such as: 

  • Baked goods
  • Bread, baking, and pancake mixes
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Certain types of candy, such as milk chocolate
  • Instant foods (breakfast drink mixes, mashed potatoes, soups, and meal replacement drinks)
  • Margarine
  • Nondairy creamers (liquid and powdered)
  • Nondairy whipped topping
  • Processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, sausage, and lunch meats)
  • Protein and meal replacement bars
  • Salad dressing

Get a Diagnosis

Your doctor may ask you to keep a diary of the foods you eat, to note when you have symptoms, and to stop eating an offending food to see if your symptoms go away. To make a diagnosis, some doctors simply look at your symptoms and whether avoiding dairy products for 2 weeks relieves them.

To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may do other tests, such as:

  • Hydrogen Breath Test: Normally, people have very little hydrogen in their breath. If your body doesn’t digest lactose, though, hydrogen builds in your intestines, and after a while it’s in your breath. This test measures how much hydrogen is in your breath after you have a lactose-loaded drink several times in a few hours. If your levels are high 3 to 5 hours later, your body does not digest lactose well.
  • Lactose Tolerance Test:  When your body breaks down lactose, it releases sugar into your blood. This tests how much sugar is in your blood. After you fast, a small sample of blood is taken. Then, you drink a liquid that is high in lactose. Two hours later, you give another blood sample. Because lactose causes blood sugar levels to rise, your blood sugar levels in this sample should be higher. If you’re lactose intolerant, you’ll have just a low rise in blood sugar and symptoms.

How to Manage Lactose Intolerance

You can’t change how well your body digests lactose, but you can cut or even stop your symptoms.

Talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian who can help you plan a healthy diet that keeps you feeling good. Keep a food diary to help you learn how much (if any) dairy you can eat without having symptoms. Many people don’t need to stop eating all dairy.

If you make small changes in what you eat, you may be able to prevent symptoms by helping your body digest dairy foods easier.

  • Don’t eat dairy alone. It’s easier for your body to digest lactose when you eat it with other foods. So try having small amounts of milk or dairy foods with meals.
  • Choose easier-to-digest dairy products. Some people find it easier to digest dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
  • Use lactose-free or reduced-lactose milk and dairy products. You can find dairy products with most of the lactose removed, or lactase added, at many grocery stores.
  • Switch to dairy-free products. There are many nondairy options, such as almond, rice, or soy milks. Special note about infants and young children: When babies have symptoms of lactose intolerance, many children’s doctors advise changing from cow’s milk formula to soy milk formula until the symptoms go away, then slowly adding cow’s milk formula and dairy products back into their diets.
  • Take a lactase enzyme replacement. These are available over the counter in pills or capsules. Take the advised dose with your first drink or bite of dairy to help prevent lactose intolerance symptoms.

Lactose: How Much Can You Take?

If your doctor just broke the news that you’re lactose intolerant, it doesn’t mean you’ll never get to savor another bite of ice cream.

At first, many people fear they’ll have to give up all dairy products, says Dee Sandquist, RD, a dietitian in Fairfield, Iowa. But with some trial and error, most people find they can still eat small amounts of dairy without having symptoms such as bloating, gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, or nausea.

Dairy foods are important to the health of your bones, because they’re loaded with calcium and vitamin D. So the trick is to make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients, whether from dairy or other foods.

“Listen to your body and your symptoms,” says Sandquist, who is also a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

How Severe Are Your Symptoms?

How much dairy you can eat depends on how much lactase — the enzyme that digests lactose — your body makes, says Yuri A. Saito-Loftus, MD, MPH. She’s an assistant professor in the Mayo Clinic’s division of gastroenterology and hepatology. “That does vary a little bit from individual to individual. We don’t know 100% what controls that. Presumably, it’s genetically determined.”

Some people with lactose intolerance can adapt. You may be able to add small amounts of foods with lactose to your diet over time and have fewer symptoms. “If you keep eating dairy, you can stimulate some lactase production,” Saito-Loftus says. “That may help you better tolerate dairy products.”

If your symptoms are so severe that you can’t handle lactose in any foods, talk to your doctor about how to get enough calcium and vitamin D.

What Foods You Can Eat — and How Much

“Many people know their symptoms pretty well, so they know if they can handle just a little bit or not,” Sandquist says. In that case, you may be able to keep a mental tally of foods or amounts of foods to avoid. Other people get a better sense of what their body can take by jotting down notes. “A diary is extremely helpful because then you can log what symptoms you have, what you’ve eaten,” Sandquist says. “You can look back and see if there’s a pattern.”

Figure out what foods you can eat. If you’re not sure which foods with lactose you can handle, try one dairy food at a time, Sandquist says. You should be able to tell whether it bothers you within 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating it. Any discomfort from lactose intolerance is likely to set in by then. For example, drink a half-cup of dairy milk and see how well you tolerate it.

See how much you can eat. If you don’t have symptoms from the food and the amount you try, slowly add more to see at what point you do have symptoms. For instance, maybe you don’t have symptoms with a cup of milk, but you do with one and a fourth cups of milk. So your tolerance level is one cup.

If you do have symptoms, cut back on the amount to see if you can handle a smaller portion. 

Once you’ve found how much of one food you can handle, start testing another food.

Find Substitutes

You may find you can’t tolerate any amount of some foods. That’s a good time to try lactose-free or reduced-lactose foods.

For instance, if milk doesn’t agree with you, try lactose-free milk or a dairy-free drink, such as almond, rice, or soy milk. If you have problems digesting cheese, try one with less lactose.

  • Nonfat dry milk powder, 1 cup: 62 grams lactose
  • Sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup: 40 grams lactose
  • Evaporated milk, 1 cup: 24 grams lactose
  • Milk, 1 cup: 10-12 grams lactose
  • Ice milk, 1/2 cup: 9 grams lactose
  • Ice cream, 1/2 cup: 6 grams lactose
  • Yogurt, 1 cup: 5 grams lactose
  • Cottage cheese, 1/2 cup: 2-3 grams lactose
  • Blue cheese, 1 oz.: 2 grams lactose
  • Sherbet, orange, 1/2 cup: 2 grams lactose
  • American, Swiss, or Parmesan cheese, 1 oz.: 1 gram lactose
  • Cheddar cheese, 1 oz.: 0 grams lactose

Be Aware of Calcium Needs

People who are lactose intolerant tend to cut out dairy foods. If you do that, you can shortchange yourself on calcium. You need calcium for healthy teeth and bones, and vitamin D to help your body use calcium. “People who are lactose intolerant are at higher risk for osteoporosis,” or thinning bones, Saito-Loftus says.

If you have lactose intolerance, you don’t have to miss out on the bone-building benefits of calcium and vitamin D. Some lactose-free foods are fortified with these nutrients, such as lactose-free milk and cottage cheese. Some nondairy milks — almond, oat, rice, and soy — are also enriched with calcium and vitamin D.

Look at the label, and try to get at least as much calcium and vitamin D as you would get from regular cow’s milk. Calcium and vitamin D supplements can help you fill in any gaps to ensure you “bone up” on these vital nutrients.   

Also, add these foods to your diet for an added boost of calcium (without the lactose):

  • Bok choy and Chinese cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Collards
  • Greens: collard, kale, mustard, or turnip
  • Orange juice that is fortified with calcium
  • Salmon or sardines with bones, canned
  • Soybeans
  • Tofu, calcium set

Vitamin D-rich foods include:

  • Eggs
  • Orange juice that is fortified
  • Swordfish or salmon, cooked
  • Tuna fish or sardines, canned

Lactose-Free Milk and Nondairy Beverages

Does milk upset your stomach? You could be lactose intolerant.  
But even if you are, you can probably still enjoy light coffee and creamy desserts without discomfort. Here’s how.

Lactose-Free and Nondairy Options

Dairy products are high in calcium, protein, and other nutrients. You may still be able to get these nutrients from dairy if you’re lactose intolerant.

  • “On average, most lactose-intolerant people can tolerate about 250 ml of lactose,” says David Goldstein, MD, a gastroenterologist in Emerson, N.J. That’s about 1 cup (8 ounces) of dairy milk. Start by trying 1/2 cup of regular milk or less with a meal.
  • Take lactase tablets or capsules before eating or drinking foods that have dairy products or milk.
  • Drink and cook with lactose-free milk. It has added lactase to break down the lactose. It also has about the same nutrients as regular milk.

For nondairy milk, consider these options. They vary in nutrition, so before you buy, compare the labels next to cow’s milk. Choose one that is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients. Use unsweetened nondairy milk in savory dishes like mashed potatoes. You might like vanilla, chocolate, or other flavors for baking. 

  • Soy milk is the best source of protein of the nondairy options. It’s thicker than cow’s milk and slightly beige in color.
  • Coconut milk is creamy like whole milk. It has little protein, though, and about the same saturated fat as whole milk — about 4 grams in a cup.
  • Almond milk is also like cow’s milk in texture, though slightly beige in color. It tastes faintly like almonds. It may have more calcium than dairy milk, along with vitamins D and E. But an 8-ounce glass of almond milk has only about 1 gram of protein.
  • Rice milk is white, like cow’s milk, and thinner and sweeter than almond milk. It doesn’t work as well as thicker milks in sauces and puddings. It is low in protein, like almond milk. But you can find it fortified with calcium.
  • Hemp milk is thick and sometimes a little grainy. It is made of hemp seeds, which are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It also has protein but falls short in calcium.

If you have stomach symptoms while using any non-dairy options, the problem may be guar gum. It’s often added for thickness, says Sonya Angelone, RDN, a dietician in San Francisco and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “This can affect some people adversely, and they experience gas just like they might with lactose.”

Lactose Intolerance vs. Milk Allergy

Lactose intolerance is not the same as a milk allergy, which involves your immune system.

Lactose is the sugar in milk. If you’re lactose intolerant, a glass of milk or a bowl of creamy soup can give you intestinal trouble like cramps, gas, diarrhea, or bloating. That’s because your small intestine isn’t making enough of the enzyme lactase. Lactase breaks down milk sugar so your bloodstream can absorb it well.

A milk allergy can cause stomach pain, bloating, and diarrhea, too. But it can also cause hives, swelling, and more severe symptoms, like a drop in blood pressure and trouble breathing.

“If you think you have lactose intolerance, get tested so you have a clear diagnosis,” suggests Beth Kitchin, PhD, RDN. She’s an assistant professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “The dietary advice for each is really different, so getting an accurate diagnosis is important.”

First, your doctor may suggest you avoid all milk products briefly to see if your symptoms improve. If they do, the doctor may do a test to confirm that you are lactose intolerant.

Dairy trouble got you down? Don’t worry! You can still enjoy some of your favorite foods. Try these simple recipe swaps so you can eat the foods you love.

Milk Options

If a recipe calls for 1 cup of cow’s milk, you can replace it with lactose-free cow’s milk or rice or soy milk. Just remember: Rice milk is thinner and soy milk is thicker than cow’s milk. So you may need to tweak the amount you use in cooking and baking.

Closest to milk.  Lactose-free milk is treated with lactase to break down the lactose. It is the closest cousin to regular cow’s milk in taste and offers the same nutrients, such as calcium.

Flavor changers. The most popular alternatives for drinking and cooking are almond, rice, and soy milk. Try them first to make sure you enjoy the taste, and keep in mind that the milk’s flavor may affect the taste of what you’re making. Here are some newer milk options:

  • Cashew
  • Hemp seed
  • Oat
  • Potato

No-Nos. Goat, sheep, and buffalo milk are not suitable, because they all contain lactose.

Cooking Tips. The safest bet, in both sweet and savory recipes, is to choose a light, plain, and unsweetened product.

  • In bread, cake, cookie, or sweet recipes, flavored or sweetened milks may also work.
  • When buttermilk is an ingredient, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of plain milk substitute to make your own. Some store-bought cow’s milk buttermilk, if made with active bacteria cultures, may be low in lactose.
  • When dry milk powder is an ingredient, use an equal amount of coconut, potato, rice, or soy milk powder instead.

Cream Substitutes

There are a few alternatives to heavy cream, light cream, or half-and-half that have similar mouth-feel and thickness to the real thing.

  • Coconut cream makes a good swap for half-and-half when you blend it with half soy milk. Another option: Create your own light cream by mixing 3/4 cup of a plain milk substitute with 1/4 cup of canola oil.
  • Coconut milk can replace evaporated milk or heavy cream in soups and stews. You can also make your own heavy cream with 1/2 cup plain milk substitute and 1/2 cup canola oil.
  • Dairy and lactose free half-and-half substitutes work well in many recipes.

You may be able to use nut butters made from almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, peanuts, or macadamias instead of dairy cream in some recipes. Make a nut cream by whisking 1 cup of water into 1/4 cup of nut butter.

Butter Substitutes

Fruit purees. In baked goods (other than cookies), you can substitute fruit purees like applesauce, prune, or banana for part or all of the butter. Usually ¾ cup of fruit puree replaces 1 cup of butter. Many chefs use this approach to lower fat and calories, and make muffins, brownies, and cakes healthier.

Dairy-free margarines or oils. You can also use dairy-free or soy margarine, coconut oil, shortening, and olive or canola oil for part or all of the butter.

Yogurt Substitutes

You may be able to tolerate some cow’s milk yogurts, because they have very little lactose. Choose ones with live, active bacterial cultures for the least amount of lactose.

If you can’t tolerate regular yogurt, try soy or coconut milk yogurts, soy sour cream, or unsweetened fruit puree.

Sour Cream Substitutes

Let soy based or lactose-free sour creams serve as subs in your favorite recipes. Pureed silken tofu and plain soy yogurt can also work well.

Cheese Substitutes

Aged cheeses such as cheddar, Colby, Parmesan, and Swiss have very little lactose, only about 0.1 gram per ounce. American cheese, cream cheese, and cottage cheese are also low in lactose.

You can use hemp, rice, reduced lactose, lactose-free, or soy cheese in recipes to replace cheese.

Ice Cream Substitutes

There is a wide variety of diary-free ice creams and frozen yogurts made from soy, rice, hemp, coconut, and lactose-free milks.

Sorbet, made from fruit, sugar, and water, is another option.

Sherbet is made with milk but only contains a small amount of lactose, about 4-6 grams per cup.

Chocolate Substitutes

Most dark chocolate is lactose-free and comes in a wide variety of shapes and sweetness levels. Check the label to be sure it doesn’t contain any dairy ingredients.

Carob chips and rice milk chocolate are two options for chocolate made with cow’s milk.

Lactose-Free Recipes for Your Favorite Dishes

The thought of eating high-lactose foods like quiche, fettuccine Alfredo, or pudding can give you feelings of both yearning and dread if you have severe lactose intolerance. The good news? You can still enjoy these tasty dishes.

The trick is to swap in calcium-fortified lactose-free milk or nondairy milk for regular cow’s milk, or use lactose-free options instead of cheese, cream cheese, and yogurt in recipes. Nondairy drinks, such as almond, rice, or soy milk, are also tasty options. Use olive oil or canola oil instead of butter if the lactose in butter gives you problems.

If you can eat some types of regular cheese or yogurt, feel free to add as much as you can tolerate to the recipes below. You can also take a lactase enzyme pill before you eat, to make any dairy you do include easier to digest.

Spinach Quiche

Ingredients:

Olive Oil Wheat Crust

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup unbleached white flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons ice water (a teaspoon or two more, if needed)

Filling

1 1/4 cups plain lactose-free milk (or almond or soy milk)

2 large eggs (higher omega-3, if available)

1/2 cup egg substitute (substitute 2 large eggs, if desired)

1/2 medium-sized sweet onion, finely chopped

6 slices crisp, cooked turkey bacon, crumbled (optional)

1 cup shredded soy cheese of your choice (mozzarella or Jack flavors work well)

3/4 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and then gently squeezed of excess water

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (add more, if desired)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, white flour, salt, and olive oil, and beat on low until crumbly. Drizzle ice water over the top, and beat on low just until dough forms.
  2. Squeeze dough into a ball and place in a deep pie plate coated with canola cooking spray. Use hands to spread dough evenly into bottom and sides of pie plate.
  3. In same mixing bowl used for the crust, combine lactose-free milk (or almond milk), eggs, and egg substitute; set aside.
  4. In medium bowl, combine chopped onion, turkey bacon (if desired), soy cheese, and chopped spinach, and then pour into the prepared crust. Sprinkle nutmeg and black pepper over the top. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top of the spinach mixture and bake until center of quiche is set (about 55 minutes).

Yield: 6 servings

Per serving: 256 calories, 16 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 11 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 6 g monounsaturated fat, 3 g polyunsaturated fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 228 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 38%. Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.4 g, Omega-6 fatty acids: 2 g

Lactose-Free Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups dried whole wheat elbow macaroni

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups thinly sliced crimini mushrooms

1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (add more, if desired)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups plain lactose-free milk (or almond, rice, or soy milk)

5 ounces shredded or cubed soy cheddar cheese

Black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring about 8 cups of water to a rolling boil, add macaroni noodles, and boil until tender (8-10 minutes). Once pasta is tender, drain well in colander while finishing steps 2 and 3.
  2. Add olive oil to a large, nonstick frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned. Add garlic and black pepper and continue to sauté for an additional minute; set aside.
  3. In 2-cup measure, combine cornstarch with 1/4 cup of lactose-free milk (or almond, rice, or soy milk) to make a smooth paste. Blend in the remaining lactose-free milk. Pour into a medium, nonstick saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce heat to simmer and stir in the shredded or cubed cheese. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted. Add black pepper to taste.
  4. Combine cheese sauce with the drained noodles and spoon sautéed mushroom mixture over the top before serving.

Yield: 3 to 4 servings

Per serving (if 4 servings): 305 calories, 18 g protein, 42 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat, 0.8 g saturated fat, 3 g monounsaturated fat, 3 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 540 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 21%. Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.3 g, Omega-6 fatty acids: 2.6 g

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

You can make this a day ahead. Keep it chilled in the refrigerator, and then warm it in a slow cooker or in the microwave when you’re ready to eat.

Ingredients:

1 large head garlic

1 teaspoon olive oil

3/4 cup plain lactose-free milk (or almond, soy, or rice milk)

28 to 32 ounces of potatoes, peeled and quartered

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice about 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic heads, throw the tops away, and place the heads on a piece of foil. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the garlic heads and wrap them well in the foil. Bake until tender and golden (about 35 minutes). Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel the skin away from the garlic cloves.
  2. While garlic is baking, place quartered potatoes in a large microwave-safe container with 1/4 cup of water and cook on HIGH until potatoes are tender. If you prefer to use the stove, place potatoes in a stockpot, cover with cold salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook until very tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potato pieces in a colander.
  3. Add hot, steaming, and drained potato pieces directly to a large mixing bowl, along with the garlic cloves and any olive oil drippings, and lactose-free milk (or almond, soy, or rice milk). Beat on low just until blended.
  4. Season with pepper and salt, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings

Per serving: 150 calories, 5 g protein, 31 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g fat (0.2 g saturated fat, 0.8 g monounsaturated fat, 0.5 g polyunsaturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 3.2 g fiber, 29 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 9%. Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.2 g, Omega-6 fatty acids: 0.3 g

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

If you grew up with tapioca pudding, this may be one of your comfort foods. Here’s a quick and light low-lactose recipe.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 1/2 cups lactose-free milk with a splash of vanilla extract (or vanilla soy, almond, or rice milk)

1 teaspoon coconut extract

1 large egg (higher omega-3, if available)

1/3 cup shredded or flaked coconut

Directions:

  1. Combine sugar, tapioca, lactose-free milk (or soy, almond, or rice milk), and egg with whisk in a medium, nonstick saucepan. Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in coconut. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil (it will take about 8 minutes). It will thicken as it cools. Remove from heat and stir in coconut extract. Cool 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Stir the mixture and spoon into serving or dessert cups. Serve warm or chilled.

Yield: 5 servings

Per serving: 130 calories, 5 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 1 g monounsaturated fat, 1.5 g polyunsaturated fat), 45 mg cholesterol, 0.5 g fiber, 78 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 28%. Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.2 g, Omega-6 fatty acids: 1.3 g

Information sourced from: http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/lactose-intolerance-14/default.htm

Detox Diets…what to believe

May 20, 2012

The Truth About Detox Diets

Detox Diets

Detox Diets

 Touted as a way to remove harmful toxins in the body and promote weight loss, detox diets are hotter than ever. Hollywood stars do it days before gracing the red carpet, Dr. Oz has his own formula, spa retreats feature them, and many diet books are based on detox beliefs.

But despite the popularity of detox diets, nutrition experts say they are not necessary nor are they scientifically proven to work.

Fasting to detoxify and lose weight is not necessary, says Frank Sacks, MD, a leading epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health.  “There is no basis in human biology that indicates we need fasting or any other detox formula to detoxify the body because we have our own internal organs and immune system that take care of excreting toxins,” Sacks says.

What Is a Detox Diet?

Detox (short for detoxification) diets are extreme, quick weight loss diet plans that claim to flush toxic chemicals from your body.

Detox regimes promise purification from poisonous toxins. Detoxing is based on the concept that your body needs help getting rid of unwanted toxins from contaminants in processed foods and the environment. In theory, once free of toxins, your body functions better and your metabolism soars so you can shed those extra pounds.

There are a variety of different detox diets, but most follow a pattern of very low calorie fasting with the addition of small amounts of fruits and/or vegetables, water, and assorted supplements. Some diets recommend herbs, pills, powders, enemas and other forms of intestinal and colon cleanses. Methods vary and frequently include products that are only available from the author’s web site.

The overall principle of detox diets along with selling questionable products raises a red flag, says Washington University nutrition director, Connie Diekman, MEd, RD. “Detox diets prey on the vulnerability of dieters with fear tactics while gaining financially by selling products that are not necessary and potentially dangerous,” Diekman says.

Do Detox Diets Work?

Yes and no.

Beyonce made the maple syrup, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper Master Cleanse formula (also known as the Lemonade Diet) famous when she dropped 20 pounds quickly for her role in Dreamgirls.  Knowles regained the weight soon thereafter and in interviews warned dieters away from the regimen.

Weight loss occurs on most of these plans because they are so low in calories, says Diekman, past president of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly American Dietetic Association). “These fad diet detox plans are nothing more than a quick fix and not recommended for weight loss by registered dietitians,” she says.

When you dramatically reduce your calorie intake, you will lose weight. But it can also cause all kinds of health problems, including muscle loss. And when you start fasting, your body goes into conservation mode, burning calories more slowly.

Keep in mind that the initial weight lost on a fast is primarily fluid or “water weight,” not fat. And when you go back to eating, any lost weight usually gets a return ticket back. Not only do most people regain weight lost on a fast, they tend to add a few extra pounds because a slower metabolism makes it easier gain weight.

“Dieters end up in a worse place than where they started and the weight that is regained is likely to be all fat. Lost muscle has to be added back at the gym,” says Sacks, a cardiologist and researcher at Harvard Medical School.

Scientific Evidence Is Lacking

There is little, if any, scientific evidence that detoxification is necessary and effective for good health or weight loss. “Your body is designed to remove toxins efficiently with organs such as the kidneys, liver, and colon. You don’t need detox diets, pills, or potions to help your body do its job,” Sacks says.

Experts agree there is no credible science to substantiate claims that detox diets work or the need for detoxification, lymphatic draining, and frequent bowel cleansing. There are no studies available to document the benefits; instead, most claims are based on testimonials.

Detox Dangers

Some detox plans sound like a very scientific approach to cleanse your body of harmful substances.

Unfortunately, most detox diets lack the fundamentals that dietitians, doctors, and health authorities know are essential for weight loss and good health. The risks outweigh any benefits, and ultimately, traditional detox diets are not an effective way to lose weight and are potentially dangerous.

There are multiple concerns about detox diets: They are based on unrealistic fears; dieters’ lack of understanding how the body works; and they are unnecessary, unrealistic, not sustainable and potentially dangerous.

Most people don’t feel great on low-calorie, nutrient-poor diets. Potential side effects include but are not limited to low energy, low blood sugar, muscle aches, fatigue, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and nausea. Prolonged fasting can lead to more serious health problems. Colon cleanses are not recommended because they can alter your body’s electrolyte and fluid balance.

Are they safe? It depends on the plan and how long you stay on it.  Fasts lasting a day or two are unlikely to be dangerous for most healthy adults. But high-risk people, the elderly, anyone with a chronic disease, pregnant women, and children are advised against any type of fasting.

Healthier Way

You can detox in a healthy way, says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD author of Doctor’s Detox Diet. “Extremes like colonics, starvation, and prolonged juice cleanses are not recommended, but if you view detox diets as a way of clean eating, then it means eating natural, less-processed foods that are closer to the earth without artificial ingredients,” she says.

Gerbstadt’s two-week plan encourages lots of water, whole fruits, vegetables, fiber, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. It allows 1,500-1,600 calories per day that to reduce bloat and help shed up to 3 pounds a week. “The plan is not restrictive, satisfies hunger, can be followed long-term, and focuses on getting more fluids, fiber, and [limiting] alcohol,” says Gerbstadt, who is also an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokeswoman.

Her top 10 list of natural detox foods include: green leafy vegetables, lemons, watercress, green tea, broccoli sprouts, sesame seeds, cabbage, psyllium (powdered fiber), and fruits. “Beyond weight loss, minimally processed foods are healthy, nutrient-rich, contain fewer chemicals, and the fiber and fluids speed up transit time to relieve gastrointestinal issues like constipation,” Gerbstadt says.

So instead of a detox fast, opt for a healthy diet plan that you can stick with long-term. Healthy diets provide at least 1,200-1,500 calories per day and include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein, beans,  healthy fats, and plenty of fluids — along with regular physical activity.

By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/detox-diets-purging-myths?ecd=wnl_men_051512